Helium's migration to the Solana platform in April last year kickstarted an impressive period of development, leveraging its Internet-of-Things (IoT) -focused blockchain network to expand connectivity, further benefiting from the Solana ecosystem integration.
Amberdata Research director Christopher Martin discussed Helium's expansion into the mobile sector, noting 2023 as a pivotal year for the firm. He explained how the network's strategy to let users earn MOBILE tokens for network support and use them for bill payments creates a self-reinforcing growth mechanism. Martin also noted the impact of the BONK craze on Solana Saga phone sales, which were bundled with a free 30-day trial of Helium Mobile. This strategy, he believes, positions MOBILE and HNT tokens for growth, fueled by the network's expanding user base and the reciprocal benefits of this expansion.
Helium Expands its Mobile Coverage
Helium Mobile launched a competitive mobile phone plan in the United States in early December. The plan is attractively priced at $20 per month, offering unlimited data, calls, and text. This pricing positions it as a cost-effective alternative to traditional U.S. cell phone offerings. Helium Mobile also expanded its hotspot network, aligning with the company's goal of establishing a decentralized network infrastructure to reduce the traditional costs associated with building a cellular network.
Helium Mobile's low-cost plan uses a mix of T-Mobile infrastructure and user hotspots to provide service, rewarding both hotspot hosts and participating subscribers with MOBILE tokens. This significantly increased Helium Mobile signups, bringing in many new users, including some suspicious accounts. Helium Mobile revised its terms in December to manage this growth and prevent misuse, introducing a rule that makes subscribers wait eight days before they can collect MOBILE tokens from Discovery Mapping. This feature rewards users for contributing to the network's expansion by sharing their location data.
MOBILE price has increased by over 800% since the beginning of December, from $0.00028762 to $0.00278000 at the time of reporting. Helium Mobile's subscriber count has jumped from around 6,500 on December 1 to 44,000 today.
Helium Farm Launches HNT Mining Plans
Helium also updated its network protocols in January, which led to another rise in HNT prices. The updates introduced WiFi Onboarding Charges and revised Service Provider rewards, affecting costs for integrating WiFi access points and distributing MOBILE emissions based on usage.
Following these changes, Helium Farm launched three new HNT mining plans, tailored to different investor needs with daily returns based on the HNT market price. These plans, ranging from $79 to $3,765 annually, offer various daily HNT yields and include maintenance, installation, and hosting services for a continuous mining cycle.
Returns are attractive even during market downturns, with the potential for a significant increase if HNT prices continue to rise. Helium Farm said it prioritizes customer service and data security, with payments made in HNT, allowing investors flexibility with their earnings.
Helium and Solana Leading DePIN in 2024
The recent collaboration between Telefónica and Nova Labs, the entity behind Helium Network, to deploy Helium mobile hotspots in Mexico is part of a broader decentralized physical infrastructure network (DePIN) initiative. The deal uses blockchain technology to enhance internet access in underserved areas and is a pivotal development for the sector. By rewarding individuals with HNT for hosting hotspots, this initiative promotes a decentralized network as a cost-effective alternative to traditional infrastructure. The announcement also pushed HNT prices by 20%.
VanEck analysts expect significant growth for DePIN networks in 2024, particularly highlighting Helium's recent moves.
The VanEck article positions Helium as a disruptor in the "relatively mature market" of wireless infrastructure, valued at $200 billion. It states: "Helium claims they can deliver data at less than 50% of the cost of legacy networks. As crypto adoption becomes more mainstream, and if that claim is true, they will likely join a significant share."
According to Messari's State of DePIN 2023 report, Solana appears as the leader of the DePIN infrastructure sector, with several DePINs, including Helium, choosing the SOL network. The report also states that Helium is primed to become the leading blockchain IOT network provider.
"Helium Mobile’s early momentum shows there is a path to millions of users. The question is: can Helium start making money, before running out of money?… We think the answer is yes."