Editor's Corner: MVNOs and targeted demographics

First, a correction: Last week I suggested that MySpace, the popular social networking site, is starting its own MVNO. As I'm sure you all know by now, MySpace is actually launching its new mobile service exclusively through Helio, an MVNO founded by SK Telecom and EarthLink. MySpace also recently teamed up with Cingular to provide SMS alerts of MySpace content.

The Helio deal with MySpace makes sense because both MySpace and Helio serve the same general market: young people. But there's more to a successful MVNO than tailoring content for a particular demographic. As C. Enrique Ortiz points out, Helio and ESPN Mobile aren't really for young people and sports fans, they're for early adopter young people and sports fans. We've got a long way to go in terms of usability, reliability and consumer education before the mass market begins using high-speed mobile data services beyond SMS, ringtones and the occasional MMS message. Content may be king, but right now only about 15 percent of consumers can even find their way to the castle. - Eli