Virgin Mobile, Helio in talks after all

SK Telecom has confirmed it is 'exploring strategic opportunities' with Virgin Mobile over its struggling MVNO Helio.

After earlier denying talks, the Korean carrier confirmed Wednesday it had engaged in 'preliminary discussions' with Virgin. Virgin also confirmed that talks had begun.

The two US MVNO providers both target their mobile services at youth markets.

Helio is SKT's joint venture with US ISP EarthLink. It has invested €335.8 million (US$520 million) in the operation, including an extra €174.38 million (US$270 million) last October.

Publicly-listed Virgin has 5 million customers.