Nova Labs announces a new partnership with U.S. mobile operator T-Mobile to fill up dead zones on the Helium decentralized 5G network launched in Aug. 2022.
This partnership comes as Nova Labs, the company behind the Helium blockchain, is looking to provide users of the world’s first crypto mobile network with greater coverage by leveraging T-Mobile’s 5G footprint in the U.S. Users of the will have access to Helium’s peer-to-peer Helium Mobile network and T-Mobile’s 5G network. Subscribers to this service can earn MOBILE crypto rewards for helping Nova Labs identify dead spots in Helium’s network.
“Nova Labs is committed to building out a decentralized network. Our new agreement with T-Mobile gives our subscribers nationwide 5G coverage and enables us to offer mobile products and services that use both networks,” noted Nova Labs CEO Amir Haleem.
HNT, Helium’s native token, jumped 20% following the announcement.
Nova Labs, formerly Helium Inc., began providing a decentralized, open-source, peer-to-peer network for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices in 2019. It offered “hotspots,” a term used to describe plug-and-play devices combining the LoRaWAN protocol and Helium’s own blockchain. LoRaWAN is a type of network for IoT devices that sends information over the air to a traditional server through a bridge called a gateway. There are currently over 900,000 hotspots deployed.
The initial rollout
At press time, the Helium Mobile network already boasts 2500 U.S. 5G hotspots in 889 cities. Helium mobile will offer subscribers monthly plans including one gigabyte of data, five gigabytes of data with unlimited talk time and text messaging, and unlimited texting, voice, and data.
While Nova Labs is offering the service to customers already owning a mobile device, it is also partnering with an undisclosed group of smartphone manufacturers to create devices efficient at characterizing the cellular environment that will earn more MOBILE tokens than traditional devices,
With its decentralized operating model, Nova Labs is disrupting traditional methods of building a national cellular infrastructure capable of servicing large regions. Conventional network infrastructure deployments are costly and often must go through rigorous approval processes at different government levels before going live.
Initial user experience critical to Helium Mobile’s 5G success
In saying that, rigorous testing procedures by mobile network operators often yield critical insights into the end-user experience and potential safety risks. Testing allows the operator to make adjustments to improve cellular reception in hard-to-reach areas and offload network congestion onto neighboring network infrastructure. It also empowers the operator to make necessary adjustments to ensure user safety while using the network.
On Sep. 1, 2022, the Helium core development team proposed shifting the project to a scalable blockchain like Solana, a network that has experienced outages in the past and could bode ill for the user experience.
With crypto rewards as a hook designed to reel in early customers, Helium Mobile’s adoption will also depend on the ease with which MOBILE tokens can be earned by its initial target market that owns traditional smartphones.
Nova Labs will launch the beta version of Helium Mobile in Q1 2023.