Nova Labs Seals Deal With T-Mobile to Launch First Crypto 5G Network

Nova Labs announces a new partnership with US wireless operator T-Mobile to fill dead spots on the decentralized Helium 5G network, which launched in August 2022.

This partnership comes as Nova Labs, the company behind the Helium blockchain, seeks to bring greater coverage to users of the world’s first crypto cellular network by leveraging T-Mobile’s 5G footprint in the US-peer Helium -Mobile network and the 5G network from T-Mobile. Subscribers to this service can earn MOBILE crypto rewards by helping Nova Labs identify dead spots on the Helium network.

“Nova Labs is committed to building a decentralized network. Our new agreement with T-Mobile offers our subscribers nationwide 5G coverage and allows us to offer mobile products and services that use both networks,” said Amir Haleem, CEO of Nova Labs.

HNT, Helium’s native token, surged 20% following the announcement.

Nova Labs, formerly Helium Inc., began providing an open-source, decentralized, peer-to-peer network for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices in 2019. It offered “hotspots,” a term used to describe plug-and-play devices that combine the LoRaWAN protocol and Helium’s proprietary blockchain. LoRaWAN is a type of network for IoT devices that wirelessly sends information to a traditional server through a bridge called a gateway. Over 900,000 hotspots are currently in use.

The first rollout

The Helium Mobile launch will be spearheaded by Boris Renski, founder of FreedomFi, a company recently acquired by Nova Labs.

At press time, the Helium Mobile network already has 2500 5G hotspots across the US in 889 cities. Helium Mobile will offer its subscribers monthly plans that include one gigabyte of data, five gigabytes of data with unlimited talk and texts, and unlimited SMS, voice and data.

While Nova Labs offers the service to customers who already own a mobile device, Nova Labs is also working with an undisclosed group of smartphone manufacturers to develop devices that efficiently characterize the cellular environment and earn more MOBILE tokens than traditional devices.

With its decentralized operating model, Nova Labs is revolutionizing traditional methods of building a national cellular infrastructure capable of serving large regions. Traditional deployments of network infrastructure are costly and often must go through rigorous approval processes at various levels of government before they become operational.

First User Experience Critical to Helium Mobile’s 5G Success

However, rigorous testing practices by mobile network operators often provide critical insights into end-user experience and potential security risks. Through testing, the operator can make adjustments to improve cellular coverage in hard-to-reach areas and offload network congestion to neighboring network infrastructure. It also empowers the operator to make necessary adjustments to ensure user safety while using the network.

On September 1, 2022, Helium’s core development team proposed moving the project to a scalable blockchain like Solana, a network that has had a history of outages and may not bode well for the user experience.

With crypto rewards as a hook designed to attract early customers, Helium Mobile’s adoption will also depend on the ease with which MOBILE tokens can be earned from its original target market, which owns traditional smartphones.

Nova Labs will launch the Helium Mobile beta in Q1 2023.

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