AT&T launches pre-paid subsidiary AIO Wireless

AT&T has announced a new subsidiary called AIO Wireless. Pronounced “a-o”, the new brand will sell simple plans that don’t involve a credit check or long-term contract. You can bring your own phone onto the plan (unlocked GSM phones or AT&T phones) or buy one of their mid-ranged smartphone offerings.

AIO Wireless is perfect for someone who wants to use AT&T’s robust nationwide network but do not be tied down to a 24 month contract. Of course, you’ll have to buy your own smartphone to be on the service and have a higher up-front cost, but over time this pre-paid arrangement saves a huge amount of money.

AIO Wireless Coverage

As you can see in the coverage map – AIO customers can fully use AT&T’s network.  Plans start at $35 a month and top out at $75 a month. One interesting thing: the $75 plan allows for HSPA+ data up to 7GB, which is a high number for a US pre-paid data plan.

Battling against competitors

While, AIO Wireless is AT&T’s newest entry into the competitive pre-paid market, there are plenty of existing brands vying for your business. These include Virgin Mobile, Net10 and MetroPCS and the new Simple Plans from T-Moblle.  T-Mobile has MVNO subsidiary brands too including GoSmart and others.

In fact, AIO’s plans and branding are very similar to T-Mobile’s.

Great phone options

Getting a pre-paid phone used to mean settling for a cut-rate phone. This is no longer the case. On AIO Wireless, you can choose from an iPhone 5, a Nokia Lumia 620 (disclosure: Nokia is a client of mine) and numerous Android phones.

Note, on the iPhone 5 – you won’t have access to AT&T’s LTE network as AIO Wireless’ plans only include “4G” access – which means HSPA+.

Will you go prepaid?

Now that we’re seeing fantastic options for pre-paid…would you consider it?  For my family, we’re on Straight Talk and we like it a lot.  We only pay $45 per month and we use AT&T’s network – much like AIO Wireless.

My only criticism of AIO Wireless is the limited rollout – right now the service is only available in a handful of cities including Houston and Orlando and a few others?  I’ve asked AT&T why such a limited rollout and they have yet to get back to me.