Home - , , , - AT&T Launches Aio Wireless Prepaid Brand in 3 Cities - Unlimited Talk, Text & Data $40/Month & Up

AT&T Launches Aio Wireless Prepaid Brand in 3 Cities - Unlimited Talk, Text & Data $40/Month & Up



AT&T announced the launch of Aio (pronounced "A-O") Wireless today. It's a wholly owned subsidiary brand of AT&T offering unlimited prepaid monthly plans at prices ranging from $40 - $70 per month.

Currently Aio is only available at stores in Houston, Orlando and Tampa and online at www.aiowireless.com. To order online you must enter a zip code in one of those three cities. If you want to try it out, 77236 is a Houston zip code that works. AT&T says that Aio will be launching nationwide "over the coming year".

There are four plans.

Plan Name Monthly Price Hi-Speed Data Before Throttling Allowed devices
Aio Tablet $15 250 MB Tablets Only
Aio Basic $40 250 MB Basic Phones Only
Aio Smart $55 2 GB Smartphones Only
Aio Pro $70 7 GB Smartphones Only

The tablet plan is data only, no messaging or voice services are available. The other three plans include unlimited voice calling, unlimited domestic text, picture and video messaging and unlimited 2G, 3G and 4G HSPA+ data with speeds of up to 4Mbps. LTE is not available and  high-speed data is limited to the amounts shown in the table above. After the monthly limit is reached data speeds are reduced for the rest of the month. AT&T isn't saying what the throttled speed is. My guess is 250 Kbps or less.

Plan prices include applicable state and local taxes and fees. However the Aio site says a $35 activation fee "may be charged". Coverage appears to be the same as with GoPhone, AT&T network only with no roaming.

International calling and messaging is not included. There's a $10 per month add-on that provides unlimited calling to landline phones and unlimited SMS and MMS messaging to the following 35 countries.

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania.

An additional 1 GB of data can be added to any plan for $10/month.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is supported. SIM cards are priced at $9.99 with Mini, Micro and Nano SIMs available. To order a SIM you have to enter your phone's IMEI serial number on the Aio site to verify your device is "eligible". I tried entering the IMEIs of a number of non-AT&T phones as well as 15 zeros and 15 nines and all were deemed eligible so it looks like just about any phone is OK.

Aio is also selling phones and a tablet, here's the current lineup:

  • Samsung Denim -  basic flip phone - $29.99
  • ZTE Altair - basic QWERTY Candybar - $49.99
  • ZTE Prelude - Android 4.1.1 (JB) 3.5", screen - $49.99
  • Samsung Galaxy Amp - Android 4.1.2 (JB), 4" screen - $99.99
  • Nokia Lumia 620 - Windows Phone 8, 3.8" screen - $179.99
  • ZTE Velox - Android 4.1.2 (JB) tablet, 7" screen - $179.99
  • Samsung Galaxy Express - Android 4.1.2 (JB), 4.5" screen - $249.99
  • iPhone 4 16 GB (reconditioned) - $349.99
  • iPhone 4S 16 GB (reconditioned- $499.99
  • iPhone 5 16 GB (new) -$649.99

Aio looks promising, the plan pricing is very aggressive should accelerate the current downward trend in the prices of unlimited prepaid plans. The inclusion of apparently unrestricted BYOD is promising and the initial device selection good. I'm especially pleased that all the Android devices are running Jellybean rather than the dated OS versions that seem to be the norm with prepaid.

Source AT&T via GigaOm

38 comments:

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  1. I wouldn't call it "unrestricted BYOD" unless you can use AIO Basic with a smartphone.

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    Replies
    1. True. US carriers can't seem to accept that GSM is supposed to let you use your SIM in any device.

      Delete
    2. Aren't they just restricting the data, not use of the device for talk and text. If so, they can still claim to meet the GSM standard.

      Delete
    3. Maybe, we won't know until someone tries using a SIM with an active $40 plan in a smartphone.

      Delete
    4. GoPhone-activated SIMs will work with PayGo and daily plans and the in a smartphone, won't they? You just don't get data.

      Delete
    5. The price for the Nokia 620 is the best I've seen from a US company. Expansys here is charging $249, down recently from $289.

      Delete
  2. T-Mobile has GoSmart, now ATT has Aio.
    Ultra.me, Airvoice and Redpocket are better MVNOs for the buck

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aio charges $10 for a SIM card, at least for the BYOD cart I filled with the $40 plan.
    I used the Houston zip code, but do not see the option for the $35/10mb plan mentioned for the Houston area in Fierce Wireless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried the Orlando 32789 zip code and do not see the $35 plan there either. Tampa is reported to start with the $40 plan on the website. Perhaps the $35 plan is only available in local stores in Houston.

      Delete
  4. They got good prices on their Android phones, I wonder if they are locked to Aio service, or I can use them with my AirVoice plan, like any other AT&T locked phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't matter, unlike Go phones, Aio does not sell phones only, you will need to get service with it.

      Delete
    2. I do not agree. After one month, there is nothing to stop you from cancelling Aio service.
      To answer the question, you *should* be able to use AirVoice SIM in Aio phones, just like you can use AirVoice with a GoPhone or other AT&T phone.

      Delete
    3. Jennifer Van Buskirk, president of Aio Wireless says Aio is subsidizing its phones to make them more affordable for customers.

      Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2013/05/09/att-launches-new-venture-in-prepaid-service/#ixzz2SqVyBF82

      Delete
  5. I entered the IMEI number of my Virgin Mobile iPhone 4S on the website and it says it's ok to proceed if I buy a micro sim card. I wonder if the IMEI check really did anything at all, or if it's too good to be true that I can bring my VM iPhone over and they'll have a way to configure it for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too good to be true. The VM phone is SIM-locked. There is a Chinese SIM interposer for sale on eBay, but it does not work with the latest iOS 6 version. I entered all zeros for the IMEI like Dennis said, and the site had no problem with that.

      Delete
    2. I don't know what, if anything, the IMEI check does. Maybe it will reject blacklisted IMEIs (lost, stolen, non-payment).

      The SIM slot in Virgin Mobile iPhones is locked, the phone will reject the Aio SIM. I don't think AT&T could unlock it even f they wanted to.

      Delete
  6. Doesn't matter if it is one of the main 4 carriers releasing network upgrades such as LTE or new MVNO's, or new subsidiaries of the main 4, bottom line is Houston,TX gets it first. I like living in Houston But, need a vacation lol. Also, I think I saw this neighborhood cellular place promote this two weeks ago when I drove by.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Aio coverage map has noticeably smaller coverage than GoPhone. For example, look at upper MI and eastern WI area. I have never seen such a small AT&T coverage area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The think the coverage shown in both maps is the the same. The Aio coverage map is using an extremely light purple to indicate 2G coverage. It's impossible to distinguish it from the white "no service" areas until you zoom way in and even zoomed in it's hard to see.

      Delete
    2. Dennis: I did zoom in, and can see the light purple. In upper MI, for example, I saw it in Escanaba. However, the surrounding large areas are white, and the GoPhone map shows coverage in this area. Same in lower MI, upper right quadrant.
      I am hoping the map is just wrong, and they put up a better one.

      Delete
    3. I changed my mind, and now agree with you, Dennis. Escanaba is a 3G area, and I cannot see the difference between the pale purple and white, even when I am zoomed all the way, in areas that look like they have no coverage on the GoPhone map. That map is not much better.

      Delete
  8. The plans are okay. Nothing amazing, but serviceable. The best value though is picking up the Samsung Galaxy Amp for $99.99 since it is a rebranded Galaxy S3 Mini. That is a great price for a good mid-range phone.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Isn't AT&T coming out with a new prepaid plan in June- $50 u TNT and 2gb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure this is it. The rumor called the new plans All in One which Aio presumably stands for. It came out early and only in three markets and it's $55 but one of the plans is unlimited TNT and 2 GB.

      Delete
  10. $55 a month for 2 GB of 4G data with the iPhone 5 is a really good deal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure is! The IPhone 5 and 4G makes me think aboule leaving PagePlus.

      Delete
  11. I think a commenter on Engadget nailed it: This new Aio Wireless rollout is probably behind the demise of unlimited service on Straight Talk AT&T SIMs/service.

    "Ultra.me, Airvoice and Redpocket are better MVNOs for the buck"
    --Um, how? Airvoice has offers less data for $55(before taxes/fees), and both Ultra and Red Pocket costs more. Not only that, the smartphone offerings (Three Android 4.X devices, a WP8 Nokia, and a slate of refurbished iPhones) are good enough to pull new customers from contract plans.

    I hope AT&T goes national with it soon. Rest in Peace, Page Plus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Rest in Peace, Page Plus."
      Hyperbole is your specialty, right ;-) If Straight Talk could not kill PagePlus with $30 and $45/month plans on all 4 network, plus their Net10 and Simple mobile plans, how will AT&T do it with $40-$70 plans on one network? AT&T will magically pull all those PayGo and $30/month Pageplus customers to buy a new phone and pay more? They will leap at the chance to give up the Verizon network? "Um, how?" Faster data and unlimited, really slow data may pull a few PagePlus users, but do you assume that PagePlus will not respond when that happens? This company continuously improves its plans, and has earned several million estimated users. No rest in peace. Just work harder.

      Delete
    2. What are you talking about? Where do you get the idea ATT is doing this to go after PagePlus? Different networks, different coverage. I do tend to think as soon as Tracphone gets their act together on the BYOP CDMA, it will be big trouble for PP

      Delete
    3. Ah, yes. "Deathtrip and his source" said late April or early May.
      Reliable sources, we were told. Who told us that? Kinda quiet now, isn't he? Let's give Trac til Midnight; no, 8am tomorrow, and they we can say "if," not "when." This is like waiting for the Ultra PayGo plan.... And you think PagePlus will just lie down and take the "big trouble," like mr. rest in peace?

      Delete
    4. No. Actually he is not quiet at all. Updates are being posted on Howards Forum. If rumors are true, Tracphone will be launching the Verizon LTE service at the same time. If PP were smart they would get a jump on lowering the cost of their plans.

      Delete
  12. I'm not jumping ship from Page Plus any time soon! I'm very happy with the quality of the service that I am getting. Plus, Verizon's coverage foot print is really awesome! For me, coverage is more important than data speed. My iPhone 4S works brilliantly too. I'm hoping that Aio might get Page Plus to be able to learn on VZW for LTE access! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Exactly. Too many people have a fetish for data speed. I would rather have quality of service and get things done right the first time. I would not be surprised at all if Aio will have their CS based somewhere in Asia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point! I like giving my business to Page Plus because it does support jobs here in America. Investing in America!

      Delete
    2. Investing in America! And in the UK!*

      *(Vzw = 45% Vodaphone Group. Maybe we should invest in AT&T and Sprint?).

      Delete
  14. Anyone know if tethering is allowed?

    ReplyDelete
  15. New activations on prepaid outnumbered postpaid by 10 to 1 last quarter. This is the main reason for launching Aio, I suspect. Here is how all the major players did:
    http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/entner-new-wireless-customers-chose-no-contract-over-contract-10-1-q1/2013-05-15?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

    ReplyDelete
  16. Now that LTE is available via SIM update being pushed out, the $55 Smart Plan looks very good for the money. Aio added Ft. Myers and Naples, FL to the other 4 cities just now.

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