Today a new prepaid service provider has joined the U.S. wireless game, and it's brought with it a smartphone that's new to the country as well. AT&T this morning announced the launch of Aio Wireless, a subsidiary of the big blue carrier that offers nationwide voice and data service using AT&T's network.
Aio's (FYI, it's pronounced "A-O") rate plans start at $40 for unlimited talk, text and data, though customers will have their data speeds throttled after 250MB of usage. The $40 plan is available to feature phones only. Smartphone customers can choose either a $55 plan with 2GB of high-speed data or a $70 option that packs in 7GB of high-speed data. Rounding out the pack of plans is a tablet-specific offering that includes 250MB of data usage for $15 per month.
When it comes time to select a device to use with Aio Wireless, consumers will have Android, iOS and Windows Phone options to choose from. Aio's roster includes the Samsung Galaxy Express and ZTE Prelude, both of which run Android, as well as the iOS-powered iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. Aio Wireless also offers the Nokia Lumia 620, making it the first U.S. service provider to offer that particular Lumia model. Customers also have the option of bringing their own hardware to Aio after purchasing a SIM card for $9.99.
Aio Wireless is officially launching today with stores in Houston, Orlando and Tampa. More stores in these cities are expected to open up in the coming weeks, and Aio plans to expand to additional markets later in 2013.
It's worth noting that while Aio Wireless does use AT&T's network, the operator says that its customers will have access to "4G download speeds of up to 4Mbs per second," meaning that users won't be hopping on to AT&T's LTE service. Still, Aio could be an option worth considering for anyone that wants prepaid service on AT&T's network, especially since its base smartphone plan comes in $10 cheaper than AT&T's own GoPhone offering while also offering more data. AT&T's full introduction of Aio Wireless can be found at the link below.