AT&T today announced the limited launch of its new Aio Wireless prepaid brand promising unlimited talk, text and data plans starting at $35 per month.
Aio’s website lists four different rate plans. Basic, Smart and Pro all offer essentially the same service except that Basic ($40) throttles HSPA+ data after 250 MB, Smart ($50) throttles it after 2 GB and Pro ($70) throttle it after 7 GB. In addition, a $15 Tablet plan offers 250 MB of HSPA per month. Extra gigabytes of HSPA run $10 and unlimited international calling plans start at $10.
Aio’s smartphone portfolio is limited, featuring the Samsung Express and Amp, the ZTE Prelude, the Nokia 620; and the iPhone 4, 4S and 5. There is also a pair of feature phones from which to choose but Aio allows customers to bring their own eligible devices and sells Aio SIMs for $10.
According to a press release, the initial launch of Aio is confined to Houston, Orlando and Tampa, with plans to offer the service in additional stores in those markets in the coming weeks. Aio expects the service to hit more markets nationwide over the next year.
Reports surfaced last week that AT&T was intending to offer a prepaid option. As the company progresses with its LTE rollout and migrates more customers to that network, options like Aio will be a good way to continue using the HSPA airwaves as more than a fallback for LTE.