Sprint has Virgin Mobile, and T-Mobile has GoSmart Mobile prepaid brands, and today AT&T announced Aio Wireless with value prices and no annual contract. The new service is initially only available in Houston, Orlando, and Tampa, with plans to roll out across the US over the next year.
Aio Wireless (pronounced "A-O") has a number of feature phone and smartphone options, including the new Nokia Lumia 620 for just $179.99, iPhone 5 for $649.99, and Samsung Denima for $29.99. There are no contracts or subsidies for these phones, which is why you see the wide range of pricing.
Jennifer Van Buskirk, president of Aio Wireless, stated:
We talked with no-annual-contract customers and created our service around what they want. They want simple, easy plan choices with unlimited offers; first-class service at affordable prices; great devices; nationwide voice and data coverage; and no annual contracts. Today's wireless customers don't want to compromise. We are set up to win over value-conscious customers, who are increasingly moving towards smartphones and mobile broadband.
You can always bring your own GSM phone and then purchase an Aio SIM for $9.99, too. Given the limits on data network services (see my next paragraph), just about any GSM phone should work fine with Aio Wireless.
Rate plans range from $40 per month to $70 per month, all with unlimited data, talk, and text. The variation in costs is related to how much high-speed access you purchase. High speed does not include long-term evolution (LTE), but is provided by AT&T's HSPA+ network limited to just 4Mbps. If high-speed data is something you desire, then you will need to look at a different option, such as T-Mobile's low-cost Simple Choice plans that also do not have a contract obligation.