Sick of wireless contracts? Many people are, and major carriers have been looking for ways to keep those customers happy. AT&T’s solution launched today in the form of Aio (pronounced, improbably, “A-O”), a new wireless service that lets customers pay month-to-month. Right now, the service is only available in a few major cities, including Houston, Orlando, and Tampa, but AT&T
has more cities in the works and expects to announce them “over the coming weeks.”
All of Aio’s plans have unlimited data, text, and voice, but the rate plans determines how much of that data you can consume at high speed. Generally, the plans look like they’ll vary from $35 to $70. In Houston, the $70 Aio Pro plan gets you 7GB of data at high speeds ever month. After that, your speed is throttled, though it will still allow emailing, web surfing, and the like. The plan also includes unlimited messaging, complete with photos and videos. Interestingly, the price includes taxes and fees, keeping things simple.
You can “bring your own” phone when you sign up for an Aio account, or you can buy one from the service – and that’s where you finally meet the rub in this deal. Like many services that don’t require a contract, Aio doesn’t subsidize big-ticket phones. Houston customers can pick up a Samsung Galaxy
Amp for $99.99 (with a couple movie tickets tossed in) or a16GB iPhone
5 – for $649.99.
Aio is launching retail shops in the cities that receive service and the website
is also a shop. Aio is going out of its way to promote a casual, hip image (think friendly penguin icons directing you to the Help section).