updated 06:49 am EDT, Mon May 19, 2014
Aio Wireless rolled into relaunched Cricket, 3,000 stores refurbished
AT&T has relaunched its Cricket prepaid brand nationally, rolling its existing Aio Wireless brand and services into the prepaid carrier. The new Cricket will provide customers with nation-wide access to AT&T's HPSA+ and 4G LTE network, rather than its previous smaller CDMA network, with customers having a new selection of price plans and devices to use on the service.
The new plans all include nationwide calls, texts, picture, and video messaging, as well as international text messages to 35 countries in the upper tiers, and unlimited data. The Basic plan costs $40 per month and adds a 500MB allowance of high-speed data, reducing in speed once the allocation is used up, with the Smart and Pro providing 2.5GB and 5GB of data for $50 and $60 respectively. The plans can be discounted by $5 for using an automatic bill payment option, while a Group Save Discount will reduce the costs involved for each additional line. A 1Gb data add-on is priced at $10, while a feature phone-based Talk & Text plan for $25 provides the unlimited calling and messaging without data.
Existing Cricket customers will need to change their devices to use AT&T's GSM network, though Phone Arena reports it will offer a $50 mail-in rebate with its Cricket Visa Promotion Card to reduce the cost, as well as a $50 smartphone credit for every 12 months of on-time payments. Cricket's roster of devices includes a typical selection from Motorola, ZTE, Samsung, and Nokia, with both Apple's iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s also available for $550 and $650 respectively, though listed as "out of stock." Current Aio users will be largely unaffected by the announcement, with the carrier claiming the only change will be the name to the new Cricket branding.
AT&T picked up Cricket as part of its acquisition of Leap Wireless. Under the terms of the deal, priced at $15 per share, AT&T would acquire all of Leap's stock and wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, and wireless properties, along with Cricket. As part of its relaunch, 3,000 Cricket and Aio stores are being refitted, with more set to open in the future.