AT&T adds LTE service to Aio Wireless prepaid brand
AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) is adding LTE to its new Aio Wireless prepaid brand, which launched with just support for the carrier's HSPA+ network. The move comes shortly after AT&T added HSPA+ and LTE support to its GoPhone prepaid brand.
Aio said it is sending a free over-the-air software update to automatically upgrade customers' SIM cards so they can access LTE speeds when using an LTE device. Aio is also adding the LTE-enabled ZTE Overture to its device lineup, a mid-range Android 4.1 device with a 4-inch LCD display, rear-facing 5-megapizel camera and front-facing camera as well. Pricing and availability were not announced.
The carrier is also expanding the number of markets where Aio is available in, though the total is still extremely limited. The service will now be available in Ft. Myers and Naples, Fla. Aio launched last month in Houston, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Gainesville, Fla., and plans to expand to additional markets across the country over the next year.
Aio's prices range from $35 per month for unlimited voice, texting and 100 MB of data on feature phones $70 per month for all of that plus up to 7 GB of data before throttling for smartphones. Aio also offers tablet plans that include 250 MB of data before throttling for $15 per month.
Customers can bring their own unlocked devices to Aio for service or choose from a range of smartphones and feature phones. The Aio brand supports the Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 620 for $179.99, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 for $649.99, the Samsung Galaxy Express for $249.99, the Samsung Galaxy Amp for $99.99 and the ZTE Prelude for $49.99. Aio also offers a handful of feature phones.
AT&T's LTE network now covers more than 200 million POPs and AT&T expects to hit 270 million by year-end.
T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) no-contract offerings include support for LTE phones. For its part, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) continues to support a range of prepaid plans through its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands, both of which offer devices that can access Sprint's LTE network. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has limited its prepaid offerings to its CDMA EV-DO network, preferring to keep its LTE network for postpaid customers on its Share Everything shared data plans.
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