AT&T Mobility's Aio Wireless prepaid brand is starting off small, but has big ambitions; the company wants to be a major nationwide prepaid brand on the same level as T-Mobile US' MetroPCS brand.
Sprint and AT&T Mobility both appear to be preparing their networks for a launch of RCS-based messaging services, which the GSMA and some European carriers are promoting through the "joyn" brand. However, it remains unclear exactly how Sprint and AT&T will launch their respective services, and whether they too will offer them under the "joyn" brand.
AT&T Mobility will launch its Aio Wireless prepaid brand on a nationwide basis starting in mid-September, giving rival T-Mobile US another competitor in the hot no-contract market.
In the second quarter of 2013, the industry grew by 335,000 subscribers, which is the lowest subscriber-add number this millennium. A significant reason for the low growth is that approximately 1 million Lifeline connections had to be disconnected because the carriers were unable to verify eligibility. The industry make-up also changed considerably in Q2.
U.S. wireless carriers added the lowest number of net new subscribers on record--139,000--in the second quarter, owing in large part to Sprint's shutdown of its Nextel iDEN network, according to a new report from Chetan Sharma Consulting.
After years of talking about mergers and acquisitions, the nation's top wireless carriers got down to business during the second quarter of this year, with T-Mobile US working to integrate its purchase of MetroPCS and Sprint closing on its purchase of Clearwire and netting an investment from Japan's SoftBank. AT&T also announced the purchase of Leap Wireless. What does this all mean?
MetroPCS, which is now owned by T-Mobile US, has expanded its service to 15 additional markets. In addition, the company is able to offer customers access to T-Mobile's LTE network. Plus, MetroPCS' service is now being sold by an additional 325 resellers. Contrast this deal with AT&T's July 12 announcement of its plans to acquire Leap Wireless for $1.2 billion.
T-Mobile US surged back to strong postpaid subscriber growth in the second quarter, thanks in part to the addition of Apple's iPhone to its lineup. The company's "Un-carrier" strategy of providing cheaper, no-contract rate plans appears to be paying off so far, though the question will be how much momentum T-Mobile can retain throughout the rest of the year. The company promised no letup, and CEO John Legere said the company will unveil "Un-carrier 3.0" proposals to add more pressure to its larger rivals.
AT&T previously passed on an opportunity to strike a deal with no-contract wireless carrier Leap Wireless but was ultimately the only bidder for the company and wound up paying 58 percent more than it had initially offered, according to a securities filing.
T-Mobile US will expand the spectrum channels it is using for LTE service to 2x10 MHz in the vast majority of the major markets across the United States by year-end, the company said.