AT&T's Aio launches 'Group Save' plans, taking a page from Sprint's 'Framily'

AT&T Mobility's (NYSE: T) Aio Wireless prepaid brand is launching a new group plan that offers customers increasing discounts as they continue adding lines to a single account. The plans are similar to Sprint's (NYSE:S) "Framily" plans, which Sprint has been selling since January.

Under Aio's new "Group Save" plans, the plans start offering discounted monthly charges beginning with the second eligible line added. Customers can create their own Group Save accounts by combining wireless lines within the same family or grouping friends who want to save collectively on their wireless plans, Aio said. Group Save discounts are available on Aio's $40 and higher plans and customers may combine any mix of qualifying plans on the account.

According to Aio, the discounts increase incrementally. A two-line account will pay the full monthly price for the first line and get a $10 discount on the second line. A three-line account will get a $10 discount for the second line and a $20 discount for the third line. Aio said that for four- and five-line accounts, customers will receive a $10 discount on the first line, a $20 discount on the second line, and a $30 discount on the fourth and fifth lines.

The prepaid unit said that Group Save is available for new and existing Aio customers in all Aio markets. Aio launched in May 2013 and is available through dealer-owned stores in 27 markets in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. Aio is also available to all U.S. customers online.

Aio said customers in good standing with at least two eligible lines of service on one account will be automatically enrolled to receive Group Save discounts.

In March AT&T closed its acquisition of Leap Wireless and its Cricket brand, and Jefferies analysts Mike McCormack, Scott Goldman and Tudor Mustata wrote last month that they expect AT&T to deploy a refreshed Cricket brand at the end of the second quarter "in order for marketing efforts to reach full momentum by the seasonally strong" fourth quarter.

AT&T has said it will shutter the Aio brand and move forward nationally in prepaid with the Cricket brand. Jennifer Van Buskirk, who had been the president of Aio, is now the president of the new Cricket.

Aio spokeswoman Nneoma Njoku declined to say whether the Group Save plan will be retained under the new Cricket brand. "As I'm sure you can understand, we're still in the process of bringing both Aio and Cricket together," she told FierceWireless. "I promise that in the coming weeks we'll be able to share more details on our plans, products and services.  If there's one thing customers can count on, it's easy, simple and affordable prices."

Sprint's Framily plans are available to new and existing Sprint customers and have a limit of 10 phone numbers per group. New Sprint customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of data. For each new Sprint customer joining a Framily group, the cost per person drops $5 a month up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line. 

For more:
- see this release
- see this PhoneScoop article
- see this PC Magazine article

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