AT&T's Aio reassures customers as Leap acquisition approaches

AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) prepaid brand Aio Wireless is seeking to assuage customer concerns that their service will be disrupted once AT&T finalizes its purchase of Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) and Leap's Cricket prepaid brand.

Last week Leap shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the transaction. AT&T expects the deal to close sometime during the first quarter of 2014. The FCC and Department of Justice still need to sign off on the transaction.

Earlier this month AT&T disclosed plans to close its new Aio Wireless prepaid brand if the carrier is successful in acquiring Leap, which offers service through the Cricket brand. "After the transaction's close, AT&T intends to combine the nascent operations of Aio with Leap's existing operations under the Cricket brand name," AT&T said in a recent FCC filing.

In a new company blog post, Aio argued that AT&T's Leap deal will make Aio even better. After the deal is approved, all Aio stores will be rebranded under the new Cricket brand. 

"The brand will change but the essence of what we are will not," Aio said. "The new Cricket will build and expand on Aio's premise of creating wireless without compromise and delivering a simpler, more delightful experience to our customers. Providing great devices on a reliable, nationwide network, with a fun, friendly retail experience is what we are all about, and that won't change when we are the new Cricket."

Aio said under the Cricket brand, Aio customers will not see changes in their network coverage, and will not need to change their devices or phone numbers. It's unclear though if Aio or Cricket's pricing will change once the deal is completed.

An Aio spokesperson declined to provide additional details.

AT&T launched Aio Wireless in May in a few markets across the country, and then took the offering nationwide last month. Aio currently has more than 230 stores so far in Texas, Florida and Georgia, which are operated by independent dealers. The prepaid brand offers feature phones and smartphones and pricing options ranging from $40 per month to $70 per month. The service is positioned as a response to the likes of Sprint's (NYSE:S) Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands as well as T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) MetroPCS brand and other prepaid services. AT&T had planned to expand Aio's services to 220 million retail POPs by the end of 2016.

For more:
- see this Aio post

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