ATT's Aio and Cricket Wireless merge to become new Cricket

As AT&T completes its acquisition of prepaid service provider Leap Wireless, AT&T will begin plans to transform Cricket into a new prepaid wireless provider. Maintaining the same great benefits of Cricket, new Cricket will offer simple and low cost rate plans, with an amazing lineup of handsets paired with a great 4G LTE network experience without an annual contract.

Perhaps one of the more odd but necessary moves of the acquisition is the necessity for AT&T to merge its just recently launched Aio Wireless service with Cricket. While this won't occur overnight, AT&T has allocated a minimum of 18 months for the transition period. Current Cricket customers will at some point before the 18 months need to update their current wireless plans and handsets by visiting a local store. Since Cricket is currently on a CDMA network, older equipment will not work on the new GSM Cricket service. As for current Aio customers, they will still continue to be able to use their current handsets and stay on their existing plans. Aio Wireless customers will simply wait for a logo change. While Cricket is currently serving 35 states, it will look to expand this number in 2014 with the help of AT&T's 4G LTE network.

Source: Cricket / Aio | Image: Aio Wireless

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For the same reason T-Mobile has T-Mobile Prepaid and MetroPCS now, I suppose. They both target different crowds. Cricket and MetroPCS brands both market themselves as a premium experience without the contract. GoPhone and T-Mobile Prepaid are marketed as a no-frills, no contract service, neither of which offer extra services such as Cricket's Muve Music or MetroPCS's cheaper international packages. Of course, it would be fairly simple for both AT&T and T-Mobile to add such services to their offerings, but both GoPhone and T-Mobile Prepaid would suffer from the simple fact that neither of them are very affordable or offer many current/premium devices.