AT&T has gotten just a wee bit nervous about T-Mobile's Prepaid plans. Quite frankly they should be, as T-mobile's prepaid plans are widely regarded as the best currently available. That not only explains their decision to create Aio, a new prepaid carrier, it also explains why the first item on their webpage is a rather obvious request for T-Mobile customers to leave.
Aio's plans are certainly not exact clones of their T-Mobile counterparts. They've put significantly more emphasis on voice, with the inclusion of unlimited talk for all their plans. While this is certainly an upgrade from the 100 minutes offered by T-Mobile's cheapest plan, Aio doesn't come quite that cheap.
Initially I was pretty excited by that $40.00 a month plan. AT&T has better coverage in the boonies of West Michigan and after all, throttled data is better than no data whatsoever. Unfortunately though, a quick glance downward reveals that the plan is solely for feature phones. Their cheapest smartphone plan also happens to be their most competitive. For $55 you get 2GB of LTE data. Not at all a bad price, although they do cap even your "high-speed" data at 8MBs a second. The closest T-mobile plan comes in at $60 and comes with two and a half Gigs. Aio also offers a cheap tablet plan, $15 a month for 250 MB of high speed data, followed by unlimited throttled data.
Aio has some of the usual crappy, overpriced prepaid phones available. Their best being a $250 Galaxy Express, a device that is middling at best. Luckily for just ten bucks you can get a SIM-card and bring your own device. For the same price of that Galaxy Express you could rock the recently discounted Nexus 4!
So are any of these plans really worth it? That depends on a couple things. First of all, Aio is only available in Florida, Georgia and Texas. So everybody else is out of luck for now. If you're covered the most important factor is, as always, your coverage. Does T-Mobile stink in your area? Then Aio's AT&T networks might have you covered, and vice versa. If you live in an area with good T-mobile coverage, their $30 a month, 5GB high speed data plan simply cannot be topped. Similarly, those who use tons of data will find T-Mobile's truly unlimited $70 option far better than the 7GB cap offered by Aio at the same price point. If you are a fairly light web user who likes to talk a lot Aio's 2GB plan will save you $5 a month over the comparable T-Mobile plan.
So anybody thinking about switching? Let us know in the comments down below, and go join the conversation over on our Google Plus page.