AT&T’s Aio prepaid brand, which you may remember as the brand that got in trouble for using the color magenta, is merging with Cricket, a more recognizable prepaid brand.
AT&T is merging to two brands as it just gained the Cricket brand by acquiring its parent company Leap Wireless yesterday. The carrier had plans for the switch since October, if not before then, and wasted no time announcing the change to its users.
The change won’t really affect any users right now, though AT&T will phase out the current crop of CDMA-based Cricket phones with new GSM-based phones soon. The good news, theoretically, is that the new Cricket phones will use AT&T’s full network, including its 4G LTE network, while staying a prepaid brand. That may or may not be good news depending on the quality of AT&T’s network in your area.
After AT&T completely integrates Cricket and Aio current Cricket customers will have the chance to go to a Cricket store to get a new phone and plan “at their convenience.” There’s no word on how long users will have until they absolutely have to switch to a new phone.
Current Aio customers won’t have to do anything, they’ll simply see the name of their carrier switch from Aio to Cricket. The service will remain the same. Think of it like when Cingular turned into AT&T a few years ago, but with prepaid phones.
The website for the merging of the two brands promises the new Cricket will have “simple” and “affordable” plans that include all taxes and fees in their advertised prices. There’s no word on what those plans will look like, though. Based on the video message from new Cricket president Jennifer Van Buskirk, the plans may look similar to Aio plans, though it could simply be that Aio customers will be grandfathered into the new brad with their current plans.
Does the brand name of the prepaid carrier make much a difference to you? Or does the name not matter as long as it has decent phones?