AT&T has announced the launch of their own no-contract mobile provider. The new subsidiary, Aio Wireless, is launching this week in three markets - Houston, Orlando, and Tampa, with a nationwide rollout planned over the course of the next year.
Aio Wireless will offer customers a variety of plans ranging in price from $40 to $70 per month, as well as a $15 per month tablet plan. The basic plan is available only for feature phones (i.e., not smartphones) and gets you unlimited talk, texting, and data. Of course, this is AT&T, so "unlimited" doesn't actually mean unlimited when it comes to data. Under this plan your data connection is throttled after 250MB of use. The intermediate plan, dubbed Aio Smart (as in, smartphone) is much the same as the basic plan, except now your data connection gets throttled after 2GB of use. For $70 the Aio Pro plan will get you a whopping 7 GB of data usage per month before you get throttled. The $15 per month tablet plan gets you a paltry 250MB of data before you get throttled.
As with other no-contract providers, you are free to either bring your own phone to Aio Wireless, or purchase one of the models they have available. Their smartphone selection is decent but fairly iPhone heavy (they have at least two models of every iPhone since the iPhone 4), and light on high-powered Android devices. Of course, since there's no monthly contract, you pay full price for any phone you buy through Aio.
There's no information yet on which markets Aio will be reaching and when. Much will depend on how popular the service proves in Tampa, Orlando, and Houston. Given the recent popularity of no-contract mobile providers, though, it seems likely that Aio will be sticking around for awhile