AT&T

Cricket customers have grace period before needing to move to a new phone and plan; Aio Wireless customers will see no changes

Just eight short months after agreeing to buy Leap Wireless, AT&T has closed the deal that brings the prepaid carrier under its big corporate umbrella. And if you were one of the few people who thought AT&T wouldn't quickly mix things up after the purchase ended, you may be in for a little bit of change. Immediately after the close of the deal, AT&T is combining the newly-acquired Cricket brand (which Leap Wireless operated under) with its existing prepaid brand Aio Wireless as its sole prepaid offering.

Aside from a rebranding to using Cricket instead of Aio Wireless as the brand, not a whole lot is changing from a service perspective. Existing Cricket customers have a bit of a grace period to keep using their current phone, plan and number — once the integration is entirely complete, you will then visit a Cricket store and purchase a device and new plan that will transition them over to the AT&T network. That has the bonus of giving you a much larger and faster network, while keeping things less expensive and prepaid as Cricket customers are used to.

Cricket & Aio Wireless

Current Aio Wireless customers will see no changes whatsoever aside from a new name on the website, and their devices and plans will remain the exact same. Presumably the integration with Cricket will boost the prepaid carrier's overall speeds and coverage with the addition of new towers, customers and spectrum over time, but if you currently use Aio Wireless don't worry about sweeping changes (at least for the near future).

There's no indication here of what this means for AT&T's self-branded GoPhone prepaid offerings (the few that are left), but our assumption is that those are here to stay right now.


The New Cricket to Deliver No-Annual-Contract Wireless on Reliable Nationwide 4G LTE Network

Experience of Cricket and Innovation of Aio Wireless provide a Winning Combination for Customers

Alpharetta, Ga., March 13, 2014 – There’s a revolution coming in the no-contract wireless space and the new Cricket is leading the charge. The new Cricket Wireless, emerging today from AT&T’s (NYSE:T) acquisition of Leap Wireless International, which had operated Cricket, creates a powerful force that gives customers what they have been asking for. The new Cricket will change the way people think about no-annual-contract wireless by delivering what matters most: a reliable, nationwide 4G LTE network; simple plans at affordable prices; fresh and engaging retail stores in their neighborhoods; and a range of cool devices. “Today is more than a milestone in the industry, it’s a signal to consumers to get ready for a smart wireless service option without an annual contract,” said Jennifer Van Buskirk, president of the new Cricket. “We’re fired up to help people across the country take advantage of our fast nationwide 4G LTE network, affordable pricing plans and cool devices everyone will love. This is the power of the new Cricket.” In the coming weeks, Cricket will be combined with AT&T’s existing operations to create the new Cricket, with a national presence featuring thousands of stores in states across the country. The new Cricket is taking the very best from each brand and focusing on providing customers with simple, affordable no-annual-contract wireless that’s easy every step of the way. Existing Cricket Customers

There is nothing current Cricket customers need to do to right now. They can continue to use their phone, current phone number and rate plan to stay connected with family and friends. Once the integration of the two brands is complete, Cricket customers may visit a new Cricket store at their convenience to purchase a device and service plan that will give them access to a reliable, nationwide 4G LTE network so they can experience great coverage from coast-to-coast, with no roaming charges. Everything the new Cricket is doing is focused on making it easy for customers to take advantage of all that the new brand will offer.

Aio Wireless Customers Existing Aio Wireless customers will continue to enjoy simple pricing plans and the phones they have without changing anything. The only change they will see is the name change to the new Cricket brand.

“Whether you’re an existing Cricket or Aio Wireless customer or haven’t discovered us yet, we can’t wait for you to experience everything the new Cricket will offer,” added Van Buskirk. “Get ready. It’s going to be easy to see that the new Cricket is the smart choice for wireless service without an annual contract.”

For the latest information about the merger, visit: http://merger-info.aiowireless.com

About the new Cricket Wireless The new Cricket Wireless was created for customers who want a simple, smart and affordable choice for wireless service, without an annual contract. In addition to always focusing on the customer, the power of the new Cricket is access to a fast, reliable, nationwide 4G LTE network, easy and affordable plans that provide unlimited service and include all taxes and fees, and a great selection of devices customers love. To learn more about the new Cricket or find a store near you, visit http://merger-info.aiowireless.com/ The new Cricket is a subsidiary of AT&T Inc.

 
There are 75 comments

dirtydog74 says:

So Cricket customers will be forced to spend their money and buy a new phone just to maintain service?

Yeah, I was wondering about that. Doesn't seem very money saving to me.

Posted via Android Central App

Yup they're not putting a date on it, but at some point folks need to buy a new phone that's compatible with AT&T. Happens whenever there's a merger of carriers with different technologies.

NoNexus says:

hopefully they will do what sprint did with Nextel and give the customers a few years before they force you into it. I kinda doubt it, but am hopeful for the consumers sake.

You will only have a few months ,because at&t are a money hungry company., with very bad overage ,if you leave the interstates an if you leave the city's ,cricket has good CDMA coverage out in the country ,if you want coverage out in the country at a good price go to SELECTEL WIRELESS ,runs on Verizon towers an has free roaming, $40.00 a month unlimited talk an text you pick the data,use any post pay Verizon phone an NO CREDIT CHECK like cricket ,at&t will soon mass up the great cricket plans.

Brett134 says:

Look close at the press release.....

"Once the integration of the two brands is complete, Cricket customers may visit a new Cricket store at their convenience to purchase a device and service plan that will give them access to a reliable, nationwide 4G LTE network so they can experience great coverage from coast-to-coast, with no roaming charges."

I am not worried about a new phone they will probably even give a kickback to upgrade... the problem is that it looks like they will force you to change your rate plan!!!! or as they call it (service plan) meaning probably higher prices...

I have been looking around it looks like 1 to 1.5 years they will make you assimilate which is fine I personally like ATT network better. I HOPE THEY ALLOW YOU TO KEEP SERVICE PRICING THE SAME.

You must not travel much,I do an at&t has the worst coverage out side of T-Mobile. if you leave the city's an interstates your in trouble, so people check your coverage maps, an look at your mvno companys to see who has the bet deal.

I was concerned about this too. Ok just bought the galaxy s4... now I'm going to need to spend more money to benefit from New network? I've been a customer for 12 years! Wtf?
No wonder why T-Mobile is doing their buy out contracts and switch over deal, they must have seen this coming.

AT&T has bad coverage,only good in city's,Cricket had good CDMA coverage an roamed very good on pardner company s here in Kentucky .AT&T .Has some of the worest coverage an don't come close to the good cama coverage that cricket had,this is a bad deal an should have never happened. also crimes gave the government reduction on it bill to poor people,were I'll bet at&t want do that.,I helped a friend get on cricket so she would have coverage were she was on at&t with very little coverage, this is a bad think

MetalMike901 says:

Yeah, sounds like a good deal for all except current Cricket customers, who have to buy a new device. Would really suck if you just spent a ton on a nice device with Cricket and they are about to brick it. Otherwise I hope their service plans remain competitive and I might switch from Straight Talk.

Posted via mostly ghost taps on OG N7, in the Android Central App, therefore posts may not be my own.

dirtydog74 says:

Because there are no subsides on prepaid you have to pay full price! AT&T should, at the very least, offer a special promotion to the existing cricket customers to try to keep them from defecting.

MetalMike901 says:

I agree. I would be beyond mad if I just bought an unsubsidized iPhone 5 or Galaxy device that's about to be useless. That's screwing customers big time so they do need to offer a big trade in or discount on a new device. But, in my opinion, this is why I would never again buy carrier specific devices. Buy a Nexus or other unlocked device and you can go where you please with it at any time, regardless what a carrier does.

Posted via mostly ghost taps on OG N7, in the Android Central App, therefore posts may not be my own.

Lesa Simpson says:

I bought an iPhone 5 in December and I am still making payments on it. I can't afford another phone. I am so upset about this.

alisalmang says:

This is just AT&T being AT&T. Not very customer oriented at all. If forced to buy a new phone, I would just go with straight talk or tmobile instead.

~Lone androider in a tribe of sourapples~

linda m1 says:

Check to see if your iphone works on GSM or CDMA. If it works on GSM you will not have to purchase another phone. Some iphones can work on either. Hopefully yours is GSM

John Backer says:

I know where you can get unlimited talk, text and data for the iPhone 5 for the best price. No contract, no credit check, no activation or termination fees, 14 day money back trial period. http://SmartPhones39.com

Yep, exactly. AT&T would be smart to at least give some discount. I'm surprised the article just kind of glossed over Cricket users being forced to buy new phones as if it were no big deal.

yacoby54 says:

Discounted phones are offered for these types of services. It's also really easy to sell your old phone on ebay or where ever to supplement the cost of a new device. This isn't the end of the world.

bleached says:

Who is going to buy a current cricket phone?

Posted via Android Central App

yacoby54 says:

Who said anything about buying a current cricket phone?

For a current Cricket customer, it's not "really easy to sell your old phone on ebay" if nobody will buy their current Cricket phone.

yacoby54 says:

It's also easy to sit there and complain about no one buying your phone when you don't actually list it.
If you don't like AT&T's plan well then leave and go to Sprint where your current Cricket phone will work. Simple as that.

alisalmang says:

Unicorn is right. Read his comment again when you are ok and understand his concern.

Unicorn : can't you get your cricket phone unlocked, and then sell it? I know international buyers wouldn't care if it's a cricket phone as long as it works in their countries.

~Lone androider in a tribe of sourapples~

yacoby54 says:

I don't need to read his comment again. These things happen, if you don't agree with them well then you have the right as a consumer to choose a different service provider. It is a month to month service plan so there are no ETF's so leave and take your phone to a different provider.

Steve Seaver says:

I used to sell Cricket and they are a joke, they have a large inventory of CDMA phones left over before the merger and they wanna sell them while people will still buy them in order not to lose a lot of money so beware!!

Nobody's devices are being "bricked." We still have no idea what the time table is for the transition or what AT&T will do to give folks who are on Cricket incentives to stay with the carrier after the move. Obviously nobody on Cricket is in a contract, AT&T has to do something to keep them around when the time comes to switch devices. AT&T isn't going to throw everyone under a bus.

yacoby54 says:

Amen. People act like this is the first take over that has happened in the wireless world.

yacoby54 says:

How do you figure it is about to be bricked?

jeremmar says:

I made the switch to aio...cricket , a few months back and am loving it. Great customer service so far and $5 off a month for auto pay.

Posted via Android Central App

eahinrichsen says:

I wish they hadn't axed the 7GB for $70 plan. I'm still grandfathered into it, but it'd be nice to be able to switch between that and the lower tier plans for heavier travel months.

Posted from one of an unnecessarily large collection of Nexus devices because I'm That Guy

Grandfathered in? Why would you stay on that plan when Cricket Has 10 GB for $70.

Eclectech says:

The Cricket name is just awful. The Aio name is much better. I guess AT&T doesn't care much for branding.

:: Posted via The One ::

quailallstar says:

Or maybe the T-Mobile lawsuit (magenta=purple) prompted ATT to ditch the AIO brand all together? Just a thought...

Posted from the surface of the moon using my LG Optimus G Pro on T-Mobile with 0 Death Star bloat...

That lawsuit had to do with the color branding, not the name. So it could be part of it, but they easily could've kept the Aio Wireless name and used a new color.

benthe1 says:

Wait. You think Aio is a better brand name? How do you even pronounce that shit?

eahinrichsen says:

Just like the letters A O.

Posted from one of an unnecessarily large collection of Nexus devices because I'm That Guy

travaz says:

A hole wireless? Have an Ahole day ? lol

alisalmang says:

+1

Aio was a failed venture for AT&T. That's why they just bought cricket instead lol

~Lone androider in a tribe of sourapples~

LifeRemixed says:

Aio Wireless wasn't mean to be successful. It's kind of evident, that AT&T did very little to ensure Aio Wireless would be successful. There wasn't even any marketing involved, I didn't know what an "Aio" was until 3 weeks ago. I think Aio Wireless was just a ploy for AT&T to acquire another carrier and more spectrum.

AT&T learned from the proposed acquistion with T-Mobile, what will and what won't work and applied it in this situation. Of course, AT&T isn't gaining postpaid subscribers, they are gaining prepaid which allows them to complete with the smaller carriers and T-Mobile, while also acquiring spectrum. By operating the brands seperately, it would make the average person assume there was no relation between AT&T and Aio/Cricket. It's kinda like a fresh start for AT&T...

Aio is a much better brand name than cricket. Much more appealing Logo & color. I would of never went to a cricket location. The cricket name even sounds horrible as I read my comment. Now my phone is branded with a dumbest name ever. Someone please tell me how to remove the brand name a least.

eahinrichsen says:

I will miss having customer service reps telling me to "have an Aio day!"

Posted from one of an unnecessarily large collection of Nexus devices because I'm That Guy

I say, that's hardly cricket, what?

nickmiller71 says:

So....what about the whole Cricket being a CDMA carrier thing? What's going to happen to Cricket users that are using CDMA phones? As far as I remember Cricket used Sprint's network and no SIM cards, at least here in Wisconsin.

newboyx says:

From the article you commented on
" Existing Cricket customers have a bit of a grace period to keep using their current phone, plan and number — once the integration is entirely complete, you will then visit a Cricket store and purchase a device and new plan that will transition them over to the AT&T network."

Posted via Android Central App

benthe1 says:

Isn't it freaking annoying that people ask questions before they read the article?

ryaninc says:

Does this mean they'll also be rebranding all the Aio stores to Cricket, too? There are dozens and dozens of Aio stores around central FL, seemingly in every shopping center and strip mall and corner. They've been advertising the heck out of Aio, too. I wonder if all those stores will switch to being Cricket stores. Seems like a super strange move, especially after all the push they've made to make Aio a strong brand.

MetalMike901 says:

According to what I read on the AIO site, it seems they will eventually rebrand those stores to Cricket. Being that Cricket is much larger I'm not surprised, but honestly I wish they'd ditch that name. I'd rather tell people about AIO than Cricket, ya know?

Posted via mostly ghost taps on OG N7, in the Android Central App, therefore posts may not be my own.

Yup sounds like Cricket is taking place of all of Aio's branding.

eahinrichsen says:

That sucks. I kind of liked Aio's branding. Cricket's is pretty bland.

Posted from one of an unnecessarily large collection of Nexus devices because I'm That Guy

yacoby54 says:

Does branding really play an important role in choosing the best wireless service? I am sure they are looking at it that way. It could be called "Crappy Wireless" but if it has good coverage I will still use it. I think the Cricket brand has been around longer and more people know about it so it makes sense to keep it.

LifeRemixed says:

No, I think branding plays a role to (but not a big one)... Which is why many people avoid "Straight Talk" and many other retailer brands.

Sure, Aio Wireless and Cricket Wireless are not horrible but bad names can deter potential customers..

mcook1670 says:

Talk about brand schizophrenia!!t reminds me of when I was on Alltel, and they got bought out by Verizon. We had to get new phones after having them for only 6 months. The good news is I just got $200, as a trade in on my Note 3 from T-mobile for that old BlackBerry Curve on Alltel! Anyways I see a .lot of confused customers in the near future. Sometimes it's better(and cheaper) to stick to the major carrier's!

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

not being snide when I say this but....

WOW they gave you $200 for a BlackBerry Curve? You made out...sorta

NickLippert says:

Depending on bands the cricket customers may be able to keep using their phones and switch to Ting or another CDMA prepaid service.

John Backer says:

Have you heard of this other carrier? http://Smartphones39.com? It is the one that my family uses and we love it.

grydlok says:

I knew you guys overlooked some stuff
http://www.phonescoop.com/articles/article.php?a=13781

There will be a trade in program for Cricket customers

Posted via

Good to hear, and good find, grydlok. Don't know how much trade-in credit that will be, but at least it's something.

So how much did at&t pay for cricket/aio?

NickLippert says:

I wonder if AT&T will be replacing the cricket antennas with their own or just dropping leases.

eahinrichsen says:

That will probably be decided on an area by area basis. In areas with significant overlap, they'll probably offload some leases, but keep/replace ones that provide better coverage and speed.

Posted from one of an unnecessarily large collection of Nexus devices because I'm That Guy

NickLippert says:

I'm guessing there is a lot of overlap, and they'll be dropping sites. Otherwise they will have to dump a lot of money into swapping over from CDMA to GSM coverage.

LifeRemixed says:

AT&T was in it for the Sprectrum and marketshare.

Glen Gordley says:

Glad my cousin told me about this!

Ry says:

Makes sense.

Not just a spectrum grab but a marketing one as well.

Posted via Android Central App

cgardnervt says:

I see this as a good thing!

Sent from my HTC One

Joshua Bass says:

Guys, I have Aio right now and i give it 10 out of 10. I had Family Mobile, MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Boost and AT&T in the past and I get LTE or 4G almost everywhere I go. All around FL. Aio uses all AT&Ts cell towers. Aio is going to put all other companies out of business. I pay 55 for 5 gigs of LTE. Who can even come close to competing with that? And you can you any ATT locked phone? Come on guys think about it. 10 star.

alisalmang says:

Try tmobile brother. You'll be blown away :-)

~Lone androider in a tribe of sourapples~

LifeRemixed says:

Depending on where you live, T-Mobile has poor reception in doors. There's been no improvement as far as reception goes in the last 5 years, when I left them. (I decided to give them a second chance). While I really like the 4G/LTE in the area I live in but if I leave the city, it's typically 2G and that pretty much makes most takes requiring data, impossible.

Plus, I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile to Sprint to Aio Wireless, and of T-Mobile and Sprint, Aio Wireless is the best, obviously because it runs on AT&T's network.

will we be able to trade in our phones for new ones or are we going to have to buy new ones?

Is att getting to big again?

Posted via Android Central App

New phone?
I just bought a new one almost 2 weeks ago ._.

Will what do people do because the CDMA service covers out in the country away from city's an interstates ,AT&T has very bad coverage here in Kentucky an AT&T has very is not as good as cricket is with crickets roaming rites ,I hate to see at t o this there coverage is do bad ,well look out verizing mvno,s I now go with SELECTEL WIRELESS has free roaming an get Verizon service for $40 a month an you can use Verizon smart phones,I bought o good one on eBay an I got great service

I have a cricket Samsung galaxy s3 and it says 4G lite .. Will I still have to buy a new phone ? I just bought this phone in february.

John Backer says:

I'm running a drawing for a new Galaxy s3 - no purchase necessary - http://Drawing.SmartPhones39.com could save you from buying another phone...

I work for a company that sells phones for multiple carriers (vzw, at&t, sprint & t-mobile) with no contract and have been selling a substantial amount of at&t for cricket. Not a disappointment customer yet. I was reading in another article that stated that if you currently have a feature phone, cricket/at&t will be offering a trade for another feature phone at no extra cost. For smartphones, a sort of credit will be issued. The plans will be $40, $50, or $60 for smartphones, depending on how much high speed you want. I personally don't think it's a bad move, but I'm left to wonder what will happen to current at&t contract customers. With busier towers, will they still have priority coverage? And if so, what happens when cricket customers are dropped from their service tower.