Its not unusual for major U.S. carriers to launch a standalone prepaid brand. This allows the companies to bring in more subscribers, even those who don’t want to be tied to a conventional service contract. The prepaid brands have their own identity and plans but lean on the major carrier’s network to provide service. Earlier this year AT&T closed its $1.2 billion acquisition of Leap Wireless which was the parent company of Cricket Wireless. It has now been relaunched by AT&T.
Even though AT&T inherited Cricket as part and parcel of the acquisition it made a decision to back it fully. This come at the expense of Aio, a prepaid brand that AT&T launched just last year. Aio has now formally been shut down since AT&T would obviously not run two similar brands at the same time.
The carrier has also introduced new prepaid plans to spice up the offering. President of AT&T’s Cricket unit, Jennifer Van Buskirk, says that its about keeping the Cricket name “but totally changing the game for customers.”
Cricket Wireless customers can now opt for a $40 plan which offers unlimited calls, texts with 500MB of data. $50 and $60 plans are also on offer which bring 2.5GB and 5GB of data respectively. Once data caps are reached customers are automatically throttled to lower speeds. Group Save is a new feature that’s quite similar to Sprint’s Framily plan. If customers add a second line they get $10 off, $20 if a third line is added. Fourth and fifth lines brings $30 in savings each. Group Save will operate under a single bill unlike Sprint Framily.
Buskirk is of the view that prepaid customers will now get more value from the Cricket Wireless brand as it lets them tap into AT&T’s nationwide 4G LTE network. She did reveal that new subscribers won’t get access to the Muve music streaming service. Existing Cricket Wireless subscribers will be able to access it until AT&T decides what to do with it.