Monday, October 21, 2013

AIO Wireless: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

AT&T has decided to discontinue their new AIO (All In One) Wireless if their acquisition of Cricket Wireless is approved by the FCC. We're not certain why AT&T needs 2, let alone 3 Prepaid brands, but there must be some mysterious value.  I know they hope to hold on to the millions of Cricket customers.  Beyond that, we'll guess that Cricket will eventually look like what AIO looks like...which looks like what GoPhone looks like but with plans rearranged to attract a different audience. Yes, much like the re-arranged deck chairs on the Titanic.

In comparison, Sprint has succeeded in maintaining 2 separate Prepaids, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile.  Sprint's new Prepaid entry, Sprint As You Go, is directed to yet another category of Prepaid users, but for the life of me I can't tell who that is.  Could we call it "Sprint Without a Contract?"  T-Mobile jumped in with GoSmart Mobile even though they had their own excellent T-Mobile-branded Prepaid and they also just bought MetroPCS.  The Metro purchase made sense because it came with a batch of well-placed spectrum.  GoSmart, none.  We're not going to mention the half-dozen Prepaid services from America Movil.

When a wireless company buys a chunk of spectrum it makes sense to keep as many of the customers that comes with it as possible.  Creating a new wireless brand, one that will compete with your existing business, makes no sense.  We predict these Prepaids-without-a-purpose are doomed, and AIO is the first to fall. Guess which is next.

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