AT&T's prepaid wireless approach is taking shape. Today the company has relaunched Cricket Wireless, which it obtained in its $1.19 billion Leap Wireless acquisition just a couple of months ago, as its primary prepaid effort. The new Cricket Wireless runs on AT&T's LTE network — a marked improvement from Cricket's old network — and the company is pushing the brand nationwide with over 3,000 stores to start with. As part of the re-launch, AT&T's year-old Aio Wireless prepaid subsidiary is being rolled under the Cricket brand.
Cricket's new no-contract offerings are comparable to its competitors: it has $35-, $45-, and $55-per-month plans that come with unlimited talk and text and 500MB, 2.5GB, and 5GB of data, respectively. Those prices include a $5-per-month discount for enrolling in automatic bill pay, and when you hit those data caps you'll continue to get service at a throttled speed. Cricket is also inheriting "Group Save" from Aio Wireless, which offers discounts on service depending on how many users join the same account.
Current Cricket wireless customers will be transitioned off of their old CDMA devices and onto AT&T's GSM network within the next 18 months, a representative tells CNET. Like most prepaid carriers, Cricket is offering a number of modern smartphones, including the iPhone 5S, Moto G, and Galaxy S4.