T-Mobile Shakes Up the Industry; Competitors Respond to the Uncarrier

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We all know that T-Mobile’s new Uncarrier campaign is risky and refreshing, bound to cause a change in the US wireless industry. As we guessed, just a month after the launch of the Uncarrier campaign, Magenta’s competitors are already responding to TMo’s Simple Choice plans.

Pronounced “A-O” and short for All in One, Aio Wireless is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T, operating on AT&T’s HSPA+ network. Aio Wireless is AT&T’s response to Simple Choice, almost mirroring T-Mobile’s new offerings. As with T-Mobile, Aio is a BYOD carrier. Their plan offerings vary ever so slightly with $40, $55, and $70 getting you unlimited talk and text accompanied by 250 megabytes, 2 gigabytes, or 7 gigabytes of high-speed data followed by throttled speeds, respectively. Aio will offer handsets ranging from $30 feature phones up to the $650 iPhone 5 and assumedly other flagship devices in the future.

Notably absent, however, are financing options and LTE.

Despite running on AT&T’s network, LTE will not be available, meaning users are relegated to HSPA+. Additionally, according to the FAQ section of Aio’s website, users can expect to see up to 4 Mbps of throughput, meaning that the the “full-speed” data is throttled, unlike on T-Mobile, where users can consume their data allotment as quickly and freely as the network can provide it.

Aio wireless currently only offers service in Tampa, Orlando, and Houston. Customers are unable to order SIM cards from the web, meaning that if you’re interested in Aio, you’ll have to wait until it hits your city.

Secondly, there is no mention of financing, meaning that users will need to bring their own unlocked device or pay the full retail price of their handset of choice. While this is the typical MO of MVNOs, TMo’s financing options will definitely be very compelling to any customer with their eye on a higher-end handset.

It’s great to see T-Mobile leading the charge and forcing its competitors to respond in kind. Knowing that as a T-Mobile user, I get full access to the network until my data allotment is reached instead of having my “high-speed” data throttled out of the gate is also great, and makes me happy to be with good old Magenta.

  • Zacamandapio

    That’s what I’m talking about.
    Competition. Good for me.

    • Brad Lopez

      Better for us all!

      • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

        you said it brotha ; )

    • Jarred Sutherland

      Indeed! I was hoping this kind of thing would happen, I just didn’t expect it anywhere near this soon.

    • Black TheBadGuy

      Indeed. Now if only we could get the same competition in the cable/internet/home phone realm

      • Ordeith

        Local government have granted monopolistic rights of way to companies that provide those services, pretty much guaranteeing none of us will ever see much competition in this area.

      • remister

        Google Fiber…. They are going at a slow rate though :(

  • McNuke929

    Exactly how we like to see AT&T. With their pants around their ankles.

  • Aurizen

    Tmobile is coming back with a force.

  • ripham1@gmail.com

    biased as fuck,however I agree. Unless those plans could somehow have added lines for $20/30/40 a month (nonshared data). Then they would blow tmo out of the water.

  • reinnier

    How is prepaid a direct competitor to simple choice plan? HSPA+ only?

    • VG

      And throttling data speeds to 4Mbps. If AT&T doesn’t offer this MVNO option in their stores, then how does this compete with T-Mo? Sounds like the main AT&T will continue with contracts and hidden subsidies.

      • Dakota

        It’s more comparable to Sprints Virgin & Boost and Tmobiles GoSmart. Verizon is launching a prepaid brand too from what I’ve heard

        • Dion Mac

          Then T-Mobile can make Metro be like that as well. They are not really revolutionizing anything… not even close.

    • samsavoy

      Because I’d rather ubiquitous 4mbps from AT&T than spotty HSPA+ from T-Mobile.

      • reinnier

        Nice. Even though Tmo has a 7 year roaming agreement with att

        • samsavoy

          AT&T roaming is a joke. It’s 64kbps and many of the sites don’t accept T-Mobile devices, plus it’s capped at 50MB.

  • Eric

    What makes Aio different from any other company like Simple Mobile if it doesn’t offer financing on phones among other things? Just sounds like every other MVNO to me.

    • Brad Lopez

      Dofferent from T-Mobile. But not different than other MVNOs. You’re right.

    • Dakota

      One article I read said there will be third party financing on phones. Its just their prepaid brand like GoSmart is for T-Mobile

    • Jarred Sutherland

      I think the fact that they have (albeit $70) a 7GB data option is what sets them apart. Also the fact the data service is unlimited, just throttled after that point.

      Other MVNO’s can’t touch that anymore.

      • LC

        But even T-Mobile offers a $70 truly unlimited prepaid. Granted, that’s obviously not on an MVNO, but still a viable option.

        • Bud

          att service is better than tmo

        • Dion Mac

          If that was indeed true, wtf does that have to do with what was said? Also keep in mind that MVNO’s and prepaids are NOT treated the same as postpaid customers. So att customer might be able to make some calls when Aio can’t. Same with data.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mrice.hill Mr. Hill

    Now this is what competition in the industry does folks. The mighty AT&T even lost subscribers last quarter so trust me they are feeling the heat. Anyone think AT&T would have ever launched decent prepaid plans if they were allowed to go ahead and buy T-Mobile back in 2011?

    • msohail

      Well said

  • VG

    It seems like the main AT&T brand and their stores will continue with their contracts and subsidies. This new MVNO will not compete directly with T-Mo, it only will compete with other MVNOs. I guess we’ll soon see Verizon launch their own MVNO, but I sense AT&T and Verizon are too afraid to abandon contracts and subsidies with their main brands.

    • Dakota

      They’ll do whatever will make them money

  • Chris

    Wow this is great! Didn’t expect anyone to respond this fast. Must mean they see the potential in t-mobile’s strategy!

  • TMoFan

    This is now known as the UNcarrier effect. But despite att’s shift it’s still not the same and UNcarrier’s offerings are still superior. The shackles of the duopoly must be destroyed and as long as there are players out there like a resurgent T-Mobile then the days of the old way of doing things are numbered.

  • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

    ha, Att flinched! (and so did Verizon with their interest laden phone payment loans)

    • kalel33

      Verizon did theirs, not because of T-mobile, but specifically because of customers leaving because of losing the unlimited data packages.

      • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

        That attributed to it but to think that T-Mobile’s plans didn’t have a single thing to do with that decision would be Naive.

        • kalel33

          Verizon was losing a lot of people because of the unlimited data being taken away when you upgraded with a discount. I know, I was working there when it was/is happening. If you think that Verizon’s worried about T-mobile’s network then you’re extremely naive. Verizon only worries about AT&T and that’s it.

        • 21stNow

          Kalel, did you leave VZW?

        • kalel33

          Yeah, just this week. For people that can do call centers for a career and stay sane I give them props. T-mobile was much more stressful with the metrics and sales, but even Verizon, with their much laid back metrics still eats at you.

        • 21stNow

          I hope that everything works out better for you in your next opportunity! I hope that it’s not a call center next time. I couldn’t imagine it and I give you props for doing it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamille-Browne/1184321457 Jamille Browne

          We all have to be a lil bit insane sometimes…. I deal with a lot of dissatisfied customers calls in a call center.. I don’t understand it if people have problem with a service for years you would think they would call it quits and switch but they want to stay.

        • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

          Any company who would underestimate a bold competitor no matter how bigger or smaller they may be would be Naive, so you’re saying both you and your former Employer Verizon are Naive. Gotcha’

  • shawn

    I’ve been with tmo for a long time, at least 10 years, and have lived then as a company during the beginning of this time. Over the last few years I had been losing that love and at times have been down right upset with them and thought the company was going to shit. But now my positive feelings are back and I am optimistic.

  • guest

    You may have to pay full price for the phone but they are priced well. They have their version of a GS3 mini for $99 no contract.

    • loopyduck

      If it’s an S3 mini variant, it’s a cut-rate version (how is that even possible?) of it. The standard S3 mini has 8 GB internal, for starters.

      • guest

        A S3 is still a S3 whether 16GB or 32GB. The galaxy amp has pretty much all the same specs as the s3 mini. Thats why i said their version of it. What does t-mobile offer that has those specs and is less than $100 full price.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamille-Browne/1184321457 Jamille Browne

          S3 mini isn’t only storage downgrade but processor downgrade A s3 is not just an S3

    • WW

      Hell yeah….I’m all over that…Buy one and bring it to T-Mobile!

  • Ordeith

    They have the excellent Lumia 620 for $180.
    They win, financing or no.

    • oryan_dunn

      Yeah, I wish T-Mo would get an AWS compatible dual-shot green 620. The 521 will have to do for now.

      It looks like AIO will only have the blue 620.

  • Josue

    i wanna see all 4 CEO’s on a Maury show fighting about this topic lol

    • josephsinger

      Better yet, a death match!

      • Josue

        foreal I’ll pay to see that

  • Dakota

    David, do you know if T-Mobile Will allow MVNOs to use their LTE. I had heard they quotient but StraightTalk/Tracfone supervisor told me in writing that if ubhave an LTE device in an LTE area, you’ll be able to access

    • VG

      This would be a great article for TMonews: data speeds and LTE availability on all T-Mobile MVNOs. I remember back in February that Solavei said their customers would get LTE as soon as T-Mobile turned it on; turns out this is not the case (I have also read that MVNOs throttle all data to 15Mbps, but this has not been confirmed). From what I have read, T-Mo is keeping LTE for themselves at the moment (I don’t think that GoSmart, T-Mo’s own MVNO, gets LTE). Anyway, a detailed article on MVNOs would be interesting and enlightening.

  • moose_dot_dot_dot

    Does anyone know why T mobile doesn’t move their entire hspa+ network onto pcs spectrum? They only have half of it on pcs and the other half is still on aws. I thought that they would want to move their entire network over to pcs so that outside phones would have full 42mbs speed and then they’d have more spectrum for lte. I know they’ll do that when they can shut down metro pcs’s network but I dont know why they aren’t doing this already. Maybe there are cost or spectrum issues I’m not aware of.

    • josephsinger

      Probably because (I know this is really hard to believe) not everyone is using a smartphone! Some people (again believe it or not) are using 2nd generation services. Yes, that’s plain ol’ GSM. If you put all your spectrum in providing for 3G and 4G devices people who are not using 3G/4G devices will be SOL if they want to make calls. Make sense?

      • Jody Smith

        That’s not the reason.

        T-Mobile simply does not want to invest that kind of money into their network. Only after the AT&T buyout failed did they suddenly have a few extra bucks to invest in the network.

        That’s how T-Mobile does business. They wait for other business models to fail then they react. They started 3G in 2008. They could have had their entire network 3G by now if they wanted to but they were too cheap and they feel their customers are too cheap to notice as well.

        • RonJeezy

          That’s the sad thing. Lte should be last on their agenda. What’s the point of having lte if edge is what 30-45 percent of what users are on most of the time. (not a true figure just a guess)

        • Dion Mac

          Look, once T-Mo gets a good amount of LTE out there(so customers can stop complaining and carriers can stop making them look like total LTE lacking idiots) they will up the ante on the edge upgrade… since theyve already paid nokia for it.

        • http://profiles.google.com/mrice.hill Mr. Hill

          HSPA+42 is already as fast as most LTE (except for AT&T) but T-Mobile had to start rolling out LTE now. Not having it made them look totally inferior from a marketing perspective. Remember the Verizon commercial that showed the LTE coverage of all carriers and all the charts had T-Mobile with an embarrassing “0 LTE cities”.

        • RonJeezy

          I hated that damn commercial! Lol

        • pholocity

          They are allotting a band of spectrum to provide 2G service (GSM) for roaming partners from overseas should people come over here and not have devices that will work on our 3G/LTE spectrum. They dont want to alienate their current 2G customers either at this point because like ATT there are still some grandma or grandpa that just has a flip phone that’s 2G.

          I dont like to call them cheap but frugal with their money and get more bang for the buck. If you ran a network and had a finite amount of money to spend would you A) invest it in markets that have high density and therefore high usage or B) go and provide coverage to b and c markets where there will not generate high ARPU.

          Coming late into the network upgrade has its benefits as well. You get to see where your competitors messed up and you learn from it. LTE they’re late to the game but not by much, but they have the latest equipment now so they can move onto LTE Advanced whereas ATT and VZW will have to fork out more money to add newer equipment to handle it.

          Lastly, with the successful acquisition of Metro and their spectrum gain from the ATT buyout failure as well as the spectrum swap from VZW they now will have contiguous spectrum in major markets that will allow them to provide 20×20 LTE so all you download numbers maniacs will love the huge throughputs that it will offer.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamille-Browne/1184321457 Jamille Browne

          T-mobile has been upgrading the network prior to the buyout so your argument is already moot.

      • moose_dot_dot_dot

        Ohh thanks I get this now

  • http://www.facebook.com/concetta.privitera1 Concetta Privitera

    Tmo is always leading the competitors…. …take for instance….. ummmm… ANDROID.. they had it a full year before anyone else…. verizon just had the way better commercial :)

    • Jody Smith

      Yes! Leading with next generation GPRS since the late 90′s.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamille-Browne/1184321457 Jamille Browne

        Sucks for you bro maybe move to an area with HSPA+/LTE-A or quit complaining and get a different carrier?

        • http://profiles.google.com/mrice.hill Mr. Hill

          He’s on AT&T. He just likes to troll pro-T-Mobile articles despite not even using their service or being interested in possibly using it. Maybe AT&T will cut him a check.

        • Ginadagelatina

          Im with jody smith only that i dont know were he/she lives but i live in LOS ANGELES which im sure u know its a BIG city its not like i live in the middle of nowhere and tmobile still has tons of EDGE i can have hspa on one street walk down the wrong street im on edge gets really frustratin . AS Much as i hate to admit it att works much better . I hate atts plans rude customer service because i had them 2 months ago i was fed up decided to try T-Mobile fell in love with T-Mobile s prices, good customer service but hate there lousy coverage there’s alot of edge and signal inside buildings craps out a lot while att ALWAYS came tru. I think i will be going back to att since they have LTE in LA and a lot more hspa coverage now that i think about it i never ever saw the EDGE icon when i had att i was either on lte or hspa never edge like on T-Mobile.

  • Dion Mac

    This doesn’t really seem like an answer to the Simple Choice plan. Really just sounds like another MVNO service but they are more open to bringing any network compatible device. With it begin a new service and not one of the big 3, I dont see it causing much of a problem to T-Mobile.

  • Allen Enriquez

    Out of all CEO I have seen throughout the world John Legere is the most innovative daring leader soon to be as big as Steve Jobs but do with all respect in a Wireless Innovator way! I see Great Success for T-Mobile US as it brings a aggressive campaign of one of a kind Wireless Provider!

  • DJ Chameleon

    I read somewhere that the $40 plan is only available for feature phones. Also, if you assume an Aio customer will have better coverage than a T-Mobile post paid customer you are mistaken. The terms of service for Aio clearly state their customers will be throttled or blocked when towers are congested and the maximum data speed will be 4 mbps whereas T-Mobile has data roaming on AT&T without regard to tower congestion and consistently has data speeds in excess of 10 mbps in real world speed tests and with the rapid roll out of LTE, the speed gap with Aio will widen dramatically over the next twelve months. At least Aio ifs making an real effort to compete with Revileon and value but when you look at the details of what Aio is offering, T-Mobile still offers significantly better value. At least AT&T customers will have a credible budget option.

    On a side note I can’t help but speculate that AT&T speed allowing Simple Talk to sell AT&T SIM cardsbecause were planning to launch Aio. I think this will cut into Simple Talk sales much more than T-Mobile.

  • SCM

    If TMO shake up its middle management, I think it will be more beneficial. There are directors like John Potter who sit in their office for few hours doing absolutely nothing. These are the directors who have power to lay off hard working employees and give their job to his buddies in 2 hours for same lay off position. Entire Sr leadership and HR department, help in covering up this event. No matter what TMO does, under such corrupt and discriminating leadership organization will eventually get disintegrated and there is no way this type of organization will be able to provide good service to their customers.

  • Jose do

    This article isnt %100 Accurate. AIO offers coverage/serivce all over the US. You do not have to live in Tampa, Orlando, or Houston to order a sim card or get service. I was able to order a sim card on the web by putting a Zip Code from one of thouse areas and im having it shipped and will be using it in Las Vegas, NV, though i was assinged a Tamp, FL phone #. Please update this article.

    • JBrowne1012

      So because you lied about your service location in order to get through and sent it to a mismatched address that warrants updating the article?

      • Jose do

        Yes. I think it should.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamille-Browne/1184321457 Jamille Browne

          You have a couple of screws missing from your head.

        • Jose do

          Umm no I don’t. Your just ignorant buddy. Of course everything seems that way to youz

        • Jose Don’t

          *You’re

        • Jose do

          Why don’t you go do something better with ur time whole.

      • http://tmonews.com David

        Yeah, no thanks, the article stays…you should update your information with AIO so they know you don’t really need the service.

  • Dennis

    Carriers are beginning to respond to T-Mobile’s no-contract plans (see AT&T’s new offering), and now Verizon will be selling a Nokia 928 Global phone with GSM as well as CDMA capabilities via micro SIM card. Did anyone say “True Portability”?…Buy the phone and take it anywhere…That’s the ideal. How long will it take for the other carriers to do the same? How long before the phone manufacturers simply build all the phones with all the network capabilities? Thanks to T-Mobile for getting the ball rolling…

  • LOVE

    Thanks for promoting Aio Wireless. Free advertisement Aio on a competitors websit blog !!

  • Jody Smith

    I just want T-Mobile to improve their network. Cheaper rate plans will not attract the higher end customers if their network sucks.

    LTE better be built right. No patchy, spotty LTE with large gaps of EDGE in-between and no service inside buildings. Please T-Mobile do it right this time with the newer network.

    Their faux G network in SoCal is still a bit spotty and has capacity issues. I get less than 100 Kbps speeds throughout the day which is irritating and the maps show best 42 Mbps coverage here.