Aio today announced that it will be opening up LTE to its customers via an over-the-air software push that will upgrade their LTE-capable device’s SIM card. Aio customers previously got their highest speeds from AT&T’s HSPA+ network.
Aio is allowing its customers access to AT&T’s nationwide LTE but unfortunately Aio service is only available to people living in the few markets it serves. Naples, Fla. and Ft. Myers, Fla. have just been added to Aio’s list that already includes Houston, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Gainesville, Fla.
Kathy Van Buskirk, , head of public relations for Aio, told Wireless Week that the company has 96 stores in those seven markets and that devices and plans are available online as well. Aio is still in a limited launch but Van Buskirk assured us that more markets were coming by the end of 2013.
As for why the launch has been almost exclusively within the Sunshine State, Van Buskirk just said that those markets were compatible with the service Aio was providing, according to the company’s research.
To go along with the new LTE Aio has added the LTE-enabled ZTE Overture, a mid-range Android handset, to its portfolio. Aio already offers a few other LTE phones including the iPhone 5.
Aio’s website lists four different rate plans. Basic, Smart and Pro all offer essentially the same service except that Basic ($40) throttles LTE data after 250 MB, Smart ($55) throttles it after 2 GB and Pro ($70) throttle it after 7 GB. In addition, a $15 Tablet plan offers 250 MB of HSPA per month. Extra gigabytes of LTE run $10 and unlimited international calling plans start at $10.
Aio’s move to LTE coincides with AT&T’s branded prepaid offering GoPhone gaining access to the next-gen networks. With T-Mobile going no-contract and Sprint opening up its prepaid brands, Boost and Virgin Mobile, to LTE, it’s becoming more evident that carriers aren’t just saving the good stuff for post-paids.