If AT&T's acquisition of prepaid wireless operator Leap Wireless is approved, then customers of the carrier's recently launched Aio Wireless brand can expect to see some big changes – as in, Aio will cease to exist.
"After the transaction's close, AT&T intends to combine the nascent operations of Aio with Leap's existing operations under the Cricket brand name," said AT&T in a recent FCC filing.
AT&T launched Aio in May in select markets before going nationwide in September. Aio has more than 230 stores across Texas, Florida and Georgia, all of which are independently operated. The prepaid brand offers feature phones and smartphones ranging from $40 per month to $70 per month.
When AT&T announced in July that it would acquire Cricket provider Leap for $1.2 billion, Aio's future drastically changed. Leap shareholders are scheduled to vote on the transaction on Oct. 24, and, according to Fierce Wireless, AT&T expects to close the deal before the year is out. Analysts expect regulators to approve the agreement.
When AT&T first announced plans to acquire Leap back in July, the carrier was unsure of what it would do with Aio. The carrier's "public interest" filing on August 1 with the FCC said, "Aio still faces significant challenges to establish nationwide retail distribution, build brand recognition and develop a significant customer base" and how moving forward with Leap's Cricket brand would allow AT&T to target the prepaid space quickly and efficiently.