AT&T’s Aio Wireless Wants ‘Soccer Moms,’ Leap Goes for Urban Youth

Will AT&T be a house divided by its Aio Wireless and soon-to-be Leap-Cricket brands?

That’s a question some are asking. The carrier is taking its Aio Wireless prepaid service nationwide this month after a trial run in three states. It’s also made a bid for Leap Wireless, one of the nation’s largest prepaid wireless providers. On top of that, it already has a GoPhone prepaid offering.

Aio Wireless subscribers can choose among three plans, each of which includes unlimited voice, texting and data services. The nationwide launch of Aio could give AT&T a much more significant share of the prepaid market.

“We’ve been watching Aio’s launch and expansion (already with 200 physical retail locations) with interest, given its mix of no-contract flexibility and slightly upscale market focus,” noted Yankee Group Senior Analyst Rich Karpinski, commenting specifically on a CNET article. ”Taking the brand nationwide albeit online-only at first is an important next step and we can expect it to be accompanied by aggressive marketing. We’re eager to see the mix of outreach between TV (can it score a marketing win as notable as AT&T’s ‘kids around the table’ campaign?) and more targeted online/social media.”

Karpinski doesn’t believe Aio’s launch is negatively impacted by AT&T’s Leap proposal. Both brands are predicted to coexist, showing segmentation of the mobile-services market and reflecting the demand for such services. Karpinski expects Aio will market itself toward “soccer moms and value-seeking techies” while Leap will pursue “a young/urban/ethnic demographic.”

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