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AT&T to go nationwide with prepaid Aio Wireless service

The phone giant takes on T-Mobile in the no-contract market, announcing it will push its prepaid network throughout the U.S. in mid-September.

Aio Wireless
AT&T is pushing more aggressively into the no-contract market, announcing Thursday that it's taking its prepaid network, Aio Wireless, nationwide in mid-September. The wireless service was first launched in May to customers in Florida, Texas, and Atlanta.

Aio has three plans to choose from, and they all include unlimited talk, text, and data. The service costs $40 to $70 a month, depending on the plan. New subscribers can get a free month of service if they sign up before September 29.

The announcement comes less than a week after smaller rival T-Mobile filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing Aio Wireless of trademark infringement over its use of the color magenta -- a shade of which happens to look a little too similar to its own traditional branding, according to T-Mobile.

T-Mobile accelerated its own no-contract strategy following its acquisition of MetroPCS, and AT&T appears eager to follow suit. Prepaid plans, which at one time appealed to lower-income consumers, now are drawing a wider swath of customers who are interested in more affordable options.