AT&T Introduces No-Contract Wireless Plans: Should You Care?

No-contract plans for mobile phone service have been a hit for MVNO carriers like Virgin Mobile, and T-Mobile has made all of their plans (technically) contract-free. Now AT&T has joined the cool kids club with their own contract-free offering, called Aio Wireless. Could it be the right carrier for you?

Only if you live in Orlando, Tampa, or Houston: those are the first three cities where the service is launching. If it works, it will spread nationwide later in 2014. The plans are pretty simple: for people who don’t need or want smartphones, there’s the $40/month Aio Basic plan. Smartphone plans run $55 and $70 for options that begin throttling your data to a crawl at 2 GB or 7 GB. Competitor T-Mobile charges $70 and theoretically doesn’t throttle at all.

The priciest phone available for Aio customers is an iPhone for $650, and you have the option to pay off devices over a 12-month period.

AT&T Aio Wireless no-contract cell service: What you need to know [Consumer Reports]