AT&T to roll out a nationwide, no-contract service called Aio

AT&T's Aio wireless service to become available to all US customers, amidst protests from rival service provider T-Mobile.

Mary Altaffer/ AP Photo/ File
T-Mobile CEO John Legere speaks during news conference in New York in July 2013. T-Mobile challenged Aio Wireless' use of the color magenta in advertisements announcing Aio's expanding US coverage program.

AT&T's Aio Wireless is introducing a new no-contract wireless plan. Starting mid-September, Aio will expand its offering from Florida, Texas, Chicago, and the Metro-Atlanta area, to include the rest of the United States, according to a Thursday announcement from AT&T. 

The service will continue to offer three plans, which include unlimited talk, text, and data with 4G LTE. The plans range in cost from $40 to $70 per month, including taxes and fees. Aio lets users activate their mobile devices or tablets in stores or online.  

Seems straight-forward enough, right? Well, here's the odd part of Aio's new expanded coverage plan:

T-Mobile is suing AT&T for trademark infringement. To summarize a 20-page civil action suit: T-Mobile says Aio co-opted the color magenta. 

“Out of all of the colors in the universe,” AT&T chose – not purple, not pink – magenta, as Aio’s company color, according to the complaint T-Mobile’s lawyers filed.

“AT&T’s subsidiary’s use of magenta to attract T-Mobile customers is likely to dilute T-Mobile’s famous magenta color trademark, and to create initial confusion as to the source or affiliation of AT&T’s subsidiary’s business,” the complaint continues. Forbes did a thorough analysis – complete with Photoshop images – of the two companies' shades of magenta, and came to the conclusion that the two pink-purple colors are different, though on the same spectrum. 

It's not entirely clear how T-Mobile v. Aio Wireless will unfold, but in the meantime, Aio wireless' expanding coverage plan will add some healthy competition to the month-to-month wireless plan market, even if Aio's choice of company colors are held in question.

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