Data Not Cheap Under Walmart's New Family Wireless Plans
Walmart has announced its Walmart Family Mobile powered by T-Mobile, a branded post-paid cell phone service that offers unlimited talk and text.
Customers can add prepaid data that can be shared among family members. Activated accounts come preloaded with 100 megabytes of data and refill "cards" can be purchased at a Walmart location or online. Data does not expire, but 100 megabytes could be used up quickly by one line alone. The good news is that once data is consumed, refills must be purchased, so unexpected overage charges are impossible.
The bad news is that data won't come cheap at Walmart. Additional data will be priced at $10 for 200 megabytes, $25 for 500 megabytes, or $40 for one gigabyte. Compared to AT&T's two gigabytes for $25 per month and T-Mobile's $30 per month for unlimited data, Walmart has added a big premium for data.
The data allotment can also be used to make international calls at five cents per minute using a VoIP service to Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
Under Family Mobile, the first line costs $45 and each additional line is $25 for unlimited talk and text. Initially, Walmart will offer five phones from Samsung, Motorola and Nokia, including Android phones, touchscreen phones, and Qwerty keyboard equipped phones.
Phone prices will be less than those at other providers and will start at $35. For instance, the Motorola Cliq XT is $349 at T-Mobile on its prepaid plan, while the same phone will be offered at $249 at Walmart.
Since there is no annual contract, customers can upgrade at any time, according to a Walmart statement.
Walmart says a family of three can save up to $1,200 per year compared with unlimited talk and text plans at AT&T and Verizon . T-Mobile offers an unlimited talk and text for two lines without a contract for $100 a month and is currently running a promotion that offers up to three additional lines at no charge. That's a savings of $60 per year on the plan plus any savings on the phones.
The service will be provided by T-Mobile over its nationwide network, and will be sold exclusively by Walmart in nearly 2,500 stores starting Sept. 20.