Walmart announced Monday that it will jump head-on into the cellphone business with its own, branded wireless plan.
The new postpaid plan, called Walmart Family Mobile, will be available starting next week without a contract, and is, honestly, a really good deal.
Walmart is a veteran in the cellphone market with its two prepaid plans: Common Cents, which operates on the Sprint network, and Straight Talk, which operates on the Verizon network. Walmart Family Mobile will operate on the T-Mobile USA network, the company said in a statement.
The new plan features unlimited calling and texting for $US45 per month for the first line, and $25 per month for each additional line. The plan is "postpaid," which means customers will pay their bill at the end of the month, but does not require a contract so no early termination fees apply.
According to the vice president of merchandising at Walmart, Greg Hall, there's a "perception among customers that prepaid service doesn't offer access to the best phones or the best network quality," and the "postpaid" plan is the best way to avoid this stigma. Basically, it looks like the best of both worlds -- no early termination fees or credit checks, and no running out of minutes because you forgot to top off.
The Walmart Family Mobile plan will be offered starting next week, and will feature at least five phones -- including the Motorola Cliq XT for $249 (that's $80 less than T-Mobile's contract-less price), all the way down to a basic Nokia phone for $35.
Unfortunately, while the Cliq is a fully equipped smartphone, the Walmart Family Mobile plan is not a fully equipped smartphone plan. Data is actually rather pricey --each new line comes with 100MB of data, but more than that will cost you: $10 for an additional 200MB, $25 for an additional 500MB, and $40 for an additional 1GB of data. Unused data never expires, if that helps.
So yeah, if you're a modern data fiend this is definitely not the plan for you (it's 100MB of initial data, by the way, not 100MB per month). But if you're just looking for a good phone that makes calls and sends text messages, it might be worth looking into.