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Wal-Mart introduces contract-free postpaid plans

When we talk about prepaid we normally mean services that require users to pay for service before they use it. This allows the provider to avoid running a credit check, which is a major hindrance for some potential customers. A cell phone contract is in reality a line of credit, since customers use the service before receiving a bill at the end of the month. But Walmart is going to do things differently. Yesterday they announced an unlimited postpaid calling plan that will rival the services it already sells.

The plan, dubbed Walmart Family Mobile, will provide unlimited voice, unlimited text, and 100MB of data per month. It will cost $45 for the first line and $25 for each additional line. Any unused data from the initial 100MB will roll over from month-to-month. Users can also purchase additional data: $10 for 200MB, $25 for 500MB, or $40 for 1GB. Any unused data from an add-on purchase will not roll over. Service will run on the T-Mobile network.

Here’s the strange part: Walmart will collect on the service at the end of the month, but won’t require a contract or credit check to qualify. In other words, they’re essentially extending customers a line of credit without checking on their ability to pay up. That seems like a risky proposal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this changed if Walmart ends up getting stiffed on a number of bills. It almost seems inevitable.

Walmart Family Mobile will compete directly with Straight Talk, a service offered only online and at Walmart stores and which runs on the Verizon network. That also costs $45 and provides unlimited talk and text, but also has unlimited data. There is also a $30 plan, apparently the more popular of the two, that provides 1,000 minutes, 1,000 messages, and 30MB of data.

Starting on September 20 you can try Walmart Family Mobile at one of 2,500 stores, or at

5 Responses

  1. Rosie Says

    It all sounds good but my husband and I vowed to go cash only to get out of debt and we’re nearly there…this Wal-Mart deal STILL means a bill at the end of the month! Our service from Tracfone is great…double the minutes we pay for when we buy airtime…free incoming texts..overseas calls at the same rate as local and national coverage with no roaming fees and cool smart-phones too!

    Posted on September 20th, 2010 at 8:16 am
  2. More details on the Walmart Family Mobile plan | Prepaid Reviews Says

    [...] what might have been the biggest prepaid wireless announcement of the year. It’s not that Walmart Family Mobile in an intensely good plan, though it does have its merits. Rather, it’s because of the fact [...]

    Posted on September 20th, 2010 at 8:31 am
  3. JmS Says

    This would be really exciting if they were using AT&T and not T-Mobile’s network. I’m looking for a prepaid SIM that would be cheaper than the most expensive AT&T prepaid plans to use with an iPhone, and I’m tired of keeping my iPhone unlocked for T-Mobile.

    This plan would have been the best.

    Posted on September 23rd, 2010 at 9:52 pm
  4. Jim Says

    I thought I could save some money by switching my cell phone service from Sprint to Wal Mart’s new Family Mobile plan. Bought three new Samsung T369 cell phones and activation kits from Wal Mart. With unlimited voice and text service at $45 / month for the first phone and then $25 / month for each additional phone for the service I would save money compared to my Sprint plan.

    But, after purchasing the phones and trying to port my existing three cell phone numbers over I was told that since only two of the phones have the same area code only those two phones can be on the same plan. The third pay phone number is in a different area code and must then have its own service plan at $45 / month.

    Now I have two plans and pay $45 / month for one phone plus $25 / month for the second phone. But I must pay $45 / month for the third phone with the different area code. My savings has evaporated.

    Beware of Wal Mart Family Mobile if you wish to have multiple phones on a plan and they do not all have the same area code.

    Posted on December 12th, 2010 at 11:02 pm
  5. kejeon Says

    Stay away from it!
    I thought the SIM card would have same coverage as TMO’s, but IT IS NOT!
    This SIM card has bad reception in most areas with trees or buildings, which TMO’s and ATT’s SIM works fine.
    And the company will charge you the full month rate for the last bill, even I only used like 5 days. They will charge you additional $5 for processing the final bill just because your account was deactivated. And you have to deactivate your account to stop the service!

    So, I have to pay about $90 for two lines’ 5 days usage.

    Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 7:28 pm

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