Wal-Mart and T-Mobile have had their unlimited talk and text plan for families in place for a while, but today they are expanding it to include unlimited access to the Internet, too. This makes T-Mobile one of the first carriers to have a shared data option for families, albeit you’ll have to shop at Wal-Mart to get it.
Wal-Mart brands the plan as FamilyMobile and it includes unlimited talk, text, and web for a very reasonable price. The first line is only $45 and each additional line is an extra $35. That means families of two would pay $80 per month, families of three would pay $115 per month, families of four would pay $150, and families of five would pay $185. Some carriers — *cough* AT&T *cough* — easily charge nearly the same price for talk, text, and web for one person that you’d pay for a family of three with Wal-Mart and T-Mobile.
Oh, but there is a catch. You will get unlimited data for families included in the plan, but it’s not as fast as one might hope. Families get access to T-Mobile’s 3G network for the first 250MB of usage. Then, for the rest of the month, you are forced to mosey along on 2G speeds. If you are in a family of five, you’ll probably drop to 2G speed within a week. Plus, you can completely forget about any HSDPA+. (Editor’s note: It should be noted that the plans provide 250 MB of data per line, so it will likely take you longer to go through that. Additionally, new activations until March 16 will get the first 5 GB of data per line up to 3G speeds until March 31.)
Though Wal-Mart and T-Mobile’s unlimited talk, text, and web plan is still a good value, if you want to shop around other carriers for shared data plans, Sprint has its Everything Data Family plan and Verizon Wireless is shooting for a 2012 release. AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega recently commented that the carrier is “still working on” its offering.