Wal-Mart announced today that it is stepping forward in the wireless business and is going to offer cellular service branded with the Wal-Mart name. The service will run on T-Mobile’s network in the US and will be available in 2,500 Wal-Mart stores nationwide starting September 20th. As expected from a discount retail chain, the Family Mobile service will be inexpensive, offering unlimited calling and texting for $45 monthly for the first line and $25 for each additional line. Each Family Mobile plan will offer 100MB of data that is shared between handsets. Unused data never expires and additional WebPak data packs can be purchased from Wal-Mart stores or online.
Wal-Mart will offer this Family Mobile service with five handsets including the Motorola CLIQ XT which will cost $249 and a Nokia offering that will come in for a lowly $35. The service crosses the line between a postpaid and pre-paid offering by billing each customer on a monthly basis like a postpaid plan and by selling its handsets pre-paid-style with full retail prices, no contracts and no early termination fees. For those keeping track, Wal-Mart also offers plans for Sprint under the Common Cents brand and for Verizon Wireless under the Straight Talk name.
This Wal-Mart service launches a few months after Best Buy launched its own MVNO broadband service under the Best Buy Connect name. While Wal-Mart’s offering runs on T-Mobile, Best Buy’s broadband service runs on Sprint’s network. Both services allow cellular providers to extend their reach without investing in new stores and other costly marketing initiatives. Likewise, it allows big box retailers the opportunity to offer cellular services with their own branding without building out their own network.
For those interested in this Wal-Mart venture, more information will be available at Wal-Mart’s Family Mobile website later this week and the full press release is available after the break.
Walmart Introduces Walmart Family Mobile Powered by T-Mobile, Featuring the Lowest Priced Unlimited Talk and Text Wireless Family Plans
3:01p ET September 13, 2010 (PR NewsWire)
To help families stay connected while saving money, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced it will launch Walmart Family Mobile(TM) powered by T-Mobile, a new brand of post-paid cell phone service that offers the best value for unlimited talk and text. Walmart Family Mobile is a new monthly post-paid plan available without a contract or multi-year commitment, and offers a family of three savings of up to $1,200 per year compared to the leading national unlimited talk and text plans*. 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.
Walmart Family Mobile was designed with families in mind, and offers the easiest, most affordable way to enjoy high-quality post-paid service. Every line has Unlimited Talk & Text, so customers can be assured of no surprise overages when they receive their bill each month. The first line of service is just $45 per month, and each additional line is only $25 per month. In addition, Walmart Family Mobile has phones for the whole family from Samsung, Motorola and Nokia, including phones with the Android Operating System, QWERTY keyboard, touch screens and other features. Since there is no annual contract, customers can upgrade anytime by purchasing a new handset with no extra fees or contract commitment.
“Walmart Family Mobile makes it more affordable to build meaningful relationships with family and friends so that even when budgets are limited, time spent communicating with loved ones isn’t,” said Greg Hall, vice president of merchandising, Walmart U.S. “This plan provides families with the flexibility to connect with each other without surprise charges and with the added benefit of one of the most trusted wireless network providers.”
“Walmart is known for great value and we’re pleased to offer our robust network of nationwide coverage for Walmart Family Mobile,” said Jim Alling, Chief Operations Officer, T-Mobile USA. “This new service is an innovative approach, offering post-paid customers a low-cost alternative for unlimited voice, messaging, web and inexpensive international calling.”
Data plans are also easy and affordable with Walmart Family Mobile. Activated accounts come with a free preloaded 100MB WebPakTM — which provides access to the internet — for every line of service. The WebPakTM is shared among all lines on an account and unused data never expires. Additional WebPakTM refill cards are purchased upfront in stores or online at www.walmart.com/familymobile, ensuring there are no overage fees or monthly data fees. The WebPakTM can also be used to make international calls to several countries for as low as 5 cents per minute**, as well as download ringtones, games and other apps.
More information about Walmart Family Mobile will be available later this week online at www.walmart.com/familymobile.