Walmart's already firmly entrenched in the prepaid cellular business, offering handsets and service via Common Cents (Sprint) and Straight Talk (Verizon Wireless), but according to Greg Hall, vice president of merchandising at Walmart US, there's a "perception among customers that prepaid service doesn't offer access to the best phones or the best network quality." In order to combat that, the outfit will be launching a new postpaid service today dubbed Walmart Family Mobile. The actual fine print is somewhat confusing, as it offers the best of both the pre- and postpaid worlds; users will still pay their monthly bill at the end of the month, but no subsidization will take place on the phones themselves due to this being a no-contract ordeal. It'll cost $45 per month for unlimited calling and texting for the first line, and $25 per month for every extra line; unfortunately, data will be a pricey addition at $40 per month for 1GB... but at least that rolls over each month in case you don't use it all. Initially, Wally World will offer five handsets, with the flagship phone being Motorola's Cliq XT at $249. Frankly, we aren't too impressed at what's on offer here -- get unlimited data bundled with calling and texting for the same $45 / month, then we'll talk.

Update: Official PR is now after the break, and that's a September 20th launch date, so next Monday.

Update 2: So, Walmart's PR team contacted us to flesh out the data plan details that the AP sort of glossed over. Thankfully, the full skinny is far more attractive than what we were led to believe. In short, each line comes with 100MB of data (one-time); after you use that up, you've got a trio of prepaid 'WebPak' options to keep you going. $10 buys you an extra 200MB, $25 gets you 500MB and $40 gets you 1GB. Good stuff!

[Thanks, Ksadd]
Show full PR text
Walmart Introduces Walmart Family Mobile Powered by T-Mobile,

Featuring the Lowest Priced Unlimited Talk and Text Wireless Family Plans

New Wireless Service Brand Offers a Family of Three Savings of Up to $1,200 Per Year

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Sept. 13, 2010 – To help families stay connected while saving money, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced it will launch Walmart Family Mobile™ 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¢ 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.

*Claim based on comparison against comparable post-paid unlimited talk and text family plans with three lines of service offered by AT&T and Verizon; does not include taxes and fees or cost of phone. Plan features, service limitations and requirements may vary among carriers. Data obtained from AT&T and Verizon websites as of Sept. 2010.

** The WebPakTM can be used to make international calls at 5¢ per minute to any mobile or landline number in Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, China (including Hong Kong), Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.


About Walmart

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), or "Walmart," serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine's 2009 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/Walmartnews. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.

About T-Mobile USA, Inc.
Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG. By the end of the second quarter of 2010, more than 130 million mobile customers were served by the mobile communication segments of the Deutsche Telekom group - 33.6 million by T-Mobile USA - all via a common technology platform based on GSM and UMTS, the world's most widely used digital wireless standards. T-Mobile USA's innovative wireless products and services help empower people to connect to those who matter most. Multiple independent research studies continue to rank T-Mobile among the highest in numerous regions throughout the U.S. in wireless customer care and call quality. For more information, please visit http://www.T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG.

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