Wal-Mart today announced its Wal-Mart Family Mobile plan that will run on T-Mobile’s network with unlimited calling and texting for $45 a month post-paid, but with no contract or credit check.
Of course it was only a matter of time before the world’s largest retailer moved into this space using the Wal-Mart brand. Wal-Mart started selling pre-paid plans last year on Verizon and also is testing on Sprint as well.
So. Much. Tech.
Some of the biggest names in tech are coming to TNW Conference in Amsterdam this May.
However, Wal-Mart is now basically co-opting T-Mobile’s Family Plans into its own brand (users can add additional lines for family, like on T-Mobile) and is actually cheaper than what T-Mobile sells the same plans for. Obviously, T-Mobile wanted the distribution and was willing to take a hit on its margin to get that distribution.
As far as why the plan is post-paid, the AP reports that,
“Greg Hall, vice president of merchandising at Wal-Mart U.S., said there’s a perception among customers that prepaid service doesn’t offer access to the best phones or the best network quality. He said the postpaid nature of the plan is a way to avoid that.”
Wal-Mart will sell phones starting at $35 for the plan, as well as the Motorola Cliq XT for $249, which is cheaper than it is on T-Mobile. All of the phones will be locked to Wal-Mart Family Mobile, and won’t even work on T-Mobile. All of this is very interesting and we’ll certainly be tracking how this new branded plan works. One last thing on data: according to the AP:
“There will also be a prepaid component to the service: extra charges for data use and international calls will come from a prepaid account, pooled for the whole family. For instance, one gigabyte of data usage will cost $40. By comparison, AT&T’s contract customers pay $25 per month for 2 gigabytes of usage, but the data allowance doesn’t carry over from month to month the way Wal-Mart’s will.”
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