Walmart wants a piece of the cell phone plan market. The company will be competing against itself, so to speak. Walmart offers plans already through AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Oddly enough the Walmart Family Mobile Plan will run on T-Mobile USA?s network. Sounds like they?ve pulled off a deal where they can have their cake and eat it too.
The move is an attempt to boost Walmart?s position as a low-cost provider of wireless services. Their new inexpensive cell phones plans are expected to come with a flat monthly fee, instead of a long-term contract. Cost? $45 per month with unlimited calls and texting. An additional phone line adds $25 to the bill. You?ll get 100 megabytes free. If that?s not enough, for $10 add another 200. Big users can opt in with $25 for 500 megabytes or $40 for 1,000.
What you see is what you get price-wise for the phone itself. The price of the phone, is the price of the phone. No small print indicating that special pricing only applies "with a new two year contract."
Jim Alling, chief operations officer for T-Mobile USA says of the new relationship: "We came up with the ability to leverage each others strengths. Walmart is great at purchasing.[read Made-in-China]. We have relationships with the device providers."
Those phones on the Walmart plan include a range of handset devices, including the Nokia 1661 for $34.96, touted to be user-friendly with an FM radio, a flashlight, and auto redial. It?s available on the Nokia website for $33.
The only smartphone on the plan is the Motorola Cliq XT with 3G Internet for $249. Suggested retail on the Motorola site is $329 with $190 off for signing the ubiquitous service contract, and if you order on the Internet, they?ll drop another $139 ? so essentially the phone is "Free".
Mr. Alling promises that new devices for the Walmart plan are on the horizon. For now, you must chose from what is available as of launch day, September 20.