Walmart launches own-brand mobile service
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has entered the US mobile market with a low-priced mobile plan under its own brand.
The US-based retailer, known for its aggressive pricing, has unveiled Walmart Family Mobile, an unlimited talk and text plan that will launch on September 20.
It costs $45 (€35) per month for the first line, and $25 per month for each extra line, but there is no contract or early termination fees.
Phones available will range from a $35 Nokia feature phone to the Motorola Cliq, which will cost $249 at Walmart compared to the $329 T-Mobile charges without a contract, AP said.
Walmart is operating the service as a MVNO over T-Mobile's network, undercutting T-Mobile's own retail offerings. Walmart said the plan can save consumers up to $1,200 per year compared to the leading unlimited talk and text plans.
Verizon charges almost $90 for a similar plan, while AT&T charges around $70.
But unlike voice and text, mobile data is limited and comparatively pricey. A Walmart spokesperson told Gizmodo that data can be purchased in packs ranging from $10 for 200MB to $40 per 1GB, and the unused data will never expire. This credit can also be used to make international calls for as low as 5 cents per minute.
T-Mobile offers unlimited data for $30 per month, while AT&T charges $25 per month for 2GB.
The service will be sold exclusively through nearly 2,500 Walmart stores.
Walmart is also the exclusive distributor of the Straight Talk service, which uses Verizon Wireless' network, and is trialing a service using Sprint Nextel's network called Common Cents.