Verizon’s Straight Talk upgrades plans to include Walmart+

Straight Talk, the Verizon prepaid brand sold exclusively in Walmart stores, is now offering a Walmart+ membership with its Gold and Platinum-tiered plans. 

The Gold and Platinum levels already offer unlimited 5G data, hotspot and cloud storage, so the Walmart+ benefits are on top of that. Walmart+ bonuses include free shipping, home delivery of groceries, fuel savings, early access to holiday deals and Paramount+.

Verizon Value President Angie Klein cited stats showing that last year, the average American spent about $1,300 on holiday-related purchases while the average Walmart+ member saves about $1,300 per year.

“The biggest gift you can give yourself is switching to Straight Talk,” she told Fierce. “It continues to add value to our excellent wireless plans.”

Unlike Verizon’s Visible prepaid brand, there’re no $25/single line plan for Straight Talk; the unlimited data plans start at $45/month. The Gold plan with Walmart+ starts at $55/month for a single line and the Platinum plan with Walmart+ is $65/month for one line.

On Wednesday, Verizon’s Visible brand came out punching with a new ad aimed at Metro by T-Mobile and featuring the actor and director Jason Alexander. Metro responded with an open letter addressed to Alexander explaining what sets Metro apart.

Buying TracFone in 2021 propelled Verizon in the prepaid wireless business, giving it more than 23 million prepaid connections. But it’s been steadily losing prepaid connections since then – to the tune of more than 1 million.  

Walmart is popular

The Walmart+ launch follows the recent introduction of Straight Talk family plans with four lines with unlimited data as low as $25/month per line. Verizon is also launching a larger ad campaign featuring actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan talking to Walmart shoppers. Other new marketing moves are planned throughout the fourth quarter.

Klein acknowledged that a lot of carriers are in Walmart today. Metro by T-Mobile came in about a year or so ago. More recently, MobileX, the Verizon-powered MVNO founded by Peter Adderton, announced an exclusive deal with Walmart.

But she said Straight Talk remains the top brand by a wide margin. “Straight Talk is the absolute biggest prepaid brand in Walmart. It will remain so. We are confident in that. We have a great partnership with Walmart,” she said.

Verizon also launched Straight Talk’s home internet service in some Walmart stores last year; it’s not in all Walmart stores because the fixed wireless access (FWA) service is only offered in certain geographic areas. Those areas will be expanding as Verizon continues to deploy more 5G using its C-band spectrum.

Another prepaid brand in Verizon’s arsenal is Total by Verizon, which is expanding and opening more stores across the country, but it’s doing that in more urban-focused areas where it’s going head-to-head with AT&T’s Cricket and Metro by T-Mobile. Walmart stores tend to be in more suburban and rural areas as opposed to core downtown areas.

Verizon Value manages a total of 11 prepaid brands, nine of which were acquired through TracFone; the other two are Verizon Prepaid and Visible. “They all play a slightly different role in the portfolio,” Klein said.

That said, Verizon is no longer putting a lot of energy into the Net10, Page Plus and GoSmart brands, which are gradually being phased out. Straight Talk is the No. 1 prepaid brand, and the Total and Visible brands are where the growth is happening.