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Walmart Family Mobile

*Est. $45 per month and up
Reviewed
December 2012
by ConsumerSearch

Pros
  • Inexpensive, unlimited monthly plans
  • Advanced phones available
  • Works with most unlocked phones
  • Families can share a data plan
Cons
  • Data costs extra
  • Little customer feedback

Bottom Line

Walmart Family Mobile lives up to its name, providing a solid plan that family members can share. The service has not yet amassed much customer feedback, but experts find it promising as it uses the T-Mobile network. You actually pay for this no-contract monthly service at the end of the month (so it's not really prepaid), but it behaves like a no-surprises prepaid plan with no credit check. Reviews are still more likely to recommend more established services like Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk (*Est. $35 per month and up) for those who want an advanced prepaid phone.

Breaking It Down

Plans and Flexibility

Only one plan, but the whole family can use it. PC World's reviewer highlights that Walmart's plan operates on the T-Mobile network, and its prices undercut those of the bigger carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Walmart Family Mobile offers just one plan but it can be shared among family members. The basic plan provides unlimited talk and text and web, starting at $45 for a single line. Each additional line costs $35 extra per month, and a one-time starter pack (*Est. $25) is required for each line. The plan includes 250 MB of shared web space at 3G speeds, and you can buy an optional WebPak that you can share among all family members, with data that never expires. The reviewer at Phandroid points out that T-Mobile's definition of "unlimited" comes with some fine print attached. Families can only enjoy up to 250MB of shared data with full 3G speeds and once they hit their monthly allotment, it's all 2G from there.

Performance

Uses the T-Mobile network. The T-Mobile wireless service receives above-average ratings in reviews, but we didn't find any credible reviews about the performance of the Walmart Family Mobile cell phone service.

Customer service

Not yet reviewed. We didn't find any credible reviews about the customer service of the Walmart Family Mobile carrier.

Phone Selection

Only a handful. Walmart Family Mobile offers a small selection of phones, just five of them priced from $30 to $175. Two of the phones are Android smartphones. You can also bring your own phone: Walmart Family Mobile operates on the T-Mobile network, so you can use it with any unlocked GSM phone (compatible with the AT&T and T-Mobile networks) for a $25 activation fee.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Review Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org's Jeff Blyskal talks more about Walmart Family Mobile in this blog post, evaluating its rates, phone selection and other features.

Review: Why Walmart Family Mobile May Be Worth a Look, Jeff Blyskal, Sept. 16, 2010

2. Phandroid.com

Review Credibility: Good Chavez reports on Walmart's press release about its new Family Mobile plan, in which it offers unlimited talk, text and web for $45 a month. However, he points out that T-Mobile, Walmart's service provider, does impose some limitations on their Unlimited plans.

Review: Walmart Introduces New Contract Free Family Plan from T-Mobile -- Unlimited Talk, Text and Web for $45, Chris Chavez, Jan. 18, 2012

3. PC World

Review Credibility: Good Cassavoy reports that Walmart's Family Mobile service offers decent discounts but has some drawbacks. She highlights that Walmart's plan operates on the T-Mobile network, and that its prices undercut those of the bigger carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless. However, the phones are expensive and there is no unlimited data plan.

Review: Walmart's Mobile Service: Do the Numbers Add Up?, Liane Cassavoy, Sept. 14, 2010

4. Walmart.com

Review Credibility: Fair Over 35 customers have reviewed Walmart's Family Mobile activation service. Most give it 5 stars and report no problems, but some highlight poor signals and other problems.

Review: Family Mobile SIM Card & Activation Kit, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of December 2012

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