Most wireless customers are familiar with the big-name brands in Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Relatively few buyers, though, are as well-versed when it comes to the topic of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO).
It might surprise you to know that companies like MetroPCS, Boost Mobile, and Cricket Wireless operate on the T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T networks, respectively. These network operators license the towers and coverage from the tier-one providers and offer their own phones, rate plans, and customer service.
Walmart Family Mobile is one such MVNO worth closer inspection. Yes, that Walmart.
Using T-Mobile’s network for its service, Walmart Family Mobile is a service provider that exists almost virtually. While you cannot go into a dedicated Walmart Family Mobile store, customers can pay for their service at Walmart locations. Moreover, if you go to Walmart’s website, you can shop for phones and SIM cards.
PODCAST: What is an MVNO?
Given that it does employ T-Mobile’s network, it does allow for customers to use their own devices. If you’ve already purchased an unlocked GSM phone, chances are good it will work just fine with Walmart Family Mobile. Those which might be locked to other carriers, however, may need to be unlocked before making the switch.
Keeping things nice and simple is the name of the game here. There are currently four rate plans to choose from, all of which stay under $50 per month. As one might expect, each comes with its own amount of data.
- $24.88 per month – Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of 4G LTE data; throttled to 2G after)
- $29.88 per month – Unlimited Talk and Text with 3GB of 4G LTE data; throttled to 2G after)
- $39.88 per month – Unlimited Talk and Text with 14GB of 4G LTE data; throttled to 2G after)
- $49.88 per month – Unlimited Talk and Text with ‘Unlimited’ 4G LTE data; does not include tethering and may be throttled after 32GB
Customers interested in family plans or multiple lines can do so for $24.88 per line. Doing so gives the second line add the same amount of data. Indeed, you can currently get unlimited data for two lines for a total of $75 per month. In essence, it’s the $49.88 plan plus the $24.88. There is a limit of five lines per account through Walmart Family Mobile.
Save each month
If you qualify for SNAP, Medicaid, or other social assistance programs, you are probably eligible for the “Lifeline” Financial Assistance. Should you be approved you’ll save $9.25 on your bill each month.
Taking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through Walmart Family Mobile we find familiar names from brands like LG, Samsung, and HTC. Dig deeper and there are also devices from the likes of Alcatel and ZTE, too.
The selection itself is a mixed bag, but it does tend to skew more toward affordability versus power. With that said, there’s nothing wrong with what’s available and some of the phones were once top-tier flagships not that long ago.
Don’t forget, you can also bring your own GSM phone so be sure to look around at places like Amazon, B&H, or Best Buy. You may find something better or more in line with your needs.
SIM Card kits are available in both standard/micro and nano packages. Typical retail pricing is $25 for those; however, they are often discounted. As of today Walmart has them for just $.99 each.