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Wal-Mart to Offer Contract-free Cell Phone Plans

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 46 comments

Wal-Mart to use Verizon for cell phone network.

Signing up for a mobile phone contract is often a commitment that can last years. Sure, there's always pay-as-you-go plans, but you never get the same sort of service as those offered for prepaid, contractual agreements.

Enter Wal-Mart, the American fixture to providing goods to the everyman. Wal-Mart has announced that it will be offering its own wireless plans, completely contract-free, called Straight Talk.

Straight Talk will launch at 3,200 Walmart stores nationwide starting October 18, 2009 with two prepaid plans at $30 and $45 a month.

* Straight Talk “All You Need” 30-day Plan that includes the following for only $30 a month:

o 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 30MB of mobile web access

o Nationwide coverage

o 411 Information calls at no extra charge

* Straight Talk’s Unlimited 30-day Plan that includes the following for $45 a month:

o Unlimited minutes, unlimited text and unlimited mobile web access

o Nationwide coverage

o Unlimited 411 Information calls at no extra charge

According to Nielsen Mobile Bill Panel data, the average U.S. adult spends $78 on his or her cell phone bill to receive 1000 minutes a month.

"It has been very encouraging to see the excitement and response to the Straight Talk pilot in 234 stores that began last summer at Walmart,” said Greg Hall, vice president of Media Services, Walmart U.S. “In light of the savings customers continue to need, we have worked very quickly to extend this offering to all of our Walmart customers nationwide, and just before the holidays.”

While we're excited by a $45 plan that offers unlimited minutes, texts, and web access, the selection of phones are rather unexciting: from the entry-level LG 220 flip phone at $39.98, to the LG Slider 290 at $79.98 to the Samsung 451 QWERTY keyboard phone at $99.88.

Unfortunately, Straight Talk does not support GSM phones, so forget migrating your unlocked iPhone over to Wal-Mart. On the flip side, Straight Talk runs off of Verizon's network, meaning that if you get good coverage on that CDMA network, you'll get good service with Wal-Mart.

This thread is closed for comments
  • 6 Hide
    one-shot , October 15, 2009 5:14 PM
    I hope I can use my Verizon phone with the plan.
  • 5 Hide
    Kaiser_25 , October 15, 2009 5:14 PM
    Sounds like a pretty decient deal, if their coverage is good they might be on to something...all they need is to get badass phones and they are set.
  • 5 Hide
    yang , October 15, 2009 5:20 PM
    45 dollars for all that!? god I hate canadian plans
  • Display all 46 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    rooket , October 15, 2009 5:22 PM

    El_Capitan 10/15/2009 7:04 PM
    Insert quote. Report --1+

    Why "Straight Talk"? Are they trying to say other plans are "Gay"? I fold my hand to them.

    I would say that other plans are.
  • 7 Hide
    Platypus , October 15, 2009 5:28 PM
    Uh-oh. Looks like the phone giants will have to start charging humane prices now. No more gouging the masses with this kind of competition.

    Okay, so the phones aren't great, but these prices are pretty nice compared to what Sprint was offering last year. Same plan for $100 per month and a 2 year contract. Ouch.

    "Hello. Welcome to Wal-Mart. Get your sh*t and get out!"
  • 3 Hide
    cknobman , October 15, 2009 5:45 PM
    Straight talk sounds straight up my alley.

    F_ck the gay ass plans from carriers WalMart brings the price down like always.
  • -7 Hide
    akhodjaev , October 15, 2009 6:01 PM
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , October 15, 2009 6:04 PM
    Boost Mobile has a similar unlimited deal for $50/mth. Other pre-paid companies are coming up with unlimited plans as well. It's certainly a refreshing trend. Now they just need to let you use any compatible phone you want instead of limiting you to their mediocre selection.
  • 7 Hide
    Montezuma , October 15, 2009 7:35 PM
    techguy378Even though the Walmart cell phone service uses Verizon's network it is NOT Verizon branded cell phone service. The two are completely separate. In other words this is not the same as the relationship between Boost Mobile and Sprint Nextel.As for the iPhone, there will never, ever be a CDMA version since Verizon will never allow the phone on their network. Simply put, if you want an iPhone you have to have AT&T service. Thankfully Apple has FINALLY prevented jailbreaking. People should not be allowed to use phones from one carrier on a different carrier's network since this can cause major headaches on the carrier's network.

    You are not in any place to tell someone how, when, or where to use their phones. Chances are Apple will get tired of screwing with AT&T's crap network and offer a CDMA and GSM phone. Hell, they might even offer a PCS(CDMA) phone for Sprint, if they are offered a better deal.

    As far as "jailbreaking"...I will do whatever I wish with the phone I purchase. iPhone owners are paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars to own the damned phone and they have the right to do with it as they please. If I want to submerge it in water, dip it in concrete, light it on fire, or blow the phone up, I am within my legal right to do so.

    I can install anything I want on the device, and I can alter the software already on the device. If you cannot deal with that, then I suggest that you quit being a little bitch "fanboy".
  • 2 Hide
    thearm , October 15, 2009 8:29 PM
    WalMart is great. I love how they shake up the market with deals for us.
  • 1 Hide
    Regulas , October 15, 2009 8:38 PM
    About time, hope contracts go the way of the dinosaur, if so prices will fall much faster.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 15, 2009 9:20 PM
    I pay verizon 45 a month per phone for no data and 900 minutes. Thank you wal-mart.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 15, 2009 9:22 PM
    Hell yeah!!! I'm sure that they'll get more phones, but that is unbeatable. Kind of like what Virgin Mobile is doing, selling Sprint cellular service for half of what Sprint was selling it for, prepaid with no contract. Smart people were ditching Sprint for Virgin, plus Sprint has the most god-awful, annoying and harassing customer service in the industry, whereas Virgin has some of the best.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 15, 2009 10:00 PM
    chainsaw667I pay verizon 45 a month per phone for no data and 900 minutes. Thank you wal-mart.

    Verizon just lost their ass on this one. As soon as this goes gold, I'm switching. I've been out of contract for a little over a year now, but if I can get unlimited everything much cheaper than I'm currently getting barely anything, I'm jumping head first.
  • 0 Hide
    nachowarrior , October 15, 2009 10:08 PM
    \/erizon seriously needs to get their $hit togeather. they suck. terribly. I wish it were companies with pricing plans similar to re\/ol and the ability to use ANY phone that were the rule rather than a locked down DRM ridden crap-network like \/erizon. The only good thing \/erizon e\/er did was fios...
  • -1 Hide
    CoryInJapan , October 15, 2009 10:11 PM
    Sweet guess its finnnaly time for me to get a cell phone...Im 20 years old and have never had my own cell by choice..Mainly because I never had the luxery of my parents paying for my phone as a teenager so time I got a Job I didnt want to waist money on a cell phone when it could go twards games weed or PC parts.Looks like that 45 dollar plan fits my needs.
  • 0 Hide
    abbadon_34 , October 16, 2009 2:15 AM
    This will be the first time I have ever shopped at Wal-Mart. My Verizon contract just happens to up for renewal ...

    Now lets hope they don't cripple their phone like Verizon
  • -1 Hide
    okibrian , October 16, 2009 2:33 AM
    techguy378As for the iPhone, there will never, ever be a CDMA version since Verizon will never allow the phone on their network.

    Ahhhh, but they do. It's just they are only sold in Japan.
  • 0 Hide
    spazebar , October 16, 2009 3:10 AM
    This is going to be huge I think. Because nobody could push something to as many consumers and get as much penetration as Walmart. What do you think the chance is that they're going to be losing money on the service? Maybe they'll be trying to make a profit of the periphery purchases. And if it's half as big as I think it's gonna be the big boys are gonna have to respond to avoid bleeding out to much.
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