Look Out Ma Bell Here’s…Wal-Mart

By  |  Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Today, Wal-Mart announced that it is becoming a wireless provider. The retail giant is offering an “unlimited” no-contact cell phone service for $45, and a metered plan for $30.

While there is no contract, customers must purchase an eligible phone. Wal-Mart is offering an entry-level LG 220 flip phone at $39.98, an LG Slider 290 at $79.98, and the Samsung 451 QWERTY keyboard phone at $99.88. Minutes may be added to phones at its stores or via the Web.

As a technophile, it’s tempting for me to point out the short comings of those devices. There are only a few stock applications available, and unlimited data on a flip phone does not translate to the same experience that I have surfing the Web on my iPhone. But that does not matter, because the people who would buy these phones wouldn’t care.

Last year, my family bought my 90-year-old grandfather a pre-paid cell phone from Best Buy. I’m not sure what brand it is, but it was one of a few options that I usually see at mall kiosks. The Wal-Mart brand is much stronger than any of those, and we probably would have bought a phone from it if we had the option.

It’s also an economical choice for families with shoestring budgets. Leading wireless companies provide family plans, but they aren’t cheap, and usually require a commitment. AT&T even charges parents that want to place restrictions on their kids’ usage. A pre-paid plan doesn’t require families to purchase much more than what they want to pay for.

Whether Wal-Mart becomes a viable wireless company or not is up to the market, but its track record is pretty solid. Wal-Mart rapidly became the largest grocery store in the United States after all, and it has more locations than other pre-paid wireless companies. Im guessing it’ll do well.

 
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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Tech Says:

    Walmart is not to be underestimated. I bet they do well with the mobile phones.

  2. Maryjane Says:

    The article’s point on. This phone is not for Wallstreet executives, but then how many of them are left to begin with? This is a simple and very well targeted response to a market that needs to provide better deals because users just can’t afford bells and whistles anymore! StraighTalk is a smart solution. For $45 a month and unlimited text-n-talk the pre-paid plan appeals to people like me, out of a job for a year and trying to cut corners while maintaining as much of the luxuries I’m accustomed as I can. About six months ago it became very clear to me that AT&T was gouging me on my iPhone, and that I didn’t need all that connectivity to try to look from work from my PC. I got the StraighTalk for my daughter and my self. We are saving close to $100 a month and I pay as I go without the shackles of a two year contract to extort money that I no longer have. Bravo StraighTalk and Well Done Walmart!

  3. Tania Says:

    MaryJane, good for you – and welcome to the club! I’ve had Straight Talk since May, when I got it online. The plan was $30 for 1000 calls, 1000 text and data. Now they come out with this awesome new $45 unlimited plan, available at Walmart!! Feels good to know that there’s actually a mobile provider out there that really cares about all the unemployment and bad economic conditions. Not so with other providers such as AT&T – they’re still trying to get as much as they can for themselves without regards for the consumer. Straight Talk is the best prepaid plan to date. To top it off, it uses the Verizon network so there’s never a dropped or out of range call – another super plus for Straight Talk. A true nationwide, consumer-conscious, pocket-friendly prepaid plan!

  4. david Says:

    good info here glad i came

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  1. Wal-Mart, Cell Phones & Mobile Marketplace Pricing Competition — Technology Liberation Front Says:

    [...] smartphones to shrug off the Wal-Mart announcement, it would be a mistake for reasons made clear by David Worthington over at Technologizer: As a technophile, it’s tempting for me to point out the short comings of [...]

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