Walmart contacted us to clarify that it is not acting as an MVNO. The company is branding and selling plans through its Family Mobile service, but it is not buying air time from T-Mobile. Instead the carrier will be handling billing, customer service, and all the other behind the scenes work themselves.
Walmart is throwing its hat into the
mobile market with its own branded cell phone service. Walmart already sells prepaid plans under the Straight Talk and Common Sense brands, which operate on the Verizon and Sprint networks respectively, but the new Walmart Family Mobile
will be the company's own post-paid service on the T-Mobile network. The Walmart plan undercuts T-Mobile's own plans on price, and offers many of the perks of both post-paid and prepaid plans. There are no contracts to sign, no early termination fees and no credit checks on Walmart Family Mobile, but the service will still offer subsidized phones ($249 for the Motorola Cliq XT) and unlimited talk and text for flat monthly rates ($45 and $25 for each additional line). There won't be an unlimited data option, and, at $40 per gigabyte, data service won't be cheap, but unused megabytes will carry over to the following months.
Walmart Family Mobile will launch next week in most of the chain's stores.