Is Walmart Family Mobile a Bargain or a Bust?



walmart family mobileIf you’re looking for an affordable cell phone plan and you don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract, Walmart Family Mobile could be your best option.  It might sound odd to buy cell phone service from a giant retail chain, but it is actually a pretty competitive service that uses T-Mobile’s nationwide network of cell towers to provide coverage.

Walmart Family Mobile offers quality service with unlimited talk, text, and web. There’s no credit check required and no annual contract to sign.  You get billed monthly and you can cancel the service anytime.  Now let’s dig a little deeper into our Walmart Family Mobile review so you can decide if the service is right for you.

Getting Started With Walmart Family Mobile

Switching to Family Mobile is an easy process and there are just a few things you need to know to get started. First, you need to pick up a Starter Kit which will include your SIM card and Activation Code.  You need one Starter Kit for each cell phone line you want to connect and they cost $25 each. You can pick one up in any Walmart store or just order one online and have it shipped right to your home.

During the setup process you can choose whether you want to transfer an existing number or get a new one.  If you choose to port your existing number over to Walmart Family Mobile there are a few extra steps and you might need to make a call to customer service to finalize it.

A big advantage to joining Walmart Family Mobile is that you can bring your own phone.  But not all phones will work with the service, you need to have a GSM network phone like the ones used by T-Mobile and AT&T.  Sprint and Verizon use CDMA technology so they will probably not be compatible. If you want to learn more about the difference between GSM and CDMA, this article does a good job of explaining it.

If you don’t have a phone to bring with you or the one you haven’t isn’t compatible, Family Mobile does offer a selection of phones including popular choices like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy. But keep in mind that Walmart Family Mobile does not have contracts so you have to pay full price for their phones.

Walmart Family Mobile Coverage

Family Mobile is powered by T-Mobile’s network which covers over 280 million people nationwide. Of course, there network is not as wide as Verizon’s so make sure you check their coverage map before signing up. They have great coverage in my area but it all depends on where you live.  If you’re in a rural area far away from large cities then Walmart Family Mobile may not work for you.

family mobile coverage

Family Mobile Pricing

Walmart Family Mobile offers unlimited talk and text for just $24.88 a month.  If you want to add the unlimited data package the price increases to $39.88 per month, which is still a pretty amazing deal.  If you want to add extra lines you get a $5 discount on each one so each additional line would cost just $19.88, or $34.88 with data.  You can connect up to 5 lines per account so your entire family can keep in touch.

For the data plan, that $39.88 price includes 2.5 GB of data at 3G speeds, and if you go over that the speed drops slightly to 2G speeds for the rest of the billing cycle.

Summary

Walmart Family Mobile is perfect for people who need affordable cell phone service and don’t want to sign a long-term contract.  They offer options with unlimited talk, text, and data and you can add up to 5 lines to each account. Family Mobile uses T-Mobile’s cellular service so they have good coverage, but not as good as Verizon’s.  They have a fine selection of phones, or you can elect to bring your own.  All in all it’s a pretty solid service at an affordable price.

TL;DR – Walmart Family Mobile is a great option for frugal shoppers who need reliable and affordable cell phone service and don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract.

Have you ever considered giving Walmart Family Mobile a shot? If you’re a current subscriber, what do you think about it? 

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Mike is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in finance and parenting topics. He is a dedicated husband and father of three who is obsessed with creating multiple streams of income and building wealth so he can achieve true financial freedom for his family. Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our free RSS feed and follow us on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. This is a great update on the plan Mike and cell phones are next on our items to tackle this year. Now that my hubby is finished with teaching school, it is literally the top of his summer assignment list and the Walmart plan is one that we are looking at using. Thanks for your insight!!

  2. Thanks Shannon, I’m glad you found it helpful!

  3. I use WM Family Mobile. Works Great! I used to have Sprint, but it had spotty coverage in my area. Then went to Virgin Mobile. text messages took 10 minutes to deliver sometimes. Also, bad network.

  4. I’ve been trying to avoid Walmart at all costs, even if it means serious savings. It’s hard finding the balance between frugality and being a socially conscious consumer.

  5. Many companies, such as Sprint, have switched recently to alternatives to the two year contract method. Now you pay monthly installments which go toward purchasing the phone itself. Do you think this changes the advantage of using the Walmart plan?

    • I’m sure other providers are going to do their best to close the gap and give some Walmart some competition, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

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