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.


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.  Click here for more information.

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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  1. says

    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!!

    • says

      I have had family mobile for one month,but the internet servjce is very slow,and I have not exceeded my limits. I had virgin mobile for years but they couldnt activate this phone.Im going back to virgin they dont play around,great service,price.,no B.S. dennis

  2. says

    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.

  3. says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  4. Andrew says

    Hi Mike,

    I have an unlocked Nokia phone (purchased through B&H Photo) and I’m extremely pleased with Walmart’s Family Mobile plan. I have the $39.88 plan but was dropped to $34.98 due to their promotion started within 30 days of me joining. I didn’t even have to call, they did it automatically. I use the WiFi at home and the 3G speeds (sometimes HSPA +) when not on WiFi works great. Yes I checked my coverage but I travel and most of the major cities my phone works great. I have very good things to say about Walmart’s cell plans so, do yourself a favor. Sign up, its worth the savings.

  5. Benjamin Brown says

    I’ve had Walmart Family mobile service for nearly three years. Coverage area, sound clarity, texting, WiFi speeds have not been any problem. The potentiality of a problem exists come the time I choose to switch to a different carrier. The reason for this is Family Mobile requires a written letter (I’m not kidding), sent to them via snail mail (again, I’m not kidding), informing them of your cancellation. This will conflict with any port out request you may make with another carrier, and Family Mobile will continue to bill you until they receive the written request. This written cancellation request process has been written about by other Family mobile customers on other sites, without any solution.

  6. Lin says

    Bait and switch, unreliable coverage, non-existent customer service.
    Switched to FamilyMobile because I was offered a discount THEN found out there was an activation fee (but I figured it was worth it for the discount);
    I was told about the convenience of paying at Walmart but when I went to pay was told about the service fee; so much for convenience.
    My plan price went down shortly after I signed up but I had to call to get the lower price and they did NOT apply the new price until the next full service month.
    I have had text take as much as a day to come thru and others that never came thru. Outgoing texts frequently fail and call quality issues with clarity and continuity. after I had these issues off and on for 3 months, I was ultimately told by customer service that i was in a 3G service area and that was causing my problems.; I was assured they were upgrading service in my area and that when it was complete I would be contacted and given an adjustment…. this has NEVER happened.
    NOW they have taken away my discount “it is no longer available in my area”. I was insistent with customer service that someone needed to give me some satisfaction and I was given an email address; the response addressed only one of my issues and told me nothing that I had not already been told by phone customer service.
    I had not paid my bill for the month, as I was hoping for some resolution with an adjustment; customer service would not even listen to my concerns until informing me that I needed to make a payment to avoid service interruption; I was then told if I made a partial payment they would give me a 10 day extension to pay; I made a partial payment and within 2 days my service had been suspended causing me to miss several important calls. I paid the balance and THEN was told I had a $5 fee for service reinstatement; when I called customer service, I was told I had to use the email address to have the $5 fee waived; I am still waiting to here back on that matter but in the meanwhile, they responded that they do not guarantee service coverage and that I can check the coverage map online.

    I plan to be shopping for a new service if they do not give me some satisfaction. I am thinking about going with Straight talk so if anyone has any info on that let me know.
    TY :)

    • Lin says

      after CS telling me if I made partial payment (until I had a resolution to my unresolved complaint) I would have 10 days to complete payment. I made a partial payment and the next day discovered my service was off due to non payment so I paid the balance and THEN was told there would be a $5 fee for reconnect. I called CS and was told they could do nothing about it and I would have to email CS; when I did they responded that they could do nothing until I got my next bill….
      I am DEFINITELY looking into a different service.

  7. robin perrett says

    Does this service include the “Hot spot” capability? The phone I’m interested in is the Walmart Family Mobile ZTE Zmax Smartphone. Thank you!

  8. fcox says

    OK I plan on changing to W F M but I do NOT need or desire web. All I need is voice communications and text service. If I get only 2G service, will my calls work. I have an unlocked t-mobile, Happy with t_mobile works well, but need to cut back on monthly cost

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