Introducing Walmart’s New No-Contract Family Wireless Plan

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The plan gives users unlimited talk and text for $45 a month for the first phone, and—here’s where the real value comes in—$25 a month for each additional line. What’s more, there are no contracts and no possibilities of early termination fees, and the plan is “post-paid,” meaning you pay a bill at the end of a month of usage, as opposed to paying in advance with a pre-paid plan.

PC World describes the new offering, called Walmart Family Mobile, as “honestly, a really good deal.”

Walmart also sells Straight Talk cell phones, which likewise come with no-contract plans and cost $45 a month for unlimited usage. Straight Talk is different in that it’s a pre-paid plan, and that there’s no discount for a second phone. But I wouldn’t automatically defer to the new option: If you use your phone infrequently, Straight Talk has a limited plan (1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts, 30 MB of data for $30 over 30 days), and there are other prepaid phones that costs as little as $25 a month for unlimited talk and text.

Now that I’ve mentioned data, it must be noted that Walmart’s new family plan doesn’t include data with the flat $45 charge. Instead, as PC World explains, data costs extra and …

is actually rather pricey –each new line comes with 100MB of data, but more than that will cost you: $10 for an additional 200MB, $25 for an additional 500MB, and $40 for an additional 1GB of data. Unused data never expires, if that helps.

So yeah, if you’re a modern data fiend this is definitely not the plan for you (it’s 100MB of initial data, by the way, not 100MB per month). But if you’re just looking for a good phone that makes calls and sends text messages, it might be worth looking into.

And whatever model and plans you’re looking into, do the math and figure out what the phone will really cost you—not just upfront or in the first couple of months, but over the course of a year or two.

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