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Cellphones Communications Wireless Networking

Wal-Mart To Launch Unlimited Wireless Family Plan 278

adeelarshad82 writes "Wal-Mart has announced that it will sell a post-paid wireless service powered by T-Mobile, which will be targeted at families. Users who sign up for Wal-Mart Family Mobile service will not have to sign a contract. The first line will cost $45 per month, and each additional line will cost $25 per month. Each line will have unlimited talk and text, so overage charges will not be an issue. For data access, each phone will come pre-loaded with a 100MB card known as a WebPak, which is shared among all lines on an account. Data does not expire, and refill cards can be purchased in Wal-Mart stores or online. The WebPak can also be used to make international calls at 5 cents per minute to any landline number in about a dozen countries."
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Wal-Mart To Launch Unlimited Wireless Family Plan

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  • by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@anthonymc l i n . c om> on Monday September 13, 2010 @07:34PM (#33567338) Homepage

    Hell, two lines, unlimited voice, and paying extra for even 200MB of data would still be a hell of lot cheaper than what AT&T is offering now for a "family" iPhone plan.

    When I traveled to Hong Kong and London w/ my unlocked iPhone I picked up prepaid SIMs for around $15 that were more than enough to cover voice and data while traveling, and were substantially less expensive than what I'm locked into at home in the US.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Monday September 13, 2010 @07:41PM (#33567390) Journal

    Somehow I doubt Wal-Mart is going to drive AT&T and Verizon out of the wireless marketplace.....

    Besides, the criticism that you've made applies more to Barnes and Noble than Wal-Mart. I've not personally observed Wal-Mart raising their prices after driving the competition away. I did observe Barnes and Noble jack up all their prices shortly after the last independent book store in my home town closed up shop.

  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @07:52PM (#33567516)

    Look at the bigger picture & it is very disturbing... the destruction of local businesses, extinction of local varieties of fruit & vegetables.

    Plus here in the UK, our corrupt local authorities taking (in effect) backhand bribes when it comes to granting building permissions for hypermarkets. Not to mention the fact that they levied parking charges in town centres where local businesses used to thrive but nobody did anything about taxing the hypermarkets with their acres of free parking for customers.

    And whilst I believe obesity is, in most cases, about lack of self control, it's startling to see that the countries with the highest obesity problems are those that have let hypermarkets run rife with stores full of processed & preprepared foodstuffs - UK, Germany, USA...

    The Czech Republic is also climbing the "Europe's Fattest Nations" lists at the same time as our biggest retailer, Tesco, is expanding into it...

    And France and Italy, who have refused to bow to the hypermarkets, happen to have the lowest obesity problems in Europe...

    It's more than a coincidence.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @07:54PM (#33567534)

    So says Ars Technica, anyway. I don't know much about the market for mobile Internet, but $40 per gigabyte sounds unbelievable. I'm just passing on what I've read.

    Really "unbeleivable"? I've had an iphone for about a year now. According to its usage statistics I've used:

    13,140 minutes
          475 MB of data
          426 MB of tethered data

    1GB for $40 will apparently cover me for a year at a time. Instead I pay some $20bucks a month or something for the data plan.

    I'm not a video on my phone junkie, and I don't get my email on my phone either. (I get too damn much of it, and really important stuff... I'll get a phone call anyway.)

  • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @08:05PM (#33567604)

    I've not personally observed Wal-Mart raising their prices after driving the competition away

    Just wait until they actually drive away their competition. They're general retail; wait until there's no other retailers.

  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @08:14PM (#33567668)

    I'm glad you mentioned books.

    I won't claim to be a Wal-Mart expert, I've been round a few of them when I visited the US on several occasions but that's it. However, what I saw didn't seem to be a whole lot different to Tesco or Asda (owned by Wal-Mart) over here.

    But have you not noticed how you can only buy the most popular-selling books, magazines, music, DVDs, etc. in the superstores?

    There's a well-known saying that "20% of the product range makes 80% of the profits" and, in many cases, high sales of certain items acts as a subsidy to less popular items being produced and sold.

    So the supermarket stocks the high-volume stuff only but manages to suck away most of the profits from, say, a specialist bookshop by stocking a smaller range of books. That in turn means that the outlets for less popular titles are reduced and leads to them being non-profitable to the point where they're not made any more.

    This idea that supermarket price-cutting is in the interests of the consumer or that the supermarkets offer more choice is a complete fallacy - they stock the high profit, high volume sales items with a strategy to force consumers to just buy those items they stock.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2010 @08:42PM (#33567880)

    The problem is that your "fair price" doesn't allow for a reasonable income for the workers and owners of those mom & pop local places, which I guess because you aren't one of them you don't care. But it then becomes a self-feeding downward spiral. As more and more people get minimum wage, they in turn can't afford to support places with real wages, so they go under. And the net result, given enough time, is everyone working for minimum wage.

    Your contempt for your local mom&pop is misplaced, those people weren't making a fortune with their business. They were merely trying to make a reasonable living like everyone else. And in the process keeping the money in the community, instead of having it go to wall street.

  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @09:00PM (#33568008)

    Well, duh. The superstores are general stores. They don't have the shelf space to stock every conceivable title or product. That's why you go to a real book/clothing/electronics/whatever store.

    Well, double duh. It works like this - a supermarket stocks a limited range of the highest selling items (20% of a range makes 80% of profits) and sells them at a lower price than a local specialist store. This takes most of the profit away from the specialist store so it closes. This leaves a supermarket selling a small range of items, albeit at a lower cost. And they do that *BECAUSE* they don't have the shelf space to stock a wider range.

    You aren't forced to do anything as a consumer unless you are too lazy to look for alternatives. Heck, this is the information age -- you can be lazy and shop at the same time if you have a computer, internet connection and credit card.....

    For your information, I've done *PRECISELY* that, at least when it comes to fresh foodstuffs. In case you didn't pick it up before, I'm in the UK so don't have the same scales of distance you have in the US but, being an avid cook at home, I wanted better tasting fresh food to eat rather than the stuff in supermarkets - so for a while now I've been buying all my fresh meat, vegetables and fruit from local farm shops.

    No, it's not "green" because I've had to travel further to them and, kilo for kilo, it's more expensive than in a supermarket. But overall our food budget has dropped because I'm not filling the trolley with "2 for 1" offers that I don't need and the food tastes better because it's locally produced, local varieties suitable for the climate and soil conditions, and hasn't travelled so far. But I have been more creative with my cooking, eaten far more healthily and wasted virtually nothing.

    I don't claim to be some kind of saint, I still buy washing powder, mouthwash, toilet rolls, etc. from the local supermarket but, then, boycotting them completely was never my aim - I just wanted better tasting fresh food and to put some money back into the local economy.

  • lol (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @09:19PM (#33568120)
    Everyone jump on the walmart hating bandwagon why don't you. I have an Aunt that worked at walmart as a checker for most of her life. She was a single mom and that job bought her a house and helped her raise 5 children (father was a deadbeat) then Walmart paid, in full, the entire college tuition of her eldest daughter through a program walmart has. If you don't want to buy Chinese made crap, then don't Walmarts selling what people want to buy. This cellular plan is a fine example of exactly what they do. We all know cellular plans are ridiculously over priced... look at any other country in the world and it's obvious. Walmart comes in and not only undercuts everyone else, they undercut them to the point it makes the other carriers look like idiots. And just like every other market they enter, this doesnt just mean walmart shoppers get lower prices, it means all the other carriers will have to drop their prices as well to prevent their customers from leaving in droves.
  • by BKX ( 5066 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @09:22PM (#33568148) Journal

    That may be true, but if you do it right, it can be cheaper with T-Mobile. For example, I recently sprung for a Nokia N900 (really, it's the best phone ever.). I signed up for T-Mobile's individual plan with unlimited text, 500 minutes and the "I own my own hardware" discount. I also have a Skype account. If sign up for T-Mobile service over the Internet you can add-in the unlimited data for phones (not for smartphones), and save some cash on the data (like $10/mo), and the SIM card is free (you have to pay for it in the store.) Then set up call forwarding on your Skype account to forward to your phone (in case you're out of range for data service but still have voice service when someone calls) and only give out your Skype number. I've used a grand total of 50 plan minutes last month with over 1000 minutes on my Skype account from the phone during peak hours. Skype's basically a $6/mo unlimited minutes addon. The N900 integrates with Skype perfectly (so long as you type your numbers in your contacts list with a "+1" in front of the area code and number). You can do this with a few other phones as well. (Just not Android phones with the T-Mobile markings, which can't use the data for phones plan add-on at all. Also, you may have to change which APN your phone uses to get it to work ( is the APN if I recall). Just search howardforums for directions.)

    Grand total for essentially unlimited talk, text and data (with tethering) through T-Mobile and Skype (with taxes, assuming Skype is paid annually) = $56/mo. Only MetroPCS is cheaper but only by $6/mo and you can't tether.

  • by sremick ( 91371 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @10:17AM (#33573518)

    WalMart's been growing since they were called "Walton's Five and Dime" simply because they didn't gouge consumers.

    I love how when suddenly a company starts offering a product for less than what people were contently paying for it before, all of a sudden all the places offering it at the old price were "gouging consumers".

    Is it so hard to fathom that to produce certain things properly actually has a cost? And if someone else comes around selling for less than that, that maybe they're the "bad guys"? Either by virtue of selling below cost, or doing unethical/immoral things to get the price lower.

    Like a previous poster said: consumers prioritize price above all else. Apparently so... including common sense.

    When local milk farmers, who I assure you are honest hard-working people who are not price-gouging, can't even break-even, something's horribly wrong.

  • by webminer ( 1619915 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @01:12PM (#33576512)
    Actually, you can do this with T-mobile smartphones too. I bought a HTC HD2 off the craigslist, loaded Android into it. Its a T-mobile branded and locked phone but I was still able to add the $10/mo unlimited web for phones (not the $25/mo smartphones plan). Another neat trick was being able to setup fring and getting google voice to work with it (via sipgate and sipsorcery). I get free incoming and outgoing calls using this method. I just hand out my google voice number. I have been an AT&T customer for more than 6 years but I couldn't take it anymore!

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian