I’m all about having a cheap wireless plan, preferably also a carrier that offers unlimited plans.  The last time I changed my mobile provider, I waited until my contract ended – impatiently.  I counted down the months and days starting at almost a year out.  For months, I could have told you exactly how many days I had left because I was so done with that plan for a number of reasons.

While I had great reception pretty much everywhere, my phone had died and I was using an old borrowed phone that didn’t work as well as my previous one – but I couldn’t get a new one or I had to sign a new two year contract.  I couldn’t text – and to add texting to my plan – for $30 a month for my husband and I, ouch! – I would have extended my contract another two years.  My husband had no data, and we couldn’t add that or… yep, we’d extend the contract another two years.  And we were paying – with significant employer discounts – almost $130 per month for a limited number of minutes, data for me and that was it.

There has to be a better solution, right?

So yes, when #cbias offered me the chance to test drive Walmart’s new Family Mobile Plan, I was all over it.  Right now, the cost is $40 per month for the first phone (after May, it goes back up to $45 per month – so sign up quick so you can get and keep the cheaper rate!) and $5 less per month for each additional line.  That includes unlimited talk, text, and web surfing.  For $75 for two phones in our house.  If you miss a payment, however, the cost will revert back to $45 per month for the first line.

Walmart Family Mobile phone ready to go

So yes, there are caveats.  The service is 3G, not the nearly ubiquitous 4G, and there is only 1GB of 3G service per month for the account before it gets throttled back further, though that is plenty for the two of us, since we primarily hook our phones up to our wifi, which doesn’t count against our data allowance.

Walmart Family Mobile wifi hookup

You also have the option to purchase additional “speed boost” packages that range from an additional 1GB for $10 per month to 8GB for $40 per month if you are a hard core data user.  The plan runs using the T-Mobile network, which works just fine in my area, though like any cell provider, you have to check your coverage before you sign up.

The best part is that there are no contracts.  It’s a pay as you go service where you receive a monthly bill each month for the plan and extras you’ve selected.  You can cancel at any time and without penalties, so if you want to change or you move or you want a different phone, it isn’t locking you into a long term contract, something I especially appreciate.  I use my phone all the time for all sorts of things, and they wear out before those contracts are up!

Walmart Family Mobile Concord

I love the flexibility to purchase the extra data – or not – as fits our needs.  We can easily add the data one month if we need it and then remove it later, something we couldn’t do with any part of previous cell plans we’ve used.  For right now, we typically don’t use more than 1GB per month, but when I’m at a conference and constantly on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook and the like and can’t connect to the conference wifi, it’s nice to know I can up my allotment for the month at 3G and keep right on speeding by.

Walmart lowest rate plan details

I don’t often look forward to receiving a bill, but I have to admit that I’m looking forward to this first Walmart Family Mobile bill so I can see that tiny amount and remember that yes, I do in fact have an unlimited plan.

Walmart offers a huge variety of phones that you can use with their cheap wireless plan.  They range from a basic Samsung T139 flip phone that is great for those who just want to talk and text (I’m thinking my wee ones when they one day get their own phones – no web access for them!) to the Samsung Galaxy SIII, a high end phone that pretty much does everything other than make your coffee in the morning.  There’s a phone for everyone at just about every price point.  And if you already have an unlocked phone you want to keep using, you can activate it on the Walmart Family Mobile plan, with just a few exceptions (the iPhone 4 doesn’t work, for example, though the 4S and the 5 do).

I received the Samsung Concord, a $99.97 phone at Walmart.  It’s a “starter” smart phone, which mean that it does all the basic functions, but there are definitely programs that I regularly use that are not compatible with this phone – from Google Plus to Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner t0 Cam Scanner (my favorite app ever).  None of them are mission critical for me, where this my only phone, with the exception of Cam Scanner.  That goes into making sure that when you purchase a phone, you research what it can and can’t do before you buy it.

Samsung Concord Walmart Family Mobile Package

For someone who is a moderate smart phone user – my husband, for instance, since Yahoo! Sporstacular works just fine on this phone – this is a great phone.  It has Swype, which has to be the best invention for quickly entering words ever.  The voice search works great, as does the navigation.  My absolute favorite part about my new phone, however, is the battery life.  With my Samsung Galaxy SII, I can run down the battery partway through the day with even moderate use.  The Concord has a much better battery life and stays charged for so much longer, something that I really appreciate!

Getting my new phone set up was a breeze.  Each new phone needs a starter kit that you can get from Walmart either online or at a store that is a Family Mobile store.  It costs $25 and contains the SIM card you’ll need – both the regular size and a mini SIM – and the activation code to get your phone set up.  I purchased my starter kit at my local Walmart and then decided to head home to get my phone activated.  There is the option to set it up in store with a Walmart employee’s help, to do it online, or to do it over the phone with Walmart customer service.

Walmart Family Mobile Starter Kit

Online was easy.  I simply started at the activation page, then simply followed the instructions to get my phone activated.  The whole process took under 10 minutes.  Once I popped the SIM card into my phone and added the battery, I was ready to go.  Fortunately, the battery comes partially charged, as I was too impatient to get started to wait for a battery to charge!

First step in activating #FamilyMobileSaves

#FamilyMobleSaves asks how many phones you need

Even for a cell phone novice, getting the phone up and running is easy.  Once I turned it on, there were step by step instructions on exactly what I needed to do next to get my phone running and then to set up my online account management and information.

Walmart family mobile setting up phone

Once I had it configured, I went into the Google Play Store, and I was thrilled to see that I no longer needed to remember exactly which programs I wanted to download.  There is now a tab under “my apps” that lists all the apps I’ve ever purchased or downloaded.  That saved me a ton of time and effort!

Walmart Family Mobile stored apps

And using my phone has been a breeze.  It’s smaller than what I’m used to, so I’ve fat fingered a lot of my typing and Swyping, but I’m getting used to it.  I’ve had no coverage issues whatsoever, and the 3G speeds are working just fine for me.  I can’t wait to check in after another month and share all about what I’ve learned about my phone and my experience with the lowest price rate plan out there!

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  • Laila @OnlyLaila

    This looks great! I’ve been thinking a lot about my current cell phone plan. I have an iPhone through ATT and pay around $80 a month. Cutting that bill in half sounds pretty amazing to me right about now,lol.

    • Michelle

      I know – amazing how much you could save, isn’t it? My old bills at $126+ compared to $75 (plus tax) with the Walmart plan… that’s huge. $600 in a year. AND if you have a 4S or a 5, you can take your iPhone with you and not have to buy a new phone either.

  • Stephanie

    Love that there is an option like this out there! Cell phone contract plans have been getting higher and higher for us and we’re hoping to save a bit on our service!

    • Michelle

      I hope it works out for you. It’s amazing how expensive it gets so fast – especially when you start adding kids onto it, too!

  • Terri

    This really sounds like a great plan – I love the flexibility and options – especially no contract commitment! The ease of set up is very attractive to me, as well – I really dislike how much time it seems to take to do ANYTHING with my contract service! I’m really looking forward to your follow up 🙂

    • Michelle

      The no contract commitment is huge. I’m not joking about counting down the days – and with everything changing as fast as it is with wireless….

  • Kathy @ CountingToTen

    Aren’t we ALL trying to save a little money!! I too love that you can bring whatever phone you’re already using and put in the sim card! SO cool!

    • Michelle

      I’m pretty sure we all are 😉 That is one downfall of a new carrier – the cost of the new phone – but the fact you can bring in an unlocked phone definitely makes it more attractive. But hey, with the money you’re saving already, you can buy that bigger, better, faster phone, right 😉

  • Gilbert Eloy Atencioj

    Can I switch my Verizon # to this plan

    • Michelle

      Yep, just like with any cell service now, you can port your number to your new plan and not give it up if that is what you choose.

  • Landon Nguyen

    So how many months are you into the Family Mobile plan? Is it still working for you?

    Also, how is customer service? I did my research, and they sound like abominations?

    Thanks! I enjoyed reading your review. Planning to switch too.

    • Michelle

      I started the plan in May of this year, so that was six months ago now? I haven’t had any issues that I don’t have with any other plan – periodic dead zones when I’m driving, but they’re the same ones everyone else has. I haven’t used up all my data any month (and I am a reasonably heavy user) to where the speed has been throttled back.

      I’ve called customer service a few times. I was on hold, but… but not an unreasonable length of time, and they were able to answer my questions. When things are working, I don’t have a ton of contact with CS, but no complaints from what contact I have had. I’m guessing some of the reaction to customer service has to do with individual personalities and expectations and needs, too. I haven’t asked for anything out of the ordinary, so….

      Hope that helps!

      • Leo

        Hello, will you call walmart or T-Mobile customer service line if you have service issues or change plan? I wonder if i.could unlock the phone via walmart after a few months of usage.

        • Michelle

          If you have an issue, you must call the Walmart Family Mobile customer service number, not T-Mobile directly. You can also manage your plan online to make changes to it – adding lines, going from phone/text to phone/text/data, etc. The phone is sold unlocked (you pay essentially full price and buy the SIM card for it), and you can use any unlocked phone on the network – so long as it is compatible with the T-Mobile network. If you have questions about your phone, speak with the reps at Walmart or call the 800 number to verify. There is also some great info on the web page on what will and won’t work with the plan.

  • Dinah

    Can you add lines on later on?

    • Michelle

      Yep, you absolutely can add lines at any time (and remove lines if you need to).

  • Ropate

    Do I have to buy the starter kit from walmart for $25 or can I get the sms on tmobiles website for $10

  • marlaina

    I got the same phone. The internet is way better than Virgin & Booost but my bill keeps going up its at 47 Dallors & it sed it was 27 dallors. That’s my only problem. Did the same thing happen to you?

    • Michelle

      I have not had this issue at all. If your price goes up, check things out in the store or online. I know they increase your price if you are late on your bill, but I thought I remembered seeing it was only $5 one time not consistently. My bill never changed, however, and neither has anyone else’s that I know of.

  • RG

    Hi Michelle, We have now August 2014:
    Please be so kind and let me know, has anything major changed in the “cell world?” I like to change from my AT&T provider to a cheaper one – NO contract! I use maybe 300 min per mo talk time, but I would like to try the Internet, so I can “Google,” as well as text.
    Any suggestions?

    • Michelle

      First suggestion is to look at the no contract carriers in your area and determine who is available. Look at each of their websites and check coverage in your area. If you don’t have good coverage, move to the next. The $45/month with the T-Mobile plan is great, but it all depends on where you live.

  • Bryan

    I’m through with Verizon after ten years. They claim better/cheaper plans, but watch out. I switched to the new plan, and the basic $10.00 a month for second line is now $51.94. The second line is for my elderly parents who use a basic flip phone-no texting. After reviewing my bill this evening, I noticed $35.41 in fees, not counting taxes. I will give W.M. plan a try. Thanks for your review. My bill went from $170.00 a month to almost $300.00. That’s a car payment!

  • Diana

    My phone has WiFi. Should I still pay for the extra internet? I rarely use my internet out of my home. (Will it charge me for internet if I don’t pay for it every month or will it just not work?) I’m debating on dropping the internet charge to save money but I’m unsure how it works. Thanks.

    • Michelle

      I did not get a phone without the data plan, but from what I have read, you would simply not have the data access if you choose a talk and text only package. You would have to be connected to your wifi to access the internet. To confirm, I would call the WFM customer service, as it isn’t fully clear on their website. Fortunately or unfortunately, most people have and use the data these days!

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from Footloose And Contract Free With My Unlimited Plans
    Monday, 10 June, 2013

    […] For the past month, I’ve been testing out the Walmart Family Mobile plan, and I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my cheap wireless plan.  Getting my phone activated and set up was a breeze.  I shared how easy it was to shop for the Walmart Family Mobile plan, as well as some of my initial first impressions of the lowest rate plan. […]

  • Trackback from Still Lovin’ The Walmart Cheap Wireless Plan
    Wednesday, 16 October, 2013

    […] had a phone with one of the unlimited plans from Walmart since May.  It’s definitely one of the best wireless plans I’ve had for several reasons.  While […]

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