When budget is a top priority, one of the finest ways to save costs is to shop for Walmart’s wireless carrier plans. You can use your smartphone or buy a carrier-ready phone right in the store.
Parents also find it convenient to offer their kids a phone at Walmart. By doing so, kids can stay in contact when away from home, and parents can limit how they use their phones.
Whether you are a poor college student, senior citizen, parents with children, or on the verge of homelessness, here is our guide to Walmart’s wireless carrier plans.
Overview of Walmart Wireless Carrier Plans
If you’re using an old phone, you’ll need to purchase a SIM kit to set up your phone with the new carrier. Otherwise, you can shop among Walmart’s carrier-ready phones. Either way, you can add various talk, text, and data options by purchasing prepaid cards or by managing your carrier plan online.
As it happens, Walmart may not carry both a SIM kit or carrier-ready phone for each carrier. Therefore, make sure to check these products’ availability at your local Walmart or through walmart.com.
Many choose to buy prepaid cards with their SIM kit or phone. When purchasing a prepaid card, make sure you note how long you have to use the plan before it expires. Most plans work for 30 days, while others will last for 90 days or more.
When it comes to unlimited monthly plans, you will want to read the fine print with regards to throttling. Throttling occurs when/if the carrier limits your LTE data. After you hit your LTE limit, the carrier will intentionally slow down your data speed to 3G, 2G, or less.
Featured Carrier Sold at Walmart: Republic Wireless
Republic Wireless uses the combined networks of T-Mobile and Sprint. Like most prepaid carriers, Republic Wireless is an MVNO provider. An MVNO provider “rents” wireless service from a big-time carrier (in this case, T-Mobile and Sprint).
Walmart primarily sells Republic SIM kits and Motorola smartphones. As far as we can tell, Walmart no longer carries refill cards.
As such, you may need to set up your prepaid plan directly with Republic Wireless. Plans start at $15/month for unlimited talk and text. For $25/month, you get 2GB of LTE data. Additional gigs of data are $5/month, and the Republic Wireless app allows you to change your plan month-to-month.
One great advantage to Republic wireless service is the way that it scans your area for wireless networks. If it finds an available network, it automatically connects you. This feature saves your data, even at times when you might be unaware of available wireless networks around you.
Where Republic Wireless struggles is in their lack of customer service. In this day and age, many can manage their carrier plan over an app, and Republic’s app is easy to use. But if you are perplexed by a problem with your cell plan, your best bet will be to read suggested forums to find answers to your questions.
Also, if you use more than 2GB of LTE data regularly, Republic Wireless can quickly lose its cost-effectiveness. However, if you find you use more data only on certain months, you can upgrade temporarily and go back to your smaller data plan.
Leading Prepaid Wireless Carriers Sold at Walmart
In addition to Republic Wireless, Walmart’s wireless carrier collection is quite extensive. Here are our top three picks.
Simple Mobile (Powered by T-Mobile)
Lowest Plan: $25/month for unlimited talk/text and 3GB of LTE.
Unlimited Plan: $50/month with LTE speeds throttled at 40GB
If you like Republic Wireless but consistently want more data, then you’ll enjoy Simple Mobile. Walmart offers smartphones, SIM kits, and prepaid cards at each location. And if you’re willing to set up auto-refill, you’ll save a few bucks on your plan.
A key perk for plans “powered by T-Mobile” is that you may be able to get 5G LTE if your smartphone is compatible.
Unlimited Plan: $55/month, includes 15GB of hotspot
Straight Talk is quickly becoming one of the most popular Walmart wireless carrier plans. Since even the most frugal shopper enjoys data, their $55/month unlimited plan is one of the best, and it includes plenty of hotspot data.
Walmart carries prepaid cards, as well as SIM kits and phones. As for phones, Walmart has the most extensive selection of Smart Talk smartphones of any other store.
Unlimited Plan: N/A
If you’re a senior citizen or a parent with kids, Tracfone will be one of your favorites. Not only do you get a more extensive selection of text and call options, but you can purchase one prepaid card for the number of texts and calling minutes you’ll need for the entire year.
For $125, you can get 1,500 texts and calling minutes (plus 1.5 GB of LTE data) available for the entire year. You can purchase additional minutes or add-ons as necessary.
Walmart supplies SIM kits, prepaid cards, and a modest selection of phones. If you long for the days of flip phones, Walmart still has them specifically for Tracfone users.
There are a handful of other carriers available at Walmart that might suit your needs just as well. We’ve found that Walmart’s customer reviews are lower than their competitors listed above, but each individual’s cell needs are different.
Lycamobile is designed with BYOD (bring your own device) customers in mind. Also, it offers international text, talk, and data. Plans begin at $19/month with unlimited international text/talk and 1GB of LTE.
Their largest carrier plan is $50/month with unlimited LTE in the United States. Though the unlimited international talk/text is a huge plus, make sure to check that the countries you are most interested in are included in the “75+ countries” serviced by Lycamobile.
Family Mobile (Powered by T-Mobile)
Plans begin at $24.88/month and include unlimited talk/text, plus 2GB of LTE. Their unlimited plan caps at $49.88/month with unlimited LTE and 10GB of hotspot. Their best-valued plan is $39.88/month and includes 14GB of data.
Walmart’s wireless carrier plans are worth serious consideration if affordability is your primary concern. Especially for those looking at an affordable plan with plenty of control, such as parents of young teenagers and seniors, the carriers listed above are a great fit.
Make sure to read Walmart’s customer reviews and know your data usage. Doing so will help you choose the best carrier with the ideal plan for your lifestyle.