The search for a wireless provider with affordable unlimited plans

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Affordable unlimited plans at Walmart

Affordable unlimited plans at Walmart

I’ve been searching for a cheap wireless plan for a while now.  “Cheap” though isn’t exactly the right term; “affordable” is probably better.  I want the best wireless service I can get, but I want it at a low price.  I’ve been with AT&T since they were Cingular, and I’ve always been happy with the quality of the service.  The price I’m paying seems just too high, though, for what we’re getting.  I’ve seen a lot of ads for unlimited plans, and a lot of offers from newer entries into the marketplace that seem too good to be true.  Plus, I’m tired of being constantly locked in to the two-year contract cycle. It just feels like their should be a better way.banzai water slide australia

Right now, my wife and I combined are paying about $120 month for our portion of a family plan we share with my parents.  Our minutes are limited, and our data is limited, too.  We have unlimited text messages, which is a good thing because we text a lot.  The minutes haven’t been a big issue, but I am constantly hitting the upper threshold of my data plan.  Unlimited would seem like the way to go, but that would significantly increase our cost with AT&T.  We also maintain a pre-paid plan for our oldest daughter, which runs us about $15/month.  She needs a new phone, though, and I’d like to give her more time than what we’ve done in the past.  Our second daughter will be going to a school across town next year, so I’d like to add a phone for her, too. In short, I’d like to be able to add coverage for our daughters without increasing our phone bill.

I started my search by checking out the prepaid offerings from providers like Tracfone.  I liked the no contract, no commitment idea of the prepaid services.  What I didn’t like was the cost point if you used a lot of text messages or want support for smart phones.  Tracfone was not an option.  AT&T’s GoPhones weren’t too bad, actually, but we’d have to buy all new phones for everyone, and we were limited in what we could get.  Both my wife and I like our current phones, so this would be a step back for us.banzai water slide australia

I next checked out a lot of the smaller players — Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Cricket, etc.  They have some good pricing, but they don’t support the devices we want and I’m concerned about their network quality.  I kept looking.

I checked out Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.  The pricing really wasn’t much different from what I could find at AT&T.  I did like that Sprint had unlimited options, and T-Mobile’s new no-contract, bring-your-own-device option was intriguing.  They have unlimited, too.  But the cost would still not save us anything over what we’re paying now.

Walmart Family Mobile activation kit

Walmart Family Mobile activation kit

It was then that I discovered Walmart Family Mobile through my connections at Collective Bias.  I started looking into it, and I liked what I was finding.  First up, they use T-Mobile’s network, which is nationwide.  Second, they’re a no contract provider.  Third, you can use your own device (as long as it is compatible).  Finally, the price: just $29.88 for unlimited talk and text.  Add unlimited data for $10 more.  Additional lines get a $5 discount per line.  That means we can get unlimited talk, text, and data for my wife and me, plus unlimited talk and text for my daughters, and we’ll only be spending $125/month.  That’s less than what we pay now with a major upgrade in what we’re getting.

The downside to the plan is that data speeds are limited to 3G when you’re not on wi-fi, and after 2.5 GB of data in a month, your speed is throttled further.  You also do not have access to premium services like visual voicemail or making your phone a wi-fi hotspot.  For the price, though, you can’t really complain  about that!

Switching wireless providers is a big step, though, especially for a guy like me that doesn’t like change!  Because of my association with Collective Bias, though, I have been offered the opportunity to try out Walmart Family Mobile to see if I like it.  It’s a pretty low-risk offer for me, so I took the chance.  I received an Android smartphone, and I headed off to our local Walmart to get an activation kit.

The Walmart store I visited has a dedicated space for wireless service, which was pretty nice.  Lots of phones and information on most of the major carriers so you can make an informed decision.  I looked for a Walmart Family Mobile activation kit, but I couldn’t find one.  I asked an associate, and they grabbed one from behind the counter.  OK, that was pretty easy.  I finished the rest of my shopping at Walmart, checked out and headed home.

Setting up the phone was a breeze.  I went to the online account management and information site to activate the SIM card I had just purchased and setup my account, then I popped the SIM into the phone.  That was it!  One functional smartphone with an unlimited plan, easy as pie.  I’ll be giving the service a thorough test over the next few weeks.  I’ve got some travel lined up, so I can test the coverage area as well as data speeds. If things test out ok, I’ll be switching our family over to Walmart Family Mobile.  Stay tuned for a follow up article with a review of the service and experience in a few weeks!  the end

#FamilyMobileSaves #cbias

 

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4 Responses to “The search for a wireless provider with affordable unlimited plans”

  1. Terri
    August 12, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    Sounds like you’ve really done a thorough job of researching the options! Like you, my family has been looking for that “better” plan but we found prices for the major carriers to be just as expensive or even more so than our current contract. I’ve always been a bit skeptical about the service offered by no contract plans but love the concept. I’m excited by what you learned about the Walmart Family Mobile plan and will be looking forward to reading more in your update! Thanks for sharing your find 🙂

  2. Tonya
    October 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    I’m have had them for 3 months. Service is now fine at home after several calls regarding dropped calls. However There will be many places where you will have no service. Even in areas that have t mobile coverage. Family mobile does not have access to all of Tmobile’s Network. I was told only half. When I first got the service there were some areas that would roam, however now I can’t even do that. I was told by customer service that those networks have pulled the roaming rights. I was trying to cut cost of having both a home phone and a prepaid cell for emergencies as well as allowing My teenagers who drive to have an affordable phone. It is working fine as far as a home phone but now I still need a cell phone

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