My search for affordable family mobile unlimited plans has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.
I’ve always been, as they say, a “talker”. There is a picture of me in fuzzy pink footed pajamas, sitting sideways in a rocking chair with my feet up on one arm; the cord of the phone is stretched from the wall to my little hand, and I’m twirling a strand of hair. I tried to find it to share with you but it may still be in the boxes of photos that my Mom has for me.
I’m not sure whom at the age of 4 I needed to talk to – and so casually – but that clearly was just the beginning bloom to my gift of gab. As I got older I remember quite a few marathon phone sessions with friends. Back then texting didn’t exist, so you couldn’t just send three or four words back and forth electronically. You had to stay on the line to complete a conversation.
While I may not spend quite as many minutes (hours) on the phone now as I did then, I do rack up my share of minutes each month. With my parents living in Maine, not only do I like to check in on them regularly, they also like to talk to Bubbles on the phone quite often, also. I had always felt like we had a fairly decent cell phone plan – until last summer, that is. We finally took the plunge and upgraded to smartphones with data plans. I knew our bill would increase but I didn’t realize by just how much.
Recently we saw a few commercials for the new Walmart Family Mobile Plan powered by T-Mobile. It definitely piqued my interest: $40 per month for unlimited talk, text, and web. You can also add additional phones for an extra $35 per line. Not only was the amount a significant savings over our current bill, but our only unlimited talk on our current plan comes after 7 p.m. or to those who have the same cell phone carrier that we do. That rules out all my family in Maine, plus limited me to the times it was “free” to talk.
It piqued my interest enough that it prompted a trip to Walmart to check out all the details. There was a clearly-marked display in the electronics section that listed out exactly what was included and how it worked. In addition to it being unlimited there’s also no contract – you just pay as you go. At the end of your billing period you get a text message letting you know your bill is ready. Then you can go online and pay. You can even set up auto-pay so there’s no chance of missing your due date.
To get started all you need is one of the Starter Kits and a phone and both are available in the store. They have many to choose from; we received the T-Mobile Concord via UPS. It is their best-selling smartphone for their unlimited plans. It’s slightly smaller than my current phone and is a basic model, but seems to work just fine so far. Additionally you can purchase an Extras Pack that lets you pay for downloaded ringtones, games, and more. They aren’t required but as I was already going to be saving so much per month, I picked one up so that I could play around with it and see what was available. You can see my entire experience here in my Google+ album.
The folks at the service desk in the electronics department will activate your phone for you, however I was there outside of their designated hours. So I brought the Starter Kit, which includes a standard and micro SIM card, home and started the process to activate online. All that’s required to set up your phone is the kit, your phone, and a piece of identification (I used my driver’s license). The process was easy but there was a hiccup in the online setup which prompted me to call their help desk for further assistance. The gentleman who took my call, Luis, was friendly and helpful and had my information keyed in under five minutes and then provided me with my new number.
Then you simply wait. Your phone will receive a text message when the activation (which takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours, according to Luis) is complete. The message also has your phone number included in case you misplaced it. It really was very easy to complete and SO much faster than when I activated our family mobile plan last year (seriously, I was in the office for at least an hour).
Now I’m anxious to learn how the actual service compares to what we currently have. If there are dropped calls, the clarity of the line, speed of web connect, etc. I’ll be sure to update you after I’ve tried it out for a few weeks and let you know how it compared!