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THE UNKNOWN CRITIC
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Walmart Cell Phone Plan:
Walmart Takes The Plunge Into The Mobile Phone Market
The Ultimate Review Of Straight Talk's Cell Phone Plan
Article By Tucker Hall
4:16 PM 1/5/2010
In a bold, yet not so suprising move, Walmart recently announced to a nationwide audience of millions of potential buyers it's launch of a brand new cell phone plan that has undoubtedly shaken more than a just a few bones back at the headquarters of some of our biggest cellular providers, because it provides a low cost solution to high cellular phone bills without any type of contract.
Walmart, the Bentonville, Arkansas based retailing giant reached an agreement with Tracfone Wireless that will power it's cell network through Verizons nationwide cellular network, since Miami based Tracfone does not on it's own network here in the United States.
Because of the shear magnitude of Walmarts domination in the marketplace and a huge advertising presence, it has already become crystal clear to other prepaid wireless providers that the competition has finally arrived and that they came quite heavily armed.
Walmarts cell phone pilot program, which was started last summer in only 234 of it's stores was successful and the company has now expanded the plans availability to some 3,200 stores nationwide.
The new cell plan now being offered by Walmart is called Straight Talk and there two cell phone plans currently available for purchase at those 3,200 Walmart stores nationwide, with 3 phone models from which to choose.
Straight Talk's $45 plan offers unlimited access to talk, texting, calls to 411 and mobile web access. The $30 plan includes 1,000 minutes of talk time, 1,000 text messages, calls to 411 and 30 megabytes of mobile web access.
The average U.S. cell phone customer uses less than 600 minutes per month, yet their monthly bill averages over 75.00, so the 30 - day unlimited everything plan costing only $45.00 seems like a really good deal for those consumers who don't see a need for a really fancy expensive phone, or you are a consumer who uses less than 1,000 monthly minutes, the low cost 30 - day plan yields even greater savings at a cost of only $30.00.
Yet, how does their service stack up against the competiton in terms of customer service?
We bought a phone from our local Walmart store in order to give you a fair accessment of their service, based on our own experiences.
Below you will find a detailed review from our initial purchase at our local Walmart store, the setup process of the new phone and right through our first month of service with our brand new cell phone and monthly plan.
Activation of our new phone:
Press 1 for English.
The customer service representative who took my call had such a bad foreign accent it was at times nearly impossible for me as an english speaking American to understand and I had to repeatedly ask what he had just said and there was many moments of awkward silence as each of us were tried to make the best of the conversation.
A lot of additional time to transfer your existing phone number to your new Straight Talk phone:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I was told that it could take between 7 and 30 days to activate my phone because I was transferring my old cell phone number to the new Straight Talk phone.
I was upset about this and told the customer service rep that I had never heard of anyone waiting that length of time, to which he seemed surprised to hear.
But this was a test I reminded myself, so I trudged on and completed the information required of me.
It took six days for my phone to be activated.
When I asked why it took this long the person on the line told me that he thought that it went pretty fast and in fact most take longer he tells me, but you can expect delays during the holiday season he added. I asked what holiday season was that to which he did not respond since I did not know where he was. I asked why i had to make yet another call to check on my phones setup status ( my fourth call by the way ) Im not sure if my calls will show up on my bill next month, but we will see. I then had to once again try to activate my phonepunching in a series of numbers he told me to do while he had me on the line... the phone took about a minute...then told me it was activated...
I told him it was activated, but questioned why it had shut itself off. He said that that was not supposed to do that and asked me to turn it on and asked me to place a phone call while he had me on the phone to see if it would work, saying it would prompt me before letting the call go through for a language setup....which is just simply a matter of pressing 1 for english setup...real simple stuff. but I told him i would take the chance that it would be ok and do the language setup later as I didnt want to call someone and say oh im just trying to setup my new phone please hold on while i speak with the person on the other phone...thats ignorant way of setting up a phone service...so i passed on that and thanked jesus thats his name for his time...it works now. so im ok with it, but i have never had heard of anyonme ever having to wait to get a phone setup before....maybe a couple of hours. but 6 days...not a good image for their company at least in my view and experience using the product. ....(Browser speed)....It takes an average of 12 to 15 seconds to get online...not terrible for a phone browser.
33 days later: Straight Talk VS the Cricket Wireless plan.
Well in our opinion, that plan was a bust, so we got to wondering just how they would stack up against another wireless provider. This time we chose Cricket wireless, which has a similiar plan but provides unlimited minutes for about five bucks more monthly.
Vs: Time on phone using up our valuable time: approx 2 hours 4 calls total.for the Straighttalk plan and six total days before service became active.
Vs.Cricket wireless: 10 minutes to purchase phone locally and phone was active and functioning immediately upon leaving the store. We could then call at our convenience to have our number transferred from our old phone to the new one. Total time to transfer the number was said to be about 4 hours by the customer service rep in the cricket wireless store where our purchase was made.
Actual time to transfer: ( During which time our phone was active was less than 24 hours )