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Walmart To Stoke Q4 Cellular Competition

10/15/2009 10:11:25 AM Eastern

Bentonville,
Ark. - Walmart, which already sells TracFone-branded prepaid cellular on a
nationwide basis, will now add Straight Talk-brand prepaid services, also provided
byTracFone, on an exclusive basis beginning Oct. 18.

A $30/month
Straight Talk plan offers 1,000 voice minutes, 1,000 texts and 30MB of mobile Web
access nationwide with free 411 calls. An unlimited 30-day plan at $45/month
offers unlimited voice, text and Web access nationally, also with free 411
calls. The plans, which will also be available at Walmart.com and StraightTalk.com, follow a successful
234-store pilot program that began last summer, Walmart said.

By switching to
the $30 Straight Talk plan, the company contended, "the average 1,000
minutes-per-month consumer could save more than $500 per year and still be on a
reliable [Verizon Wireless] nationwide network."

To extend
service, consumers will buy monthly refill cards at Walmart or buy online at Walmart.com
or StraightTalk.com. Phones tied to the service include an entry-level LG 220
flip phone at $39.98, LG Slider 290 at $79.98 and Samsung 451 with QWERTY
keyboard at $99.88.

For now, the
service is branded only as "Straight Talk, exclusively at Walmart" in ads,
"but there is discussion about packaging changes in the future that will
include the Walmart branding," a spokesperson said.

Walmart also
offers TracFone's Net10-branded prepaid service.