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T-Mobile’s Postpaid-Sales Pilot Ends At Walmart

Walmart halted a six-month pilot of T-Mobile postpaid-service sales at approximately 600 Walmart stores, Wave7 Research reported.

The exit follows the scaling back of Sprint postpaid service last fall to around 500 Walmart stores, the research company said.

AT&T and Verizon postpaid phones, on the other hand, continue to be available in all or close to all Walmart stores, said Wave7 Research principal Jeffrey Moore. “I’ve never seen an exception.”

Despite scaling back its postpaid-phone presence, “Walmart has an initiative in the Southeast in some stores to try to boost postpaid sales, so they haven’t given up,” Moore said. “That said, it’s an uphill battle, due in part to rep competence, availability and training.”

Moore said most of the Walmart reps who have spoken to him “point to a very high ratio of prepaid to postpaid sales — more than 90 percent prepaid, conservatively,” though the split is “going more and more toward postpaid.”

For its part, T-Mobile declined comment other than to say that “we are always trying new ways to get T-Mobile products and services in the hands of customers.” T-Mobile offers prepaid services at Walmart stores and partners with Walmart for the retailer’s Walmart Family Mobile service, which runs on the T-Mobile network.

Though Sprint postpaid distribution was scaled back significantly last fall, Sprint’s prepaid brands Boost and Virgin Mobile “continue to be widely sold at Walmart,” Moore noted. “Sprint’s postpaid sales were very low, but that was not true of Boost or Virgin.”

 For AT&T, Walmart offers postpaid phones without contracts only on Next installment-payment plans, but Verizon phones are available with and without contracts, Moore said.

Walmart operates 5,229 outlets in the U.S., including  855 Sam’s Clubs. Walmart Super Centers number 3,465, the company’s website shows.