As part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias®, I picked up an affordable cell phone and wireless plan for our brand new middle-schooler this year. All opinions in this post are my own.
A couple of weeks ago, my oldest started middle school. This appears to be the year when everyone has a phone, and it starts making sense when they’re involved in various activities and sometimes need to be called to be picked up, etc. However, we also don’t want to break the bank on a phone or a plan for a 6th grader, so wanted to find a cheap wireless plan and affordable phone that would work for our family’s needs.
Enter: Walmart FamilyMobile. While this is compatible with a number of higher end phones, including the iPhone 4 and 4S, we here set it up with a much more basic Alcatel 606A, which is a starter phone for a middle schooler who really only needs to talk and text.
The SIM starter kit ran $25.00, the phone was $39.88, and then the Walmart FamilyMobile service itself runs just $39.88 a month (+ taxes and fees) for unlimited talk, text, and web, or $29.88 if you just do talk and text without a data plan. It’s also no contract, so if your child loses or breaks the phone, or if you decide they’re not responsible enough, you can cancel the service with no penalty.
Once we figured out how to pop off the back cover and insert the SIM card, the phone was super easy to set up with Walmart #FamilyMobileSaves, which walked us through each step of the way.
We started out with talk + text + web to test out the web on the phone, but dropped down to the basic $29.88 a month plan almost immediately; this phone is definitely not built for easy data use, but does the job nicely on calls and texts. This service is also much cheaper than I’m paying for talk + text + data on my current wireless plan — I’m locked in until spring, but then am seriously considering switching to this plan with my middle schooler. A second line runs just $24.88 for unlimited talk and text, so I’m thinking I could be the main line with talk, text, and data, and then switch Mr. Middle School to the second user. That would get us two lines for less than I am paying now for one!
Walmart FamilyMobile also has very useful built-in family controls. You can go into your online account management and information as the primary account holder and easily set controls for each wireless user. These include: Blocking usage at certain times of the day, setting limits on minutes and messages used, setting up “always allowed” and “never allowed” phone numbers, and using web filters to restrict access to more mature web content. These were very easy to set up; their site walks you through each option. Although Mr. Middle School may be old enough for a phone, he’s not necessarily mature enough to always use it responsibly without guidance, so it’s quite useful to have these options which you can customize for your own child’s age and maturity level.
Check out more
There’s a lot more information out there on Walmart FamilyMobile to help you make your own decisions about plans and phones. First, see a lot more photos and info on my trip to Walmart to pick up a Walmart FamilyMobile SIM card and participating phone!
Then, check out this recent Live SoFab digital magazine from #cbias for more ideas about back-to-school, including additional info on Walmart FamilyMobile.