A few days ago, I shared with you that I finally got a cell phone via Walmart FamilyMobile. I have actually had the phone since late August, but am just now able to share my experience with my readers due to issues with technology hating me and that pesky thing called real life that I had to take care of. I must say I have enjoyed having a mobile phone and joining the 21st century. I now feel more confident when driving long distances and no longer feel I must be tethered to the house while The Diva is at school and Hubs is at work for fear that something will happen and no one will know where I am. It’s rather freeing.
I can also take pictures of the strange things I see — trust me, there are many — while I am out and about and post them directly to Facebook now. Because you all know you just have to see what crazy thing Shan has found, right? Of course you do!
I am supposed to tell you about the actual service from Walmart FamilyMobile in this post and not so much about the cellular phone said service is received through, so here goes nothin’…
…So far, and it’s been almost three months since I bought the phone, the service itself has been pretty decent, though I have nothing to compare it to since I’ve never had a paid mobile phone before. We don’t really venture too far from home, so I cannot attest to whether or not the cellular service is spotty in other areas. I can tell you that it worked well when we drove from our home to the Colorado River to spend Labor Day with friends. I was able to text Susan while driving through the desolate desert between our house and her RV. The internet was slow, though, even while we were at The River. At home, I have it set to use my wi-fi so that we aren’t throttled by T-mobile.
The problems with the Walmart FamilyMobil plan are as follows:
- You cannot use/receive shortcodes texts for any reason. This means no instant coupons for stores and my bank cannot text me at all. If I could use this feature, I would get more points, more free services with them and more instant discounts when shopping. I’m all about not paying full price unless I have to.
- Both the phone and plan state it’s 4G capable service, but it is not. The most you can get is 3G, when what you truly get is about 2.5G.
- Even though the hotspot shows on my account and on the phone itself (as an app), it’s not usable. A rep told me “if it’s on your phone, then you have it.” No, I don’t. It’s supposed to be in the “extras pack”, but it is not, as far as I have been told by my local store and the telephone CSAs.
- There is no monthly phone insurance available for this plan, even though a T-mobile rep at the store told me that there should be one. You break it? You need to buy a new phone.
- Walmart has an extended warranty for the phones on their plans, but I was not offered this upon initial purchase. When I found out about it a couple of weeks later, I was not allowed to buy it because it was supposed to be done at the time of activation. I am not happy about this at all.
- I had to exchange my phone twice during the first thirty days because the battery was overheating. It is now doing it again, but I cannot exchange it and I have no extended warranty (see above).
- I still, nearly THREE MONTHS later, cannot get into my online account management and information account. It has been locked since day one and no CSA I have talked to has been able to fix it.
- The majority of the customer service agents for Walmart FamilyMobile are not native English speakers and are VERY hard to understand and communicate with. This has made my attempts to do ANYTHING online or by phone regarding my account next to impossible. This needs to be fixed ASAP.
- You only get a text to remind you to pay your bill. There are no paper bills at all. The fact that I cannot get into my online account to see usage, add a line or anything else makes this doubly annoying.
- You don’t get much of a discount for adding another line. Or a free phone. (That’s a personal pet peeve, not really an indictment of FamilyMobile itself.)
The MyTouch 4G isn’t a terrible little phone, but it’s just that…little. I need a bigger phone because I’m old, blind and ham-handed. Trying to type on that tiny virtual keyboard is sometimes exhausting. Though the autocorrect does surpass my rinky-dink tablet by leaps and bounds. I don’t know if this has to do with the phone, or my sunglasses, but when I am wearing them, I cannot see the screen when it’s sideways, only when it’s vertical. It’s like it goes dark for some reason when turned. But, when I don’t have my sunglasses on, there is no issue. This quirk has me perplexed. I also had a lot of trouble finding a case for the MyTouch 4G. When I finally did, it was expensive and plain — not at all what I was hoping for.
I do love my interactive flying TARDIS wallpaper, the Waze app for navigating the tangled Southern California freeways and the security of knowing that my family can now reach me wherever I am if need be. Conversely, if I ever broke down on the freeway again, I wouldn’t have to sit there for two hours hoping someone would stop to help me, I can call for it myself. Believe me, it is scary and frustrating to be in your disabled vehicle at night on the freeway, with your daughter, and have no way of getting anyone to help you.
The problems with the MyTouch 4G phone are as follows:
- The MyTouch 4G takes an inordinate amount of time to turn on and “find” the service. When the phone finally does turn on and has found it’s signal, it opens to one of two “pages”: the call log or the camera. I cannot make this stop. It should open to the home screen only.
- It does not have much storage space at all and you will need to buy a micro SD card if you want to have any cool apps on the phone.
- The battery overheats easily.
- The camera takes terrible nighttime pictures and anything involving neon lights.
- It’s too small for this old broad. (Again, a personal pet peeve. I’m sure this phone is perfect for someone else.)
Having my own cellular phone has been kind of a lifesaver for my family recently. Back on October 25th, we had a blackout that lasted almost SIXTEEN HOURS. No electricity meant no home phone, no internet, no alarm clocks for work and school and no way to contact the outside world in case of an emergency. Because of Walmart FamilyMobile, I was able to contact the power company to find out what had happened (it was a car accident), find out when the ETA for restoral of service was and search the internet for answers when SCE couldn’t give me one. I was also able to use the alarm clock feature so that we all got up when we were supposed to and weren’t late because some jerk-off was evading the police in a stolen vehicle.
Overall, Walmart FamilyMobile is a good deal at $42.88/month for one line, considering what the other mobile carriers charge. I’ve tried the pre-paid phones once before, it cost me way more than it ever should have and I never had minutes when I needed them. I like that it’s unlimited everything — except as stated above — and I will always know what my monthly bill will be. There won’t be any surprise high overage charges, Yes, #FamilyMobileSaves, though it does not have the nationwide coverage of Verizon and it is not available in many areas. This will hopefully change soon so that everyone has the opportunity to get a cell phone for less than half of what the other brand names charge.
I am very thankful that #CBias gave me the opportunity to review the mobile service. I would not have known about it otherwise.
Category: Reviews And Giveaways