Walmart, Straight Talk Wireless to offer iPhone 4 and 5

Walmart and Straight Talk Wireless have announced plans to offer both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 to Straight Talk customers for $449 and $649 respectively. The phones should hit Walmart stores next week, beginning January 11, 2013.

As you may have gleaned, the price of the iPhones is unsubsidized – buyers are paying the full price for an unlocked phone, as there’s no long-term service contract involved. Straight Talk Wireless, a joint venture between mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Tracfone and Walmart, offers iPhone users pre-paid contract-free plans starting at $45 per month. If that price sounds steep for the average Walmart customer, the company is offering a special no-interest fixed-monthly financing offer using the Walmart Credit Card, for $25 a month.

Straight Talk already offers simple phones, feature phones and Android-based smartphones for its customers, but this marks the first time it’s offered its own iPhone. The iPhones Straight Talk will offer are CDMA models (Straight Talk operates on both CDMA and GSM networks.)

Straight Talk Wireless also offers users a “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) plan that enables them to use an existing GSM-equipped iPhone on their network. [Editor’s note: In fact, just yesterday I resurrected my AT&T iPhone 4 for my wife to use via Straight Talk. I’ll post more after we’ve had a chance to see how well it works.] A Walmart spokesperson confirmed for The Loop that the Straight Talk iPhones will operate without some of the limitations imposed on BYOD users (On BYOD iPhones, Visual Voicemail isn’t supported; MMS doesn’t work unless you jailbreak the phone, though SMS works without issue).

For $449 users get an 8GB iPhone 4 in either black or white, and for $649 users can get a 16GB iPhone 5 in their choice of black or white.

[7:47 AM: Added information about network and feature support]

  • Ari

    I use an iPhone 4 on Straight Talk and notice some data issues that I didn’t have on AT&T. I often have to restart the phone or switch it into airplane mode to get data. Even when I do get data, it’s slower than when I was a dedicated AT&T employee.

    Maybe those aren’t issues on the CDMA networks.

    • Dasemae

      I’m havin same issues .11 download speed and it sucks!!

  • Small steps.

  • mark212

    why no link to the original article or to the Walmart / Straight Talk website where this is offered?

    • Peter Cohen

      The information is taken from a press release sent via wire service, which we don’t customarily link to. And I checked both Walmart and Straight Talk’s Web site for details on the new offering and found nothing. So I reiterated what it said – that the phone will be in stores beginning next week, and left any URL out of it to avoid causing readers confusion.

  • Arnold Ziffel

    Hey, Peter,

    What the pork?

    • Peter Cohen

      Do you have a question, Arnold?

      • Arnold Ziffel

        Hi, Peter,

        Yeah, I posted something first thing this morning about your post about the Walmart plan for contract-free iPhone service, and it looked to me like my post got yanked. Really not a big deal, so there it is. Have a great afternoon.


        • Peter Cohen

          No idea, Arnold. We don’t routinely delete posts, so I’m not sure what happened.

          • Arnold Ziffel

            Hmm. Weird. Again, not an issue – just curious what happened. I ranted a bit about life with AT&T, which we’ve used since long before the original iPhone but are ready to ditch. Love the Loop. Bill

  • Is this the beginning of loosening the knot to the telcos??

    • Peter Cohen

      Straight Talk isn’t the first MVNO to get the iPhone – you can buy a 4 and a 4S from Virgin Mobile too. So I wouldn’t say “the beginning,” but Apple is expanding its reach, for sure.

  • Steep! More importantly, why no 4S?

    I know a lot of Straight Talk/similar customers and they won’t pay this much. The 25% will definitely help.

    • Peter Cohen

      This is exactly what other companies offering contract-free iPhones charge. And it’s considerably less than you’ll pay over the life of a two-year contract that you’ll have to submit to if you want to get a lower subsidized price.

      As to why the 4S isn’t offered, I don’t know.

      • Understood on other carriers and one’s who could/would not buy there won’t change for Straight Talk.

        Cool on 4S.

  • Robbie

    So now that Straight Talk has the iphone going on the cdma network will one be able to put Verizon 4S on Straight Talk?

  • Tracey

    How do i get mms to work on my cdma i phone 4s

  • Brando

    Straight Talk no longer accepts Iphone BYOP