The largest mobile virtual network operator in the US has gotten even larger.
T-Mobile has confirmed to FierceWireless that it has sold off its Walmart Family Mobile prepaid operation to TracFone. The new owners have added 1.4 million subscribers to the 26 million it was reported to have in its management last year. No terms of the deal were released. Walmart Family Mobile continues to operate on T-Mobile’s network.
At Walmart stores, customers have access to multiple TracFone prepaid services including Net10 Wireless, Straight Talk, federally-subsidized lifeline program SafeLink and, now, Walmart Family Mobile.
“[The acquisition] by TracFone gives that company dominant Walmart share and therefore the pole position for rural wireless,” reads a Wave7 Research missive on the deal. “Straight Talk already leads at Walmart, where TracFone brands Net10, Total Wireless, and TracFone are also sold.”
In rural regions, the wireless game comes down to who’s giving the best value for a low price and where the stores are. Walmart has a big advantage in being a low-price big box store with locations all across middle America. That’s where TracFone has targeted and where competitors like Cricket, MetroPCS and Boost Mobile are trying to crack in — all three prepaid operators are building hundreds of new retail locations across the country.
TracFone is a subsidiary of Mexican telco America Movil and operates its brands on the networks of all five major US carriers.