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Wal-Mart announces new Family Mobile service

Wal-Mart expands its cell phone offerings to include a new family-oriented post-paid service.

Wal-Mart, which already offers Common Cents and Straight Talk prepaid plans, has just launched a post-paid service called Wal-Mart Family Mobile. While Common Cents and Straight Talk runs on Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless respectively, Wal-Mart Family Mobile will piggyback on T-Mobile USA's network.

Customers will get unlimited calls and texts for $45 a month for the first line, and $25 for each additional line. However, data and international calls will be deducted from a prepaid account attached to the family plan, so this isn't really a service for high data consumption. For 1GB of data accessible to the entire family, you will have to pay $40. Unused data will be carried over month-to-month. Comparing that to Straight Talk and Common Cents--Straight Talk doesn't offer a discount for additional lines and Common Cents is just a basic pay-by-the-minute service.

Even though it's post-paid, Wal-Mart Family Mobile won't require a contract. Wal-Mart will offer five phones for this service, one of which is the Motorola Cliq XT for $250. The Associated Press also reports that the cheapest phone will be a basic Nokia handset for $35. The service is offered in partnership with T-Mobile, but the phones will be locked to Wal-Mart and can't be transferred over to T-Mobile. Wal-Mart will start offering this plan starting September 20.