Walmart has just landed a blow to the nation's carriers with news that it is offering the iPhone 5 with no contract, starting Friday.
The retail giant is partnering with Straight Talk Wireless to offer the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4 for $45 a month for unlimited talk, text and data.
Customers who buy the phone in the store can apply for a no-interest, fixed monthly payment financing offer of $25 a month with a Walmart credit card, the company said.
"We believe customers shouldn’t have to choose between saving money and having the latest technology," said Seong Ohm, senior vice president of entertainment for Walmart U.S. "Now customers can have the coveted iPhone with unlimited talk, text and data without a contract for $70 a month thanks to our exclusive Straight Talk plan and industry first financing offer."
The $70-a-month-figure is the one being made available for non-contract customers on Sprint and on T-Mobile.
Straight Talk Wireless is a brand of well-known no-contract provider TracFone Wireless.
The iPhone 5 "with our unlimited $45 monthly plan and Walmart’s $25 special financing offer is a marriage made in heaven – making it the most affordable premium smartphone offer in America," said F.J. Pollak, TracFone Wireless CEO and president, in a release. "With this exclusive offer the last reason for not purchasing the No Contract Straight Talk plan is gone.”
There are a few limitations to the deal. Only the iPhone 5 16GB model is available (although in either black or white). It will cost the retail price that others who don't get the subsidized price by signing a contract pay for it: $649.
The iPhone 5 was preceded by the 4S, and then the 4, which is a 2010 phone, essentially. Walmart will offer the iPhone 4 8GB model only, for a$449. (It's also available in black or white.)
In addition to the $45-a-month unlimited plan, there is a $60-a-month unlimited plan that includes unlimited international calling to more than 1,000 locations in Mexico, India and Canada, Walmart said Thursday.
The offer is effective as of Jan. 11. To learn more, visit Walmart online or check with your local store.