Will Wal-Mart's Straight Talk squeeze wireless carriers?

October 15, 2009: 7:00 AM ET
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Back to the future: Straight Talk phones like the LG 200C might be dowdy, but growth in the prepaid market could eventually squeeze carrier profits. Photo: LG.

Look out, U.S. wireless carriers: Wal-Mart is teaming up with billionaire Carlos Slim's América Móvil to train its price-crushing might on cell phones.

In time for the holiday season, the mega-retailer on Wednesday announced a nationwide roll-out of the new prepaid Straight Talk service, offered through América Móvil subsidiary Tracfone Wireless. Unlike mainstream wireless plans that pair cutting-edge phones with higher monthly fees and multi-year contracts, pre-paid services like Straight Talk offer cheaper phones, lower fees and no contracts.

Wal-Mart will offer two Straight Talk options: a $30 monthly plan that comes with 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 30 megabytes of data, and a $45 monthly plan with unlimited voice, texts and data. Straight Talk uses Verizon's (VZ) wireless network. More

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