Wal-Mart Family Mobile is a wireless carrier wholly owned by Wal-Mart. Straight Talk is owned by TracFone, an American subsidiary of the Mexican company America Movil, and is not affiliated with Wal-Mart. Because they are unaffiliated companies, they differ in plans, prices and available phones.
Wal-Mart Family Mobile and Straight Talk also differ in which wireless networks they use. Wal-Mart Family Mobile uses T-Mobile's network, while Straight Talk uses all four major U.S. networks: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Which network is used varies based on the type of phone and which network's coverage is strongest in the customer's area.
Wal-Mart Family Mobile and Straight Talk have different international roaming policies. Straight Talk does not offer any form of international roaming, so its customers cannot place calls when overseas. Wal-Mart Family Mobile does offer international roaming for an additional fee.
The two carriers are similar in that they operate exclusively as no-contract wireless carriers. Neither company offers contracts or equipment subsidies; all phones must be brought from another carrier or purchased at full price. Both companies offer starter kits for customers bringing unlocked equipment from other carriers. These kits include a SIM card and all the information needed to activate the device.