It seems to be confirmed by now that Wal-Mart is about to start G1 anytime soon, for a price that is at least $30 less than what T-Mobile is selling G1 for. Seems to be a no-brainer on the surface, but the reality may turn out even more exciting.
List price for G1 at T-Mobile site today is $399. However, T-Mobile reps I've talked about outright refuse to sell me a G1 at that price, claiming that the only way for me to buy the phone is "upgrade" (there' two not-so-white lies related to that: one, obvious, is the 2 year contract, and the other is the $18 "upgrade fee" - T-Mobile consistently forgets to mention it or prints it in a font size so small I can't read it, so it is an unpleasant surprise every time).
Then there's a claim (biased since it's coming from T-Mobile reps, but can't be proven true or false until G1 actually does start selling at Wal-Mart) that Wal-Mart's contract will be even more restrictive than T-Mobile's is, since it is a "subcontract".
Well, the only parallel I can draw today is that the same phone T-Mobile was willing to sell to me outside of the contract for $70 was available at Wal-Mart for $30, no strings attached. That's 42% of T-Mobile's price.
Granted, it was a cheap (though very common and reliable) phone, and G1 definitely doesn't fall into the same category. However, it would be interesting to see what exactly string would be attached to G1 when it starts selling - all in all, Wal-Mart with its colossal exposure and the same target audience as iPhone simply can afford to sell it without strings for the advertised price, just for the hell of it.
Let's see if they actually do. Stay tuned.