Where's My Telephone?
Once you have settled down in a dorm room or an apartment, installing telephone service can
greatly ease communication with family and friends from home, and aid your transition into
your new environment.
Local Phone Service
You must provide your own telephone. You will probably need to buy one here, but don't worry -
an inexpensive phone costs around $20. The service charge for starting phone service is normally about
$40 to $70. One local company provides service for a certain region, so you must find out which company
that is and call them to start service. If you need to install a phone jack, ask your local telephone company
about the cost.
Long Distance and International Phone Service
Choosing a long distance and/or international phone service package can be tricky. Depending on which
you sign up for, calling rates can change at a certain times of the day or days of the week. Check with
your long distance provider so that you are aware of the rates for different calling times. Some companies
charge a flat monthly fee that you must pay each month for service.
Consider where the majority of your phone calls will be placed, whether only on campus, in the local
area or state, throughout the United States, or abroad. Then pick the company or package that will
offer you the best deal on the type of calling that you do the most. Finding the most reasonable rate
to your home country is, obviously, very important.
You might also want to consider Internet access - certain telephone packages include Internet access at
a discounted rate. Check with your telephone company for details.
If installing telephone service is out of the question, or something you want to deal with later on, here
are some alternatives:
Phone or Calling Cards
You can use calling cards from any telephone, public or private by following the instructions on the card
Some calling cards are charged to your phone bill. Such cards are available from major phone companies,
and some smaller companies. Many other smaller companies provide specialized services, for example,
low rates to specific countries or regions.
Another option is to purchase pre-paid phone cards. They come in various denominations, usually $10 or $20.
They can be purchased at convenience stores or gas stations. Also, small grocery stores and gas stations
often sell international pre-paid calling cards. These cards offer very good rates for calls to other countries.
Another advantage is that you know immediately how much you are spending.
Check out our Telecom Center
for low rates on prepaid calling cards, and other information on buying and using all types of calling cards.
Note: Though the rates are generally very good on these cards, be sure to read all of the details.
Some charge a fee when someone picks up the telephone at the number you dialed. This means
that the pre-paid cards you get at conveniance stores are best for longer talks; that way you only get charged
for one or two connections.
So-called "10-10" numbers are very similar to calling cards, with one exception: calls are charged to the
phone from which the calls are placed, so you probably need to use your home telephone, which means that you
must have a local telephone connection.
Note: 10-10 numbers, like some pre-paid calling cards, may also have high connection fees and hidden
charges. Use them carefully.
During an emergency situation, or for the sake of greater convenience, obtaining a cellular (or "cell") phone
is also a possibility. Many cell phone service providers offer discounted packages, sometimes including the
cell phone for free when you sign up with that company for a certain length of time, usually one year.
Need More Information? Check out our Telecom Center!
For more information on these and related issues, check out our
Telecom Center, where we discuss cards, calls, connections,
and, most of all, costs!