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Your phone is important. You can keep in touch with family & friends, get help in an emergency, or order pizza!
Sadly, this only works if you have a phone number.

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.

Internet Access

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.

"10-10" Numbers

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.

Cellular Phones

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!

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