Cell Phone Options

When selecting a cell phone plan, you have two main options:

  • A two-year contract. Contract plans are more common and offer more phone or plan discounts. However, a Social Security Number (SSN) or an initial deposit is required.
  • A pay-as-you-go plan. These plans have slightly higher rates on outgoing calls and messaging. Pay-as-you-go plans are convenient for international students because there is no SSN requirement.

Wireless plans are also offered from cell phone companies, but please note that plans in the U.S. are different from plans abroad. Be sure to read plan details carefully before purchasing a plan.

The following chart compares the four main cell phone companies. Contact the company directly for the most recent rates and promotions.

AT&T Verizon Sprint T-Mobile
Contract length 2 years 2 years 2 years Not required with monthly rate plan
Contract rates Individual plan: $40-70
Family plan: $60-120
Individual plan: $40-70
Family plan: $70-120
Individual plan: $30-70
Family plan: $70-120
Individual plan: $30-50
Family plan: $60-100
Pay-as-you-go rates $3/day; $60/month (both unlimited) $4/day (unlimited); $45-95/month $2/day; $50/month (both unlimited) $1/day; $15-50/month (both limited)
Required deposit (if no SSN) for contract plan $500, to be refunded after a year. $400, to be refunded after a year. Two forms of identification plus $100, to be refunded after 11 months. $400, to be refunded after a year.
Testimonials "Poor reception on campus;" "Unused minutes can be rolled over to the next month." "Best reception on campus." "Good reception on campus." "Ok reception on campus;" "The store is easily accessible and closest to campus."