Getting a Telephone
You will need to buy your own telephone when living off-campus. Inexpensive home phones are available at local stores such as Meijer, Target or Best Buy.
Getting a Local Telephone Service
Most people order local service through Comcast, but other companies also offer local phone service. To order local telephone service call a telephone company that provides local service to the Flint area. It is a good idea to review each company’s web site, which usually offer details regarding their service plans (different services offered for a certain price per month). This may help you decide which service you would like and may help when you call the company.
Local Service Providers
Long Distance Service
Long distance service can be arranged through SBC or separately. If you are going to call home often, you will want to choose the company with the best rates for calls to your home country. You might ask students from your home country for their opinions as to which company provides the best service.
To establish long distance service, call the desired company directly after you have arranged for your local phone service. Verify that the carrier provides service to your home country or town. Sample carriers are:
Typically, long distance carriers offer different calling plans (i.e. plans that offer discount calling rates to certain countries during certain hours of the day or on weekends). There is usually a monthly fee for a calling plan. International calling plans to any country are also available.
Once you have called a carrier and chosen a plan, ask the long distance carrier to send you a written confirmation of the calling plan you have requested, which will describe the long distance rates you will pay. Keep the confirmation for your records. You can change your long distance carrier or cancel your calling plan at any time, for any reason.
Calling cards are free when you sign up for service. The phone company provides you with a number that allows you to make calls from any telephone and will bill the call to your home telephone account. Please remember that calling card rates are higher than other services and/or pre-paid cards.
If you need to call home before your phone services are set up, or if you want to call internationally from other phones you can purchase a pre-paid international phone card. Gas stations and shopping centers such as Meijer and Wal-Mart sell phone cards. If you have a credit card you can also purchase calling cards on the internet, from web sites such as:
Some students choose to have a cell phone instead of, or in addition to, their home telephone. There are two types of cell phones, those with pre-paid minutes and those which require you to sign a contract. Contracts provide you with a certain amount of minutes per month for a specific cost. If you plan to stay in the United States for an extended period of time (at least a year) it may be cheaper to sign a contract.
Pre-paid phones can be purchased from places such as:
- Best Buy
- Most major cell phone carriers (such as Sprint, Verizon, AT&T)
General Information and other Telephone Services
International Long Distance Calls
To call another country, you must know that country's international access code. The code can be found in the International Calling section of the SBC phone book, or by calling your long distance carrier. Usually you have to dial 011 before the international access code, but refer to the phone book for exact details.
These are services that require you to dial a special phone number for discount rates for your phone calls. You dial this number first to access the service, and then you dial the number you are calling. You can check web sites, such as http://1010phonerates.com/intl.html for more information, or ask other students for their opinions.
Information on the Web
For detailed information and resources about various long distance services, dial-around, answering machines, wireless telephone plans as well as cellular telephone plans, you can visit http://abtolls.com. Examples of web sites which offer competitive telephone services include:
http://www.workingassets.com (Donates portions of its revenue to non-profit groups)