The purpose of this page is to give a broad overview of the subject and should not be considered an authoritative resource. No company listed is affiliated with or endorsed by UNC-CH.
Students and scholars will likely want to purchase a cell phone in the U.S. if they did not bring one with them from their home country. There are a few options available for cell phone service:
- Pre-Paid: This option is for those who don’t want to enter into a long-term contract with a cell phone company. This allows the student/scholar to add minutes to a cell phone to use it without any commitment. Several companies offer this option and some of these pre-paid phones can be found in local grocery stores or other stores such as Wal-Mart or Target.
- Long-term contract: This option generally requires a deposit, which can be around $500.00. Most companies offer this option. Students/Scholars should not need a Social Security Number (SSN) to take advantage of this option.
- Apartment Telephone Service: There are several companies that provide telephone service to your residence. As with the cell phone contracts, you will likely have to pay a high deposit to start a contract with these companies.
- Pre-Paid Phone Cards: These cards can be purchased at most local grocery stores and will allow you to make calls overseas. Keep in mind that if you use a pre-paid phone card to call from your cell phone, you will also be deducted for minutes used. It is best to use these from a land line but confirm with your service provider that there will be no additional charges.
- Dial 919 area code for calls within the Triangle area. (Be careful when dialing. If you dial “911” instead you will get the police. Do not hang up or they will call you back. Just let them know you dialed by mistake).
- Calls outside of this area must be dialed using a “1” then the area code corresponding to that location.
- Toll free calls start with 1-800, 1-866, 1-877, 1-888. These are usually free of charge. Calls with 1-900 are often very expensive.