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Cell Phones in the United States


Alex Pia

Director of International Student Services

2 E. South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

In the U.S., there are two types of phones—contract phones and prepaid or no-contract phones. Most international students begin by using a prepaid or no-contract phone. If you are bringing an unlocked phone from home, you may be able to purchase a SIM card in the U.S. through AT&T.

If you plan to purchase a phone in the U.S., there are several options in Galesburg, including Walmart, where you can also find monthly no-contract plans through Straight Talk. Other local cell phone providers include Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular

During our orientation program for new international students, you'll have a chance to set up a cell phone—whether you add a SIM card to a phone you're bringing, or purchase a new phone in the U.S.

Contract phones require customers to sign up for a two-year contract with a cell phone provider. Contract phones are generally free or subsidized. Most cell phone companies require a Social Security Number in order to sign up for a contract, although some may accept a cash deposit of several hundred dollars. International students can apply for a Social Security Number when they find a campus job. Once international students have a Social Security Number, it is possible to sign up for a contract phone plan.


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Printed on Saturday, May 18, 2024