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Internet + Phone provider US


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Hey all, I'm an international student who's going to start their PhD in the US next fall. I found a few threads on the topic, but couldn't find a full answer to my issue.

As I am planning on staying for quite a while, I was wondering if there exists, in the US, an affordable plan that includes internet and mobile phone (with internet access), or if I need two separate contracts. I'm not interested in having a TV, I've lived without throughout my undergrad and grad life.

Cheers.

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It is common to do two separate contracts. Bundles are meant for discounts. I haven't tried it myself, but in NC it seems possible to do a bundle phone+internet plan with AT&T. This depends on the specific region you are at though. You might have to check the new student guide from your school/graduate student union. 

In most cases an internet-only package is available. Just make sure your apartment is not forcing you to buy a cable plan.

Edited by schenar
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Yes, there are some providers that offer both Internet and mobile phone (AT&T is one that comes to mind). However, there is rarely any bundled discounts for doing so. I think you are better off finding the best provider for both Home Internet and Mobile Phone independently, since you will likely save more money that way and get a plan that you like. Often, the internet providers available to you vary from location to location while phone providers are nationwide (i.e. more choices).

My favourite US phone provider is Google! Look up "Project Fi". It's perfect for my phone needs when I was in the US (i.e. basic phone functions plus a little bit of mobile internet data since I am almost always connected to WiFi at home and at work). Their plans cost $20 for the basic phone functions (calls, text, voicemail, etc.) and then $10 per GB of data. The data/internet is charged to the $0.01 or nearest 10 MB (instead of many other providers requiring you to purchase a "bucket" e.g. 4 GB and charge you the same no matter how much you use). So, I usually used between 0.75 to 1.25 GB of data per month, which meant I paid about $27.50 to $32.50 per month for my phone. 

There is a catch though: You must be using one of Google's newest phones to have this plan. I love their phones so that was fine with me (I purchased and am still using a Nexus 5X for this plan; but they don't sell those anymore).

A few other things I was not used to re: US phone companies. 1) The only long distance is out of the country (in Canada, calling outside of your city is often long distance!) and 2) most plans have unlimited talk/text (including the Google plan I mentioned).

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Oh forgot to mention---for home internet, each apartment building needs to be connected to whatever network you're using. So even if AT&T or whatever company is operating in your city, if your actual building isn't wired for that company, you won't be able to use it (or you may have to pay them a big fee to set it up). So definitely just find the best contracts separately and if they happen to be the same company, great!

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You could get a cellphone plan that offers unlimited data and use the phone as a wifi hotspot when you're using your laptop. In my experience Verizon has the best internet coverage for mobile devices.

Most people pay 2 different services: a phone plan and home internet plan, but in theory you could use your phone's mobile data for your home needs as well.

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Just a note that using your phone's mobile data as a hotspot for internet may not be included in some US provider's "unlimited internet plan". But I know that people can definitely do this, just be certain that if you plan on doing this, your mobile plan supports it!

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Thanks for all your lovely replies. This actually helps. The plan with my current mobile phone includes unlimited calls and texts and 1GB data: I hardly ever used more, so I'll definitely consider Google's option. I was also thinking about hotspot, but I really need to see the speed there. I'm too used to the 150 mbps WiFi in my apartment (shared, it's pretty cheap) and I wouldn't want to go down to 1 mb or even less, especially because I prefer working at home rather than going to the library/office. I'll see, if I find a phone plan that includes 10-20 mbps and I can save some money with that, I'll definitely consider this way as well.

 

5 hours ago, TakeruK said:

A few other things I was not used to re: US phone companies. 1) The only long distance is out of the country (in Canada, calling outside of your city is often long distance!)

And I thought globalisation had made everything the same, I didn't even consider that in the West there could be a place were calls in the same country are considered "long distance". Thanks for this tip.

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