Getting a Home Phone in the US



In the US, having a phone is extremely important. Of course, you need it to stay connected with your friends and family, but most importantly, you will need it in emergency situations such as fires, theft, or when you are lost.

As an international student you might wonder, should I get a Cell phone or should I stay with home phone.This section will help you to make up your mind.

Related Links
  Getting a Home Phone
  Getting a Cell Phone
  Buying Calling Cards
  Getting Internet
  Postal Service in the US




Advantages of a Home phone

Disadvantages of a Home phone

Getting a Home phone

Getting a Hand set

Selecting a Home phone plan

FAQ's

I am new student. Can I subscribe for a home phone right away after my arrival in the US?

Do I have to sign a contract?

How do I pay for the home phone service?

Aren't there public telephones in the US?

 

Advantages of a home phone

The advantage of having a home phone is that it is much cheaper than a cell phone. Some companies even provide a plan, which includes home phone service along with a dial-up / DSL internet connection at a very reasonable cost. Moreover, most home phone plans offer an unlimited time for local call, i.e., you can call to anyone in that local area and speak for as long as you want. You are not charged for toll free numbers as well. Therefore, if you use a calling card to make an international call, you don't have to worry about the phone bill as long as you use a toll free access number to call internationally. Sometimes your plan may not include the option of calling to another location (example, another city) within the US. In this case, if you are not making a local call, i.e., calling to a different city, you will have to use a calling card. You can buy calling cards that will charge only 1 cent per minute for a call within the US.

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Disadvantages of a home phone

The drawback of a home phone obviously is that you cannot carry it around when you are away from home, so if are outside and you need to make an emergency call, you will have to find a public phone. You will also have to always carry your phone book along with you.

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Getting a Home phone line

You can easily find a home phone service provider from the internet by typing "local phone" or "phone company" on the search engine website. After you find one that you like, you will have to contact the service providers (you can get their contact number on their web site). You may have to provide your personal information such as your address, Social Security number, etc. You can then select a plan. It will probably take around 1 - 2 weeks for the service to set up.

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Getting a Hand set

You can buy hand sets in most retail store / department stores. The hand sets are usually very cheap. You can buy it for about $10. You can also buy it on-line if you like.

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Selecting a Home phone plan

Generally, phone service providers have various plans to satisfy different needs. You will have to check with individual companies about the different available plans. You can also find information on their web sites.

Please note that most plans will have unlimited incoming calls facility. Most plans also allow for unlimited calling for numbers with the same area code. But, they will charge you extra for calls made to different area codes, though they are made within the US. Many students also subscribe for dial up internet service along with their home phone plans. Some also buy plans that have international calling facility. However this plan is costly, so it is always better to use calling cards to make an international call.

Whatever plan you select, please make sure to read all the terms and conditions of the contract.

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FAQ's

I am new student. Can I subscribe for a home phone right away after my arrival in the US?

Maybe not, because most phone service providers require you to submit your social security number. Some companies also require you to have a Credit card from a major US Credit card company. Also some companies may refuse you an account because you do not have any credit history and they don't want to take any risk.

In this case, you can probably request your room mate (if you have one and he has a Social Security Number) to get the Home phone service. You can then share the bill with him. However, some companies will provide service to you even if you do not have a social security number. You should check with your service provider regarding this.

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Do I have to sign a contract?

Most home phone plan does not does not require you to sign a contract. It means that you can start and cancel your service anytime you want.

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How do I pay for the home phone service?

The service provider will mail you the phone bill every month. They will also send you an envelope with their address on it. You can simply write a check and mail them the envelope with the check. You can also pay the bill online using your credit or debit card. Some providers also have the facility wherein they will deduct the bill directly from your bank account or credit card account. This way, even if you forget to pay, they will make sure that the amount has been deducted from your specified account and that you receive uninterrupted phone service.

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Aren't there public telephones in the US?

Of course, there are public telephones in the US. You will find them mostly in public places such as in the Universities, near shopping malls, gas stations, etc. But, you won't find public telephones everywhere, for example in residential areas. You need to have a change of 50 cents for making local calls within the US using a public telephone. You cannot use public telephones to make international calls, unless you are calling using a calling card that has a toll free access number.

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