3 Things to Consider When Shopping for a US Phone Plan
We read the fine print so that you don’t have to.
Getting mobile phone connectivity is one of the first and most important purchases for new international students moving to the US. With over a dozen different cellular service providers, international students often purchase complex and expensive plans that simply don’t meet their needs. Over the past few months, we talked to over 250+ current international students and have come up with a list of the 3 most common things to look out for when shopping for connectivity.
Research from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2018, the average US consumer spent approximately $1,200 per year on cellular service - these costs have continued to increase over the last several years. Your actual monthly bill can vary quite a bit from marketed rates once you account for device installment payments, taxes, and roaming, international, and overage fees.
2. Hybrid Monthly Device Plans
Many international students purchase a new smartphone when they arrive in the US and are often attracted to promotional offers for new smartphones. Be aware that in many cases, you will end up paying for that phone one way or another as new phone promotions often come with 30-month fixed contracts. You may end up paying a higher monthly fee while also being locked to a single carrier until your phone is “paid off”.
3. Lack of Flexibility
Remember that as an international student, you might spend three to four months of the year outside the US to travel home, go on vacation, or even pursue internships and study abroad opportunities. Most contracts make it difficult to pause your service if you’re not using it, especially if you’ve taken a new phone promo offer as well. Even just 2 months a year of paid, unused service adds up to almost $500 over the course of a 4 year program!
Onboard is launching the first phone plan designed for international students in the US. We provide convenient mobile connectivity that’s affordable, flexible, and easy to set up. Read more about What to expect with Onboard Mobile and subscribe to the Onboard Bulletin to stay up to date with upcoming product announcements.
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