Best Cell Phone Plans for International Students Studying in the US

International students on college campusHaving a reliable cell phone plan is a great convenience for international students currently staying in the United States. Cell phone plans have decreased in costs since the early 2010s as a result of increased competition and an increase of telecommunications bandwidth.

Today, international students in the US have a lot of options to pick from, and for less than they would have if they were here 5 years ago. With so many options, picking the right plan can get confusing. Company pricing tends to vary due to cell phone and monthly plan options. To help you make an informed decision, here are some of the best plans available for international students like yourself.

Simple Mobile

Simple Mobile is a prepaid no contract provider that offers cell phone plans ranging from $25 to $60 a month. International students can save even further by opting to automatically recharge their account each month. The $25 a month plan includes unlimited calling, texting and 1 GB of high speed data. Once the high speed data is used up, the speed goes into 2G. For higher data caps, they have plans going all the up to truly unlimited for $60. With the proliferation of campus wifi, students can adjust their plan costs to reflect their data needs.

What’s stands out about Simple Prepaid is that their plans include international texting and international calling to a number of countries like Mexico, Canada, China and India. For other countries, customers can access low rates by adding a global calling card.

  • $25 a month for unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of high-speed data.
  • Other plan options to suit a variety of budgets and high-speed data needs.
  • Truly Unlimited high-speed data plan.
  • Reliable service using the T-Mobile network (they have a virtual network agreement)
  • No US credit score needed
  • No contract, stop service or upgrade/downgrade plan anytime
  • Works with unlocked GSM phones

 

Total Wireless

Total Wireless provides a 35-dollar monthly mobile phone plan package with unlimited call and text, plus 5GB of high-speed data. It’s perfect for international students with moderate data needs and don’t need a pricier cell phone plan. With this low-cost option offered by Total Wireless, students can enjoy a stable connection and keep in touch with their family and friends.

If you need more data, you can buy additional data card for $10 each. These carryover without a fixed deadline, until such a time when you decide to no longer continue with their services. There are also different phone payment plan packages to help customers spread out their payments within the year.

  • $35 a month for unlimited talk, text and 5 GB of high-speed data
  • Option to add 3 GB of high-speed data @ $10 (will carryover until you stop service)
  • Reliable service using the Verizon network (they have a virtual network agreement)
  • No credit check, very easy to get started (Prepaid Service)
  • No contract, stop service anytime
  • Global calling card for $10, call internationally for low cost
  • Bring your own CDMA phone – use the same phone here and in your home country

 

Tracfone

TracFone offers quality mobile phone services which are highly reliable at an affordable price along with the much-needed flexibility. For students on a budget or those who do not need to use their phones much, this is a welcome option. A smartphone plan costs starts a $15 a month.

TracFone is the largest prepaid mobile service provider in the US with almost 26 million subscribers under its belt. They also operate the Total Wireless service listed above. For newcomers to TracFone, you might be a bit skeptical since its low cost of $15 a month for service appears almost too good to be true. In fact, it is not, as TracFone plans have limits on the calls, text and data usage. It’s economical for customers who do not need unlimited call and text plans.

Many international students on a budget find it worthwhile because they can save more each month. As their communications needs are easily met through campus wifi and communications apps that work through their phone, they can cut down on traditional calling, texting and the use of mobile data.

  • From $15 a month for limited talk, text, data (see price comparison chart)
  • Reliable service using the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks (they have a virtual network agreement)
  • No credit check, very easy to get started (Prepaid Service)
  • No contract, stop service anytime
  • International calls to many countries worldwide at US rates (ie. in many cases, it costs the same to call US or the student’s home country)
  • Bring your own GSM/CDMA phone – use the same phone here and in your home country

 

Verizon

In the US, Verizon is the leading network which many cell phone owners use. When it comes to quality performance, it provides the best wireless network in all six regions according to research firm JD Power. Some of the advantages include: mobile hotspot and video streaming without additional fees. A Verizon plan typically includes unlimited talk and text, unlimited or limited data, video streaming, mobile hotspot tethering, Mexico and Canada service (premium plans).

Students can either choose the U unlimited plan or other more inexpensive options such as S for 2GB, M for 4GB, and L for 8GB cell phone plan. They also have prepaid plans that cost $40 a month, with unlimited talk, text and 3 GB of high speed data. Depending on the features that you need, you will have to pay a monthly fee of from $35 to $80 per line – plus taxes and other fees.

  • Plans range from $35 to $80 a month. All include unlimited talk and text.
  • Verizon is considered by many to be the best network.
  • No credit check if you go prepaid.
  • All Verizon Plans are no contract plans. However, if you are making monthly payments on the phone you buy through them, that is a separate two-year contract plan that needs to be paid off over time.
  • International calls at low rates with international calling plan.
  • Bring your own CDMA phone – use the same phone here and in your home country

 

StraightTalk

Another great option is StraightTalk since it offers a variety of plans, but without the need for contracts. The available plans include $35 with 2GB data and unlimited call and text nationwide, $45 with 8GB data and unlimited call and text nationwide, $55 with 12GB data and unlimited call and text nationwide, $60 with 8GB data and unlimited call and text worldwide, $30 with 100MB data and unlimited texts, $10 with international calling cards, and the extended plan with 8GB data and unlimited call and text nationwide.

You can use this plan with your own phone, under their bring your own phone program.

 

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless offers cellphone plans that are fairly affordable for a student on a budget. The plans costs between $15 and $90 every month. The package would include unlimited call, text, and mobile data. A pretty basic, but this is all a student really needs to always stay connected. The phone units for each plan starts at $179, however this is only available for Android phones. No contracts are needed when choosing a Republic Wireless cell phone plan.

T-Mobile Prepaid

With Simply Prepaid by T-Mobile Prepaid, students can enjoy up to 10 GB of LTE within a limited period for only $50 per month. For 4 GB of LTE, you will pay $45 per month. Another option is the $55 monthly fee with 6 GB of LTE. Offers include unlimited call and text, fastest network, phone options, and choice to keep your phone number. Stateside international calls cost $15 per month while the unlimited call to Mexico and Canada costs $5 per month.

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