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Getting a Cell Phone

There are two different main options for getting a U.S. cell phone number. Both options are similar and might require more research to decide which is the best for you.

Cell Phone with Contract

The main type of cell phone plans are ones with a contract. You pay a set fee for your cell phone usage but are normally unable to cancel the payments until your contract expires.

Cell Phone without Contract (*)

Often called pay as you go or pre-paid phones are an alternative plan that allows you to pay month to month based on your cell phone usage (calls, texts, data). These are often lower cost and options if you plan on staying short term or returning during the summers.

Unlike most of the world, some U.S. carriers use CDMA networks which do not work with international cell phones. If you want to use an international phone here, you will probably need to select a GSM carrier. If you are not sure, you can use this website to check compatibility.

Common Cell Phone Companies

  • Mint Mobile (GSM)*
  • AT&T (GSM)*
  • Verizon (CDMA)
  • T-Mobile (GSM)*
  • Sprint (CDMA)
  • Cricket (GSM)*
  • U.S. Cellular (CDMA)
  • Boost (CDMA)*
  • Straight Talk (GSM)*

* = No Contract