By Suzanne Flores,2014-11-17 09:31
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    ARE AT W&L

    By Gyung Jeong14 and Suraj Bajracharya ‘14

    The communications market is constantly changing and it is hard to keep up, but some of our current students have tried to give you some examples of the types of communications that can be used to communicate with your friends and family in the US and abroad.


    The major cell phone companies with the best coverage in the Lexington area and the least problems are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint. AT&T and T-Mobile work with SIM cards and require any type of GSM phone device. Verizon and Sprint do not work with SIM cards and use CDMA instead of GSM. In the US, GSM operates on the primary mobile communication bands 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. That means that any quad band phone device will work. If you have an unlocked GSM cell phone with you and you want to keep using that, it MOST PROBABLY will work in the US. For dual band devices, you have to check what frequencies they support. You may purchase phones online.

    Most companies offer both plans and prepaid package options. Plans are usually cheaper and come with huge discounts on phone devices. However, you cannot get a plan if you do not have credit history in the US unless you pay a $500 one-year deposit.

    Prepaid plans work well too. You can get a monthly-prepaid plan, where you prepay at the beginning of the each month, or you can get a prepaid plan where you put money in your account and can call people until you run out of money. You can top-up your account with more money at any given time as many times as you want. You can do this online or you can buy top-up vouchers from electronics stores in Lexington like RadioShack or even Wal-Mart.

    Prepaid plans are easiest and quickest to get. You can order it online. SIM cards can be bought online too.

     Another good option is if you have any family or friends in the US already on a family plan, you can just add another phone to their plan. This will cost far less. But this would mean limited choice of devices.

AT&T (recommended for calls within the US)

    Works with SIM card, so you can use your cell phone from home. Best coverage in Lexington area. Monthly Individual Plans (known as Nation Plans) and Prepaid Plans are available.

Nation Plans:

    Minutes Monthly Rollover* Unlimited Unlimited Mobile to

    Cost Nights/Weekends Mobile

    450 $39.99/mo. Yes 5000 Yes

    900 $59.99/mo. Yes Yes Yes

    Unlimite$69.99/mo. Forever Yes Yes

    d Unlimited!

    *Rollover If you have minutes left from last month, you can use them this month.

Prepaid Plans:

    Plan Rate Plan Charge All Text Text to Data/mobile

    NationwidMessages Mexico, Web browsing

    e Calls NationwidCanada & 100 (on eligible

    e countries phones) $65 $65.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1 GB Smartphone

    Monthly Plan

    with Data

    $50 Monthly $50.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited


    $25 Monthly $25.00/mo. 250 Unlimited Unlimited 1? per 5KB or Plan minutes buy package

    included data

    $2 Daily $2.00/day Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1? per 5 KB Unlimited ONLY on days

    Plan used

    10?/Minute N/A 10?/min. 20?/msg. 25?/msg. sent 1? per 5 KB Plan or buy a 20?/msg.

    package* received

    *Messaging Packages:

     200 messages - $4.99/mo.

     1000 messages - $9.99/mo.

     Unlimited - $19.99/mo.

    **Data Packages:

     1 GB - $25.00

     200 MB - $15.00

     50 MB - $5.00

    International long distance package (to call to a land line phone overseas):

     250 minutes - $10.00/mo.

    For more details, please check these links:


    Prepaid Pay As You Go:

    Text: 10? to send receive texts Pay Minutes Cost per min. Duration

     25? to send receive pictures and videos $100 1000 10?/min. 1 year (MMS) $50 400 13?/min. 90 days $30 160 19?/min. 90 days $10 30 33?/min. 90 days

Prepaid Monthly4G plans:

    Plan Cost Talk Text Web

    Unlimited 4G Web, $70.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (up to 4G

    Talk and Text speeds)

    Unlimited Talk, Text $60.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (first 2 GB at

    & High Speed up to 4G speeds)


    Unlimited Talk, Text $50.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (first 100 MB

    & Web at up to 4G speeds)

    Unlimited Web & $30.00/mo. 100 minutes Unlimited Unlimited (first 5 GB at

    Text with 100 up to 4G speeds)

    minutes Talk

    1500 Talk & Text $30.00/mo. 1500 minutes OR 1500 30 MB

    with 30 MB of Data messages

    The T-Mobile plans mentioned above are no-contract plans. You would buy your phone at full price and buy the above plans. T-Mobile SIM cards can be bought to use these plans on your own GSM supported phones. There also exist phones with 2-year contracts. Phones are cheap, but plans are expensive. Also, do not forget the $500 initial deposit if you do not have a credit history in the US. For details, please visit:


    Verizon works on CDMA and so, you will NOT be able to use your cell phone you bring from home, if you do so. You will have to buy a Verizon 4G certified device and purchase a plan or purchase a phone with a 2-year contract. Contract plans depend on the device you choose. Prepaid plans are straightforward as follows. Also, you will be buying a phone with the plan you choose: Prepaid Monthly Plans:

    Plan Price Talk Text/MMS Web

    Prepaid $50 Unlimited $50.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

    Prepaid Smartphone $70.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited 2 GB


    Prepaid Smartphone $60.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited 500 MB


    Prepaid Pay As You Go Plans:

    Plan Access Price Verizon to Minutes Text MMS Web


    $1.99/day Unlimited Unlimited 2? 25? 99?/day Daily Plans 99?/day Unlimited 10? 10? 25? 99?/day

    Per Minute 0? 25? 25? 20? 25? 99?/day

Details here:


    Like Verizon, Sprint doesn’t support GSM. So you will have to buy a phone AND a plan. Check for contract plans.

    Sprint No-contract Plans:

    Plan Price Minutes Messaging Data Plan

    Unlimited Basic $50.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

    Unlimited $70.00/mo. Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited


    For details:


    Wal-Mart, a grocery chain store in Lexington, offers no-contract cell phones. Their plans come with different prices, depending on the type of cell phone you buy. The catch, the customer is obliged to buy only that cell phone set which is eligible for no-contracts. There are a lot of different options for cell phones, ranging from the most classic, sturdy, robust flip phones to the most expensive, fancy, fastest, smartphones. You get initial minutes once you buy the phone and you can then buy more minutes as needed. For more details on this, please visit:


    Boost Mobile

    Another CDMA network, Boost reduces your prices every month if you pay your bills on time. All the following plains include unlimited nationwide talk, text, web, 411, IM & email, with no contracts. Voicemail, long distance and call waiting are included, all backed by a dependable nationwide network.

Plan Starting Price Shrinks to

    Monthly Unlimited $50.00/mo. $35.00/mo.

    Android Monthly Unlimited (includes Unlimited access to Google $55.00/mo. $40.00/mo.


    BlackBerry Monthly Unlimited (includes BlackBerry Messenger) $60.00/mo. $45.00/mo.

    BlackBerry Messenger Unlimited $45.00/mo. $30.00/mo.

    Talk & Text Unlimited* $45.00/mo. $30.00/mo.

    *This plan has the following additional costs:

     E-mail: 99?/day

     Messaging: 99?/day

     411 Directory Assistance: $1.29/day

     GPS: $2.99/day OR $9.99/mo.

    International connect: $5.00/mo. + international rate finder:


    Another good and recommended option is to make calls, especially international ones, over the Internet. There are numerous programs and services that provide this. All you need is a computer with a microphone and speakers/headset. You can also use a cell phone device that has Internet access. However, you need a newer phone model so you can install the required application.

    Skype is the most popular VoIP application. When you are calling another computer with Skype, calls are free. For calling landlines you have two options. You can subscribe for only $3 per month and get unlimited calls to US and Canada landlines and cell phones. You can also get unlimited world calls at different rates for each country. For a particular country, please check the website:

    In this case, you also get a phone number, so other people can call you at anytime when you are logged in.

    The other option is to put money in your account and call anyone in the US, for example, for as low as 2 cents per minute. Call rates to other countries vary, but are still very cheap. As with any other prepaid service, you can buy more credit for your account at any given time. However, you do not have a phone number and people cannot call you.

Google Voice

    Google Voice is similar to Skype.

    When you register, you can choose your number. Calling through Internet is free but if you want to call a landline, then you have to pay, which is a reasonable amount (it is usually from 2 cents to 30 cents per min). Basically, you have to purchase credits (minutes) in order to make phone calls.

     To check how to make international calls, go to:

     For rates, please visit:

Magic Jack

    The magicJack device allows you to receive free in-bound communications from other magicJack device users anywhere in the world while connected to the magicJack service

    To enable your use of the magicJack device, or magicTalk you must first download the magicJack Software and/or magicTalk software. Some enhanced features also require you to purchase the magicJack device or magicTalk Preferred plan.

     Incoming Calls: When you first register, as part of the available features, you may elect to

    choose a unique phone number, which will allow you to receive free phone calls over the

    Internet. Outgoing Calls: You can make free calls to other magicJack device users located

    anywhere in the world, and to subscribers on traditional telephone networks or wireless

    networks in the United States.

     The MagicJack device allows you to receive for free incoming calls using the phone number you

    have chosen. If you choose outgoing service, the magicJack device allows you to make free

    outgoing calls to other magicJack/magicTalk device users located anywhere in the world, and to

    subscribers on traditional telephone networks or cellular networks in the United States.

    ; Payment: Your purchase of the magicJack device or download of magicTalk and

    registration of the magicJack device and/or magicTalk gives you a license to use

    the magicJack and the Software and/or magicTalk for one year. magicJack costs

    $39.95 plus shipping and handling for one year of free local and long distance

    calling to the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. You

    can purchase an additional year of service for $19.95.

    Making calls to countries outside the US and Canada on magicJack:

    ; Call from your magicJack from any country to the U.S. and Canada and the call is free.

    ; Call from a magicJack to a magicJack in any country and the call is free.

    ; Call from the U.S. or Canada to the U.S. or Canada and the call is free.

    ; Call from your magicJack to another country, other than the U.S. or Canada, and you must

    prepay for international minutes--- for the international rates go to:

    ; All these info are from from a magicJack to a

    magicJack in any country and the call is free.

    ; Call from the U.S. or Canada to the U.S. or Canada and the call is free.

    ; Call from your magicJack to another country, other than the U.S. or Canada, and you must

    prepay for international minutes--- for the international rates go to:

    ; All these info are from

Discounted Calls

    It is basically a ‘call back service’. It offers discounted calls to many countries at varying rates.

    Some countries are 2? a minute and some cost as much as $1 a minute.

    Another discounted phone service for as little as 2? a minute, with a 49? connection fee per call.

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