Deciding on your cell phone use in the States
While participating in your exchange we recommend purchasing a cell phone or cell phone plan that works in the States. This by no means is a requirement and some exchange students in the past have been just fine only using Wi-Fi when it is available. Wi-Fi will always be available on-campus with your IU Username and passphrase and is accessible in a variety of places around Bloomington.
If you do not have it already, we ask that you download “WhatsApp” as this is the best way for us to contact you before and during your exchange.
Check with your current cell phone provider to see if they offer an international plan to compare your options.
Can I use a phone from another country?
Generally, yes, you can use a phone you already have as long as it is GSM-enabled (Global System for Mobile Communications) and “unlocked” (the SIM card can be removed and replaced and is not tied to a specific carrier).
Prepaid cell phone service
All major cell phone providers in the United States offer prepaid wireless plans. When buying a prepaid service, the provider gives you an agreed upon number of minutes and data per month to use. Payments are usually made monthly but agreements can be different.
Postpaid cell phone service
Postpaid is the more traditional cell phone agreement. When signing up you sign a contract agreeing to pay a certain amount per month for the specific service you requested.
Large deposits are usually required if you do not have a Social Security number, but are normally refunded at some point.
Keep in mind this may not be the best option for a semester exchange as most of these options are longer than a semester.