Calling Cards

One way to reduce costs is to call using a phone card. 

Some phone cards send monthly bills, while others deduct the cost of phone calls from an initial deposit made by you until the deposit runs out. You can buy these cards anywhere in the U.S., online (at places such as Calling but your best bet would be to talk to someone from your home country, or explore the internet to see which company will work the best in your case. Try Hello College or Skype to compare rates. 



If you live on-campus

Students typically choose to buy a cell-phone. Some companies require customers to have a social security number in order to provide cellular service; some others like do not. Be aware that if you lack credit history in the United States, some companies may require that you make an initial deposit that will be returned to you a year after you first signed your contract.

If you live off-campus

You will need to contact the local telephone service to have your telephone activated. In most cases, your landlord should be able to help with this. You may also want to purchase a long-distance telephone service. There are many companies (called "carriers") that provide long-distance services. Before deciding on one, examine the rates, service to your home country, and any special discount calling programs might offer. 

Mobile/Cellular Phones

A popular option is to buy a cell phone. For more information check AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile or Sprint to figure out which carrier best fits your needs. You may want to check with students who have been here for recommendations regarding coverage, plans and benefits.

Local, Long-Distance and International Calls

All phone numbers in the United States consist of a three-digit area code followed by a seven-digit number. The area code for Waltham is 781. To make a local call (i.e. with the same area code) dial the area code and the seven-digit number. Local calls are normally not billed, or are inexpensive. To dial long-distance within the U.S., dial 1 + area code + seven-digit number. Numbers with an 800, 888 or 866 area code are normally toll-free.  

To make an international call, you must dial 011 first to get outside the U.S. + country code + city code + number you are calling. Long-distance and international calls are often quite expensive, so make sure you know the rates before you dial. Many international students are often shocked and surprised by their first phone bills. To reduce costs, we strongly recommend using a calling card when calling internationally.