Cell Phones & Internet

Cell phone providers

If you would like a cell phone plan in the U.S., we recommend purchasing cell phones and service from official stores affiliated with cell phone companies. Many cell phone providers require two year contracts. If you will be in the U.S. for a limited time, you may want to avoid a contract and instead purchase a pay-as-you-go plan. Examples of cell phone providers and retailers include:

  • AT&T Wireless (407 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI ) 
  • Best Buy (3100 Lohr Rd, Ann Arbor, MI ) 
  • Sprint/Nextel (Briarwood Mall, 100 Briarwood Cir D117, Ann Arbor, MI) 
  • Target (2000 W Waters Rd, Ann Arbor, MI) 
  • T-Mobile (Briarwood Mall, 444 Briarwood Cir F123, Ann Arbor, MI & 200 E. Washington Ave, Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Verizon Wireless (212 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI) 
  • Virgin Mobile(3100 Lohr Rd, Ann Arbor, MI) 

Getting by with Wi-Fi

There are a number of free smartphone apps which you can use to stay connected. The U-M campus offers free Wifi (connect using uniqname and password), as well as some restaurants, bars, shops, etc. Phone plans can be expensive, and with access to free Wifi on campus, consider what works best for you! The following phone applications are great ways to stay connected:

  • WhatsApp – this app is popular among many international students, but not all U.S. students use WhatsApp. Not only can you send messages for free over Wifi, but you can also call for free. The next two apps are more popular among U.S. college students: GroupMe and Facebook Messenger.
  • GroupMe –this app works similarly to WhatsApp (free messages over Wifi) but calling is not offered. You can also make group conversations, set group pictures, and “like” messages. It is accessible on computers and tablets, and if you don’t have the GroupMe app, you can still be added to groups and chats through SMS text.
  • Facebook Messenger –most U.S. students are on Facebook, therefore, Facebook Messenger is a great way to stay connected with them. There is a “Facebook” app, and a “Facebook Messenger” app dedicated only to messages. Send free messages and make free calls when connected to Wifi!

Internet at home

If your housing does not already come with an internet connection, it is important make arrangements as soon as you know your Ann Arbor address to ensure that you will have a functioning internet connection soon after you arrive. If you are living in an apartment, please check with your housing office or landlord to verify which internet provider company services your building.

The most common internet providers in Ann Arbor are Xfinity and AT&T. Internet providers often offer a number of plans and rates. It is encouraged to research these options before you purchase one and understand all of the terms and conditions prior to purchase.