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Telephone

U-M Housing Phones

Residence Halls and Northwood Community Apartments

Residence Halls
The phone in your residence hall room should be in operation when you arrive and can be used for local Ann Arbor area calls. However, if you would like to call long distance, you will need to obtain your authcode. If you have additional questions, ask at the front desk of your residence hall.
Northwood Community Apartments
Student Telephone Services links to information about phones, rates and repairs.

Home Phone

Getting a Telephone

You will need to buy your own telephone when living off-campus. Inexpensive home phones are available at local stores such as Meijer, Target or Best Buy.

Getting Local Telephone Service

Most people order local service through AT&T, but other companies also offer local phone service. To order local telephone service, call a telephone company that provides local service to the Ann Arbor area. It is a good idea to review each company’s web site, which usually offer details regarding their service plans (different services offered for a certain price per month). This may help you decide which service you would like and may help when you call the company.

Getting Local Telephone Service from AT&T

Instructions for setting up telephone service through AT&T are provided below. If you choose to use another company, you can use the steps below as a general guideline for what to expect from other companies. To order phone service, call AT&T at 1.800.288.2020 or visit the AT&T web site. It's a good idea to order your phone service as soon as you know your Ann Arbor address.

Before Calling. Be sure that you have at least two valid pieces of identification (at least one must be a photo ID, like drivers license or passport). Examples of valid ID include:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Home country identification card
  • Social security number (The number is used to check your credit history; if you do not have one explain to the operator that you are new to the country. Provide your passport number instead.)
  • U.S. driver's license or official state identification card
  • Form I-94

Questions. AT&T may also ask you any one of these general questions:

  • Your name, date of birth, and local address.
  • Have you had prior service with AT&T?
  • What is your social security number? If you don't have one, tell them the type of identification you are using. It is best to use your passport if you do not have a social security number.
  • What is the name, address and telephone number of a close family member in your home country?
  • Where are you employed? If you are not employed and if you attend classes at the U-M, tell them you are a student.
  • Who will be providing your long distance service? You can say that you do not know or that you do not plan to order long distance service.
  • Do you want your number listed in the phone book or not? An unlisted phone number will cost an extra amount monthly.
  • Is there a phone number where the company can call or leave a message should any difficulties arise during the installation process? If you don't have a phone number that you can give, you can use the U-M International Center's number, 734.764.9310.
  • Do you want extra options? There is usually an extra monthly fee for extra options. Examples of extra services include call waiting (allows you to receive other calls while you are talking on the phone with another caller), caller ID (displays the name and the number of the person calling you), and voice mail (functions like an answering machine, so people can leave you messages when you cannot answer the phone), etc. If you would like more information on these services visit the AT&T web site.

Additional Requirements. AT&T may ask for additional information. Be prepared to fax the following to the AT&T Customer Verification Center at 1.800.257.0701. AT&T will use this information to verify their accounts. To request service, call at least 48 hours after you have faxed this information. Tell them you have already faxed the above information to the Customer Verification Center.

  • Your name.
  • A photocopy of your passport photo page and Social Security Card (if available).
  • A statement saying you are requesting telephone service in the State of Michigan.

Once you have completed all the necessary steps in the process, the operator will tell you your new telephone number and the date it will go in to effect. It usually takes 2 business days to check references and 1-2 days to install.

*You can change the services or plans provided by your local or long distance companies at any time.

Long Distance Service and International Calls

Long distance service can be arranged through AT&T or separately. If you are going to call home often, you will want to choose the company with the best rates for calls to your home country. It's a good idea to ask students from your home country for their opinions as to which company provides the best service.

Establishing Service.To establish long distance service, call the desired company directly after you have arranged for your local phone service. Verify that the carrier provides service to your home country or town. Sample carriers are:

  • Comcast 800.266.2278 (only provides service to home addresses, not apartments).
  • Verizon 800.483.4000

Typically, long distance carriers offer different calling plans (i.e. plans that offer discount calling rates to certain countries during certain hours of the day or on weekends). There is usually a monthly fee for a calling plan. International calling plans to any country are also available.

Once you have called a carrier and have chosen a plan, ask the long distance carrier to send you a written confirmation of the calling plan you have requested, which will describe the long distance rates you will pay. Keep the confirmation for your records. You can change your long distance carrier or cancel your calling plan at any time for any reason.

Other Options

Calling Cards
Calling cards are free when you sign up for service. The phone company provides you with a number that allows you to make calls from any telephone and will bill the call to your home telephone account. Please remember that calling card rates are higher than other services and/or pre-paid cards.
Pre-paid phone cards
If you need to call home before your phone services are set up, or if you want to call internationally from other phones you can purchase a pre-paid international phone card. Some places near campus that sell phone cards are Michigan Book and Supply, the Michigan Union Bookstore, and Kroger grocery stores. If you have a credit card you can also purchase calling cards on the internet, from web sites such as:
www.callingcardplus.com
www.comfi.com
www.zaptel.com

Cell Phone

Some students choose to have a cell phone instead of, or in addition to, their home telephone. There are two types of cell phones: those with pre-paid minutes and those which require you to sign a contract. Contracts provide you with a certain amount of minutes per month for a specific cost. If you plan to stay in the United States for an extended period of time (at least a year) it may be cheaper to sign a contract. Keep in mind that if you sign a contract and if you also do not have a social security number, you may have to pay a security deposit to sign a contract.

Pre-Paid Phones

Pre-paid phones can be purchased from places such as:

  • Best Buy
  • Target
  • Most major cell phone carriers (such as Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T)

Cell Phones

There are several providers of cellular phones in the Ann Arbor area; call or check their web sites to locate a dealer near you.

General Information and Other Telephone Services

International Long Distance Calls

To call another country, you must know that country's international access code. The code can be found in the International Calling section of the AT&T phone book, or by calling your long distance carrier. Usually you have to dial 011 before the international access code, but refer to the phone book for exact details.

Dial-Around Services

These are services that require you to dial a special phone number for discount rates for your phone calls. You dial this number first to access the service, and then you dial the number you are calling. You can check web sites, such as http://1010phonerates.com/intl.html for more information, or ask other students for their opinions.

Information on the Web

Examples of web sites which offer competitive telephone services include:

  • abtolls.com Detailed information and resources about various long distance services, dial-around, answering machines, wireless telephone plans as well as cellular telephone plans.
  • workingassets.com Donates portions of its revenue to non-profit groups.

Last reviewed: 09/14