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Choosing a Cell Phone Plan for Cornell

Guest Blogger: Halee Schomberg ’16
Wondering about how to stay connected on campus so that you can roam without your cell phone doing the same? Senior PA Halee has compiled a guide to cell phone plans and the Mount Vernon area.

With summer here and your college decision made, you’re probably thinking that you’ve got everything figured out for the fall. You’ll soon start checking off items like: comforter, rug, fan, and everything else on the college’s list of “things to bring”. But something that isn’t on that list that is definitely worth thinking about is: which cell phone plan do you have? This may seem like a strange question, I mean, how would your phone plan affect the start of your college experience at Cornell? Well, it just might. It depends if you mind seeing this on your phone screen every time you go to make a call or send a text.

cell phone 2Now, don’t panic. Here are a few friendly tips that will help you in deciding if your cell phone is Cornell College ready or not.


Never AT&T
Don’t get me wrong, AT&T is a widely popular and excellent cell phone provider…just not at Cornell. From everyone here, I’ve been told that AT&T is one of the worst providers you could have while at Cornell. It’s not to say that you would never, ever have service but more often than not you’d be this guy:

Art cell phone plan

Along with AT&T, another provider that works great in big cities but not as well at Cornell College is T-Mobile. These are two providers you may want to steer clear of if you want the best possible service on campus.
Cornell Approved
Now for the important info: the cell phone providers that work. The four most recommended cell phone providers at Cornell are: Verizon, US Cellular, IWireless, and Sprint.
I will attest that with my provider being Verizon, I’ve never had much problem getting service around campus. But if you don’t trust me, check out the page that lists these on Cornell’s IT website.

Another perhaps lesser known provider that I recently learned about is called Ting. I was talking with Brooke Bergantzel who is the Instructional Technology Librarian in the Academic Technology Studio, and she mentioned that Ting has great service in Mount Vernon since it uses Sprint network and is also fairly cheap. So if you’re looking for a more affordable option and want a good network, Ting may be worth looking into!

Now that you have the Cornell College dos and don’ts of cell phone plans and providers, you’re one step closer to starting your Cornell experience! And don’t fret if you have a cell phone plan with a provider that may not work as well on campus, tons of students get by and with Wi-Fi all around campus–there’s always Facebook or Snapchat!

cell phone 3

A comment from Laura: If you don’t have a smart phone, don’t worry about that either! I’ve had the same non-smart phone for years (it’s practically a paper weight, and has been dubbed affectionately ‘the brick’ by my friends) and it’s been fine to have on campus. I have Verizon service, which helps, but like Halee says, with WiFi around campus, you’ll do just fine! With every phone service, you figure out spots where you’ll get the best reception in your room, res hall, or around campus. The “Simba” (holding your phone up as if you’re in the Lion King) is not unseen around campus to make sure a text sends…and sometimes, it helps.