Global Brown
International Students and Scholars

If you are renting an apartment or house you will want to check with your landlord first. Also, depending if you are renting a furnished or unfurnished apartment/house, you may need to obtain furniture for your usage. 

Basic Utilities

Basic utilities can include electricity, water, gas/oil heat, trash, etc. Depending on your rental contract you may be responsibile for all utilities, some utilities or none. Make sure you are clear with the landlord about what needs to be paid by you and, possibly, what utility accounts need to be set up in your name. 

National Grid (Gas + Electric)
1-800-322-3223
Call to have the electricity in your home or apartment turned on. Typically you will have to pay a deposit to start electric services. If appliances in your home use gas to operate (stove, furnace, etc.) you will need to have the gas line opened to your home or apartment.

Providence Water Department (Water)
401-521-5070
Contact to have the water lines to your home or apartment opened. Typically you will have to pay a deposit to start service.

Television/Internet Service

Local (free) television includes about four basic channels. If you would like more options for television viewing, you will have to order cable or purchase a satellite system. Internet service is often carried by the same companies that offer cable services. Contact the providers below for more information.

Cox Communications (TV Service, Internet Service and Phone Service)
1-877-206-4210

Verizon (TV Service, Internet Service and Phone Service)
1-888-881-8161

Telephone Service

If you would like a phone line (land line) in your house, you will have to order the service. Most of the companies listed below will require a deposit before supplying service. You will also need a long-distance phone carrier to make long-distance calls from home. Some people choose to use both a land line and a cellular phone.

Landline Telephone Service

Cox Communications (TV Service, Internet Service and Phone Service)
877-206-4210

Verizon (TV Service, Internet Service and Phone Service)
1-800-837-4966

Cellular Phone Service

There are a variety of cell phone companies around the Providence area. The most popular companies are Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile. These companies offer coverage throughout the U.S. and if your plan allows for it, international coverage. Wireless plans in the U.S can be very different from plans outside of the U.S. Therefore, make sure you carefully read everything before you sign up for a particular plan; in particular, please be certain to ask specifically about international calling rates, messaging plans, 3G/4G network fees and capabilities (if applicable), contract agreements, and possible overage charges.

To get a cell phone and a plan, there are two main options: 1) a prepaid plan, or 2) a two year contract. The prepaid plan have slightly higher rates on outgoing calls, messaging, ect. However, they are convenient for international students and scholars. Prepaid plans offer the same services and network capabilities as contract plans, but do not require a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) or a hefty deposit. Contract plans require a two-year contract commitment as well as a SSN for identity and credit check purposes. A large deposit ($100-$500) is required in lieu of a SSN, but usually, cell phone companies will refund your initial deposit after twelve months of good standing. It is important to note that breaking the contract will result in heavy penalty fees.

Most cell phone companies offer family plans. Family plans allow up to five lines to be on the same contract. Keep in mind that it is difficult to add/ drop lines once the contract is signed without paying a penalty fee. Family plans are inexpensive if you know multiple individuals signing up for a contract plan.

Popular Cell Phone Companies

Verizon Wireless
216 Thayer Street
401-270-4330
Prepaid plan information
A deposit is required for a contract plan for individuals without a SSN but will be refunded after 12 months of good standing. You do not need a SSN for prepaid plans.

AT&T
Providence Place Mall, 3rd Floor
401-270-4903
Prepaid plan information
A deposit is required for a contract plan for individuals without a SSN but will be refunded after 12 months of good standing. You do not need a SSN for prepaid plans.

 

T-Mobile
Providence Place Mall, 1st Floor
Prepaid plan information
A deposit is required for a contract plan for individuals without a SSN but will be refunded after 12 months of good standing. You do not need a SSN for prepaid plans.

metroPCS
55 Dorrance Street
Providence, RI 02903
1-888-863-8768
metroPCS is an option for international students and scholars who are staying less than a year in the U.S. metroPCS does not require a contract or SSN to get a phone and service plan. The plans are month to month. Service in only available in major U.S. cities.