Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting a phone connection in US without SSN

A mobile phone connection is something that one wants to have immediately after arriving in a foreign country. However, if you are an international student, getting a post paid phone may be slightly tedious. Most operators in the US require a Social Security No. to provide a post-paid connection. If you don't have one then there is usually a $500 deposit which is refundable after the end of the contract (or during the contract term in some cases).

After researching a lot of options, I went up to the AT&T store and was pleased to know that for Harvard, MIT and Boston University students they do not require a deposit. The process is they only take the passport details and send it for some background check and wait for the request to get approved or denied. As per the store manager, the approval comes in almost all the cases. But if you need the phone the same day, then you will have to pay a deposit.

When I asked the store manager if it was due to MIT's reputation, he said yes but also said that students usually don't have enough money to pay the deposit. :) Now how true is that..


  1. Hi Ecls, Could you tell me the store where you got the connection. Even I am interested in the same. Thanks.

  2. Hi Prateek,
    You can go to the AT&T Store in Cambridgeside Galleria. Most of the MIT Students go there to take a phone connection. You can take a shuttle from Kendall T-stop (opposite MIT Co-op).
    Carry your MIT id and passport with you.

  3. Hi ECLS. I am a Tufts student and I checked up with the retailer, they have the offer for Tufts as well. Thanks for the blogpost anyhow. Had I not come across it, I would have blindly paid the deposit.

  4. Hi Prateek,
    I am glad that the post was useful and you could avoid paying the deposit.