Smart phones have definitely gotten popular in school over the last few years as new Smartphone deals have come out into the market (we'd estimate at least 3/4 the class have them). Most people have iPhones and Blackberries, with the occasional Android phone or other smartphone sprinkled throughout the class.

It is definitely worth considering if you want to keep up with the barrage of emails flooding your inbox, send out quick thank you notes to recruiters or keep up with last minute venue change and recruiting notifications but don't use them in class! You will soon come to realize, there is an incredible amount of e-mail each day so it is helpful to stay on top of it during breaks and out of class. Having a smartphone is a double edged sword though – it can entertain you while you’re bored but at the same time, become an addiction when you should be paying attention or focusing on something else. Also, most data plans are fairly expensive – you can easily pay over $100 a month between voice and data.

Providers and plan

Below is a list of providers ;

AT&T www.wireless.att.com
Sprint www.sprintpcs.com
Verizon www.verizonwireless.com
T-Mobile www.tmobile.com

Some of these providers don't have good reception in Uris Hall (CBS main building). People who use T-Mobile usually don't have good reception in there, AT&T has decent reception. Verizon is said to have the best reception in New York City (and along the Eastern seaboard, for that matter).

If international calling is important, you can use calling cards. If you want your phone to work outside the USA consider that Verizon's and Sprint's technology does not work outside the US (and don't let anyone tell you otherwise as they both use CDMA, not GSM). For global roaming you need a GSM phone and can choose AT&T or T-Mobile (which are both GSM and work in nearly every country) with the advantage of these phones / providers also that you can unlock most of them and then put other SIM cards in them when you are abroad to make cheaper local calls. The majority view is that "AT&T is the only way to go" for those who consider roaming important. International travelers rate AT&T very highly and say while T-Mobile is perfectly good here and abroad, on balance the AT&T subscription plans are better suited to the majority of people's needs.

If you want an iPhone, they are only available at AT&T.

Discount Available at AT&T
Columbia students qualify for a discount at AT&T on phones and service. I believe the current discount is 20%. The AT&T store on 95th & Broadway should recognize this discount and verify it through your Columbia email address. Exclusions apply, please contact AT&T for more details. This discount applies to your monthly plan only, not to the purchase of the phone.

Discount Available at Verizon
Current students can use their Columbia email address (ab1234@columbia.edu) to get a discount on their Verizon bill of up to 19%. Simply follow the link and enter your email address.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: The full guide to buying a cell phone