Cell Phone

While travelling outside of the United States, there are three important issues regarding cell phone usage you should consider.

Export Control and Security

Your cell phone and other personal electronic devices usage may be limited due to export controls. For more details, please refer to the Export Controls section.

In addition, you should pay attention to both data and physical security of your devices to avoid identity theft or pickpocketing. Division of Information Technology has information and suggestions regarding IT security. You should also read the policies on Information Security (PDF) and Mobile Device Security (PDF).

Cell Phone Adaptability

You may not be able to use your cell phones in certain countries due to countries’ differences in frequency band:

  • 850 MHz (US/Canada/Latin America/Brazil)
  • 900 MHz (Africa/Europe/Brazil/Australia/much of Asia, except Japan and South Korea)
  • 1800 MHz (Africa/Europe/Brazil/Australia/Asia)  
  • 1900 MHz (US/Canada/Latin America/Brazil)

Please contact Procurement and Travel Services via [email protected] at least two weeks prior to international travel to ensure that you have a global-ready device. You will need to provide your mobile number, sim (iccid) card number and carrier. Within 24 hours, Procurement will either confirm that the device may be used internationally or they will indicate that the device is not and provide several options, including loaning a device (when available), prior to your trip.

In addition, be sure to consider that voltage and shapes of socket vary across countries.

Plan Selection

International calling and data usage can be very expensive if you do not switch to a proper international plan. Roaming may cost $1 per minute or even more.

Consult with Division of Information Technology prior to contacting Procurement regarding your intended cell phone usage while out of the country so that they can provide some estimate of the amount of data that will need to be added on.

In addition, please review the GW Cell Phone Program and International Cell Phone Instructions Guide (PDF) as well as International Plans (PDF). If you have additional questions, please contact [email protected].