International Mobile Services

CUIT offers activation of an international plan for voice, data, and text, so you can use your existing device while traveling overseas. CUIT highly recommends that you submit a request for international service; without an international data plan, you will either have no service, or rates will be far more expensive than for roaming voice calls and text messages.

To submit a request for international service, please submit a ticket or call the CUIT Service Desk at 212-854-1919. Please allow 5 business days lead time to process your request, and be aware that international roaming must be activated prior to leaving the country. If you travel often, we recommend you keep your international data plan, since it includes domestic data.

  • Unlimited international data is available for all Verizon and AT&T smart phones. Calls and texts are à la carte.
  • Data-only devices (iPads, MiFis, and wireless modems) do not have unlimited data, and charges are per gigabyte. Please be aware that charges for data-only devices can run very high, so we recommend that you use these devices sparingly.

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Best Practices to Minimize International Data Charges

This will help restrict background data usage, as well as limit any unnecessary roaming charges.

Some applications that are known to eat up both foreground and background data include Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitter and YouTube. For each application, you may restrict background data through your device’s Settings.

  • Some hotels will have free WiFi, so be sure to ask your hotel reception staff for the password.
  • Connecting to WiFi when possible will allow you to use your device more frequently while avoiding high data charges.
  • CUIT recommends configuring your mobile device for Eduroam, which allows you to connect to encrypted WiFi within a network of educational institutions. Eduroam has more than 6,000 hotspots available at universities, research centers, academies, many schools, and other research and education institutions in more than 70 territories around the world. 
  • On iOS devices, you can do this by accessing Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data to turn off Push Notifications. You can also manually disable push notifications for each app by tapping on it within Settings and turning the Notification Center to "Off."
  • On Android devices, you can do this through the settings of each app.
  • On iOS devices, you can look at your data usage by navigating to Settings > Cellular.
  • On Android Devices, you can look at your data usage by navigating to Settings > Data Usage.

Rental Devices for Global Travel

If you are traveling abroad and do not have a global capable device, you can rent a smartphone or wireless modem from CUIT. The current prices can be found on our mobile device page, and in most cases include setup of the device to access your Columbia email account. Calls are billed per-minute and rates vary depending on the country.

International Technical Support

If you are having technical difficulties while traveling outside the US please call the carrier's toll-free number. We recommend that you add the corresponding toll-free number to your Contact list.

  • AT&T Toll Free Support Line: 916-843-4685
  • Verizon Toll Free Support Line: 908-559-4899

Travel Tips for Using Your Mobile Device Abroad

  • Calls to voicemail and the operator will incur all applicable fees, but calls to your carrier's support line are free.
  • The method for making local calls in each country will vary, so make sure you know how to do so.
  • Remember that emergency-dial numbers overseas will be different from 911.
  • When in a foreign country, you will have to use the appropriate country and area codes for calls back to the States or a third country. To call the U.S. from another country, dial +1, followed by the area code and local number. For example, +1(123)555-6789.
  • Your phone will automatically search for and select the appropriate local network in each country. If not, call the corresponding help line.
  • Not all data features will work the same way when you're abroad.
  • Don't forget an electrical-plug adapter for your charger. CUIT does not sell these, so please make sure you purchase the appropriate travel adapter before traveling.

We encourage you to review CUIT's Data Security Guidelines for International Travel.