New phone plans try to compete with cellular service

The College has introduced seven phone plans this fall that mirror the rates and deals offered by cell phone companies.

This effort is an attempt to remain competitive, as more students opt to use cell phones.

The phone plans range from $12 per month for 100 minutes to $40 per month for 500 minutes.

Three phone plans offer international calling services.

The service is the same as cellular phone plans – all local, long distance and toll-free calls are deducted from the number of minutes in the plan.

All off-campus calls, even local ones, must be preceded by dialing 8, 1 and then the number.

The College hopes that by changing the service, it might reverse the trends of the past four or five years that witnessed a significant decline in student interest in the telecommunications program.

“The convenience of wireless service and the availability of large calling plans with apparently cheap service have drawn customers away from wired service in the dorms,” Brad Coburn, supervisor of telecommunications, said.

Since revenues garnered from telecommunications services have totaled close to 1 million at times, the loss in student interest concerna the College.

According to Coburn, this money is used to fund phone system and network upgrades, and other various projects.

Last fall, the College started to research new possible approaches to calling plans.

The previous system was created to remain competitive with Bell Atlantic, now Verizon.

The College studied calling patterns and the costs of placing calls from the College, and used the information to create competitive new package rates.

Coburn said the most popular of the new phone plans is the smallest one, designated “A.”

This package offers 100 minutes for $12 per month, with each additional minute costing 25 cents.

Yet, despite the new rates, many students have still opted to use cell phones.

“I chose not to get a plan because a cell phone is more convenient,” Dave Herman, freshman communication studies major, said.

“I haven’t even needed to use my room phone because everyone has a cell phone.”

Lauren Nicolosi, junior psychology major, said she only used the College’s phone service freshman year.

“It was really expensive, and I didn’t use it,” Nicolosi said. “I just use my cell phone now.”

Coburn said that his office has reported almost a fifty/fifty response to the new phone packages.

The College plans to review the system over the next two years and make adjustments if necessary.

“We need our customers to work with us to identify problems,” Coburn said.

Coburn wants any students who have questions to contact the telecommunications office at X2595.