Cell Phones & Mobile Devices

Purchasing a Cell Phone

This page is for the following departments:

  • Metro Cluster
  • Land, Air and Water Resources
  • Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
  • Environmental Toxicology

If you are not in one of those departments, you can find out who to contact (your Area Telephone Representative, ATR) here:

ATR Lookup


If you're looking to purchase a phone and plan through campus, we use AT&T by default. Purchasing a phone and plan through Verizon or another vendor is possible just not as straightforward. Your Area Telephone Representative (ATR) -- the folks you talk to for purchasing phones and changing plans -- is Chris, available at metroit@ucdavis.edu

The information we'll ask:

  • Exactly what type of phone (Make, model, color, storage)
  • Voice Plan: 6 cents per minute OR 450 minute rollover plan
  • Text Messaging or not? If you're getting a smartphone, you should get text messaging. $8/month unlimited texts.
  • Data Plan: Unlimited with or without tethering. We recommend the tethering as it's not much more expensive and it lets you use your phone as an wifi hotspot.

Note on Cellular Modems: Because of Verizon's normally better coverage in remote areas, many of our cellular modems used on remote sensors use Verizon's network. This has become more straightforward recently to set up new service. Determining the best carrier for your location is important however as coverage does vary.

International Services

We can change your plan on they fly to include less expensive international calls (from 50-65% less per minute), give you unlimited international data (but this removes tethering), and Global Messaging 200 (which allows 200 text messages).

Smartphones and Email

One of the most popular questions is: "How do I check my email on my smartphone?" The answer is, "It depends". Happily the campus has knowledgebase articles for pretty much everything for both services they offer.

How to setup your smartphone with campus email