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Colleges phasing out landlines in favor of mobiles

Chris Ziegler

In an effort to get hip to the times (read: stop hemorrhaging cash on unprofitable landlines), some colleges are now submitting to the reality that virtually all students prefer mobile phones as their primary form of contact by decommissioning or reducing reliance on campus and dorm phone systems in favor of wireless. Several are going so far as to provide their students with custom plans and mobile apps connected to campus systems. As we initially reported last year, one of the more ambitious projects is coming together at New Jersey's Montclair State University where incoming freshmen now receive obligatory LBS-enabled cellphones loaded with school software and services co-developed with Rave Wireless. The LBS aspect has apparently been a hangup for some students, though, weirded out by the concept of being tracked by their deans and professors until they're assured that the GPS tracking functionality of the phone is strictly opt-in only, which can be activated by individuals in an emergency to assist police. Morrisville State in New York even buddied up with Nextel Partners (yeah, that Nextel Partners) to beef up campus coverage in exchange for bundling wireless plans with students' room and board bills. It's always refreshing to see stodgy institutions wising up to these sorts of trends -- albeit late -- but as the AP points out, many students are likely to be coming in with existing phones and family plans that end up cheaper than what the schools are able to offer. Of course, if Montclair offers real-time tracking of every pizza delivery driver in town, well, there's your killer app right there.

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