France, overall, has good connectivity (with the exception of some rural areas), and 4G is advancing throughout the country. Staying in touch via a mobile phone has never been easier. So, how do you go about choosing a mobile phone provider in France?
Mobile Phone Providers in France
As you may expect, Orange dominates the mobile market here in France, with SFR (Societe Francaise du Radiotelephone) commanding a close second place. However, there is a range of mobile phone providers (with Free and Bouygues being the next in line with market share) and who you may choose to spend your money with will depend on your personal circumstances and the area in which you live.
Choosing a Mobile Phone Provider in France
As in all countries, contract details and prices vary between French mobile phone providers, but these aren’t the only aspects to consider when choosing your mobile phone contract. Here are a few other things to consider.
Which mobile phone provider offers the best network service?
Connectivity can vary depending on your choice of mobile provider, so it is important to check the network service before you sign up with a particular provider. This is especially pertinent to rural areas where there may only be 3G. Usually, the main providers offer better coverage in these areas. In larger cities, you may be able to access 5G, so a smaller provider should not be a problem.
Check your connectivity here.
Phone SIM, mobile phones, and package deals
If you have an unlocked mobile phone, consider a SIM only deal. If you are looking to purchase a mobile phone at the same time, be sure to check whether or not this phone will be locked to your provider (typically, it will).
If you have an existing land-line and TV provider, research their bundle deals as adding a mobile phone to your package may not be as costly as you might think. Many French residents opt for some kind of package deal, as they tend to be the most cost-effective.
Mobile contracts and ‘forfaits’
Various different mobile phone contracts or ‘forfaits’ are available in France. Your choice of the amount of calls, texts and data allowance will depend on your need. Choose what suits your individual circumstances. For example, the needs of a teenager may be very different to an adult running a business. Do your best to match the contract to your requirements.
Contracts are usually SIM only, or they include a mobile phone device. Normally, you may have to pay a one-off fee to activate your contract. Do make sure you read the contract thoroughly so that you are clear about terms before you sign. Payment is usually by direct debit, so you will need to provide details of your French bank.
Contracts are usually for 12 months or two years’ duration, or they can be ‘sans engagement’, which means you pay a little more for the contract to be renewed each month, but you maintain the right to cancel your contract at any point.
Choosing a Mobile Phone Contract in France
Before deciding on the best contract for you, it’s a good idea to research your local area and available providers. Here are some comparison websites in order to see the latest deals.
It’s also worth speaking to your local friends and neighbours to find out their anecdotal experiences and recommendations for your area. A visit to your local telecom shop or friendly Post Office may also be worthwhile to garner information and help you with your choice of mobile phone provider.
Good luck and keep connected!
Local Life in France
From shopping at the supermarket to sending a parcel at Post Office, finding your local dechetterie to who to call in an emergency—FrenchEntrée is here to help with every aspect of day-to-day living in France. Read our Essential Reading guides for advice on living in France, visit our Shopping zone or Pets zone, or brush up your language skills with our handy learning French resources.
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