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Daily LifeFrench Cell Phone Providers

Get a provider in your language with Le French Mobile or My Phone in Paris!

The big three cell phone providers in France are Orange, SFR and Bouygues. There are of course other smaller providers but the three above are ones most people in France use.

Recently some low cost providers have entered the market. These include Free Mobile and La Poste Mobile. So as always shop around before getting your plan. The one drawback to low cost providers is that you’ll need to have or buy your own cell phone to get the really low prices.

The line is now blurred between cell phone providers and ISPs, meaning some companies now offer package deals of internet/TV/fix line/cell and who knows what else. Keep this in mind when setting up your internet connection and/or cell phone.

Each provider has any number of ‘forfaits’ or monthly calling plans. Prices generally range from 15 euros on up. But figure for an hour forfait to pay 15 – 30 euros a month. That’s about what I have been paying monthly over the last five years.

You can also get pay as you go (sans abonnement) if you like but in my experience unless you make just a few calls a month, its best of go with a monthly calling plan.

In France, generally it’s a package deal: cell phone plus provider. For example I bought my phone for 1 euro and at the same time I contracted with SFR for two years.

You can after two years or what ever the length of contract can change providers. It is even now possible to keep you phone number should you change from one provider to another.

Like with anything it’s best to shop around and ask others what plan and company they are using. Note that it can be quite difficult to understand the calling plan as they – the calling plans seem to be unlimited. It’s always good to try and read the fine print even if it is in French!

I personally use SFR and my wife uses Orange. Both seem to be about the same in terms of quality. I’ve heard that Orange is the only company in France that truly has nationwide coverage. This could be true as my apartment seems to have a dead spot that affects my SFR phone more than my wife’s Orange phone.

Related:
LeFrenchMobile: French prepaid SIM card for English speakers in France.
Euro-Phone Envy, humor column by Dan H. Woods


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