Mobiles Phones & Internet
When you arrive in Paris, it is likely that you will quickly want to set up both a mobile phone and potentially internet services if it is not provided with your accommodation.
Of course the needs of each user are different and the first choice that must be made is whether you would like an abonnement (fixed contract paid automatically every month from a bank account) or a phone prépayé (credit must be added manually which is then used to make calls). To help choose, here is a list of benefits for each.
- You need not worry about constantly topping up your credit
- It will work out cheaper per call/text/internet usage than prépayé if you use your phone a lot
- With certain contracts you will receive a phone
- No contract commitments
- No need for French bank account
- You will never be surprised by your bills
In the last few years, a few SIM only contracts have emerged that are very attractive options to foreign students living in France who already have mobile phones. Notably there is a company called ‘Joe Mobile’ who has created a kind of hybrid of abonnement and prépayé. Helpfully, Joe allows its customers to create their own plan (forfait) by choosing the number of calls and texts and the amount of data they will require. This can bring about a very reasonable contract (for example, 120 minutes to French numbers, unlimited SMS and MMS messages and 1Gb of mobile data comes to €11 per month. What differs about this contract is that you are not committed; you may end your contract at any time. Equally useful is that you may pay for this contract from a foreign bank account thus there is no need for a French bank account. Finally, another area where this contract differs is that it is impossible to exceed your limits. For example, if you were to use 120 minutes on the aforementioned example, you would be notified and given the option to add more minutes. This means that you will never receive any unwanted surplus on your bills.
Equally, the company offers a Forfait H+ for €20 per month. This comprises unlimited calls to French numbers, unlimited SMS and MMS messages, 3Gb of mobile data and unlimited calls to mobiles and landlines in the USA and Canada as well as unlimited calls to landlines in 50 countries across Europe.
In addition to Joe Mobile, there are similar SIM only contracts available from ‘Free Mobile’ and ‘SOSH’. These companies can be useful if you want a combined package for mobile phones and Internet at home; although for these a French bank account is required.