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Phone & Broadband in France: A guide to Getting Started

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Glorious food, nice weather, endless art and culture... Moving to France may be one of the best things you ever do. But before you get fully settled with living à la française, there are a few things to take care of - including most certainly your phone and internet plans. Read on to find out more about the French market, from French SIM cards to internet by satellite.


Phone & Broadband Providers in France

woman on phone

While there are many phone and broadband operators in France, four of them share the majority of the market, namely Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom, and Free, that all have their own telecom infrastructure system and you will find that coverage is pretty much the same with all.

You can subscribe to internet and/or a mobile plan with a SIM card, and you can purchase a TV scheme or a fixed phone line plan with internet access to complete your bundle (which will become an "offre triple play" or "offre quadruple play").

If budget is a concern of yours, you can turn to these major providers' low-cost brands, such as Bouygues Telecom's B&You brand, RED by SFR and Orange's Sosh brand.

Guides to French Mobile Phone Plans and SIM Cards

You can find a lot of french mobile phone plans. Find the right one based on your needs.

French Mobile Phones

First on your list will probably be making sure you get a French phone and phone number, in order to be able to avoid paying extra charges from your home country operator and make administrative processes a lot easier (some authorities will ask that you to submit as +33 phone number only upon signing up). If you need information about getting started with a phone plan in France, check out this dedicated article.

Get started with a French mobile plan or SIMOur English-speaking Selectra helpline is here to sign you up to the contract most suitable to you and your needs. Just call us at +33 9 74 59 56 84 (Free number, available Monday to Friday, 9.30am-7.30pm and Saturday 9am-6pm), or get a free callback.

First things first - Is your phone unlocked?

If you are set on keeping your home country phone and simply swap out your SIM for a French phone, you'll want to ask yourself this question first.

As elsewhere in Europe, mobile phones in France work via a cellular network known as GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). In many cases, and if you bought your device in 2018 or after, this won't be an issue and you should find your phone unlocked by default. An easy way to check this is to swap out your current SIM for the SIM of a friend or family member with a provider different to yours. If you have signal and can make a call with this SIM card, then your phone is indeed unlocked.

If not, you can type "How to unlock a (name of your provider) phone" on Google and you should find many resources as to how to unlock your particular phone.

On the contrary, you may want to take the opportunity of your move to also purchase a brand new phone. If so, you'll find that most operators have very good phone + data deals. They might be a bit more expensive than data-only plans and will likely tie you down to a 1 or 2 year contract, but often work out cheaper than buying the new phone alone.

French SIM Cards and Prepaid Phones

sim cards

If you're only staying in France for a couple of months or less, getting a local phone plan probably won't be very beneficial to you. In this case, you'd be better off with a French SIM card which you can prepay or pay "as-you-go".

For all there is to know about SIM cards in France.

French Mobile Phone Plans

If on the contrary you are planning on staying in France for a while, typically 3 months or more, a French phone plan will probably be ideal for you.

Our article on French phone providers will give you an idea of what you can expect from each provider in terms of offers and pricings for long-terms.

Cancelling a French Mobile Plan

If for any reason you need to cancel your French phone plan, know that you'll always be able to do so - for prepaid and postpaid contracts alike - but be aware that in some cases there may be fines for you to pay. The amount depends on the type of contract you signed up to, the duration of your contract and how much time you still had until you would have reached the end of your committment period.

Our article on how to cancel a French phone contract goes in depth about the cancellation process and the fines you can expect.

Internet in France


Getting Online in France

Another one of your priorities might well be to get started with an Internet plan in France. Many phone deals include data allowance, however if you need internet extensively and at home, you can get a package known as a "box"(often known as a box) which, on top of access to wifi, will provide you with a fixed phone line and sometimes TV services and channels, too.

Everything there is to know about internet in France can be found in this dedicated guide.

Get started with a French Internet plan today!Our English-speaking Selectra team is here to help you find the internet plan that'll fit your needs and your budget. Give us a call for free at +33 9 74 59 56 84 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am-7.30pm and Saturday 9am-6pm) or get a free callback.