- 1 Basics
- 2 Orange
- 2.1 Mobicarte (Voice & data SIM)
- 2.2 Pochette Prêt à surfer (= Data-only SIM)
- 2.3 Orange Mobile Hotspot
- 2.4 Recharges
- 2.5 Orange online account (Espace client)
- 2.6 EU roaming
- 2.7 More information
- 3 SFR
- 4 Bouygues Télécom
- 5 Free Mobile
- 5.1 Coverage
- 5.2 National roaming
- 5.3 Plans
- 5.4 SIM cards
- 5.5 Prepaid Plan
- 5.6 Rolling contract (read carefully!)
- 5.7 Availability
- 5.8 More infomation
- 6 La Poste Mobile
- 7 LeFrenchMobile
- 8 Lebara
- 9 Lycamobile
- 10 Réglo Mobile (formerly Leclerc Mobile)
- 11 Syma mobile
- 12 Vectone mobile
- 13 mywebspot
- 14 travelwifi
There are 4 physical network operators (MNOs) in metropolitan France which are listed according to history and their number of subscribers:
- Orange (formerly France Télécom)
- SFR (owned by Altice)
- Free Mobile (by Iliad)
Other providers are virtual mobile operators (MVNOs) or other resellers of the MNOs. You may notice, that prices for data on prepaid are somewhat higher in France than in most other European nations. This is because many locals prefer contracts (called forfaits, see below) to prepaid SIM cards. Unfortunately, most operators ban foreigners from subscribing to a contract. You'll need to have a French payment system for it. That's why the contracts of many providers like B&You, Sosh, and those of most MNOs can't be listed here as we don't list options which are inaccessible to foreigners.
This page only covers metropolitan France or "Métropole". Although overseas departments (DOMs) of France are as much part of France as metropolitan France is, they have their own separate networks and are therefore covered by separate pages. The island of Corsica is part of metropolitan France, and covered by metropolitan France's mobile operators.
As regards overseas departments, see here for: the French Caribbean with Guyane, Martinique and Guadeloupe and the French part of St Martin, special articles about Saint Pierre et Miquelon and the islands of Réunion and Mayotte in the Indian ocean.
2G (GSM, GPRS, EDGE) is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G (UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSPA+) is on 900 and 2100 MHz. There are no shutdown dates published yet for 2G or 3G.
4G/LTE is rolled out nationwide, with 700 MHz (B28) and 800 MHz (B20) bands used mostly in the countryside while higher frequencies bands 1800 MHz (B3), 2100 MHz (B1) and 2600 MHz (B7) are used in cities to cope with higher traffic.
5GNR is gradually being deployed since the end of 2020 with sub-6GHz bands only. It is currently based on 700Mhz and 2100 Mhz bands for low-speed/large coverage, and 3500Mhz band to achieve higher speeds. No operator has started to use or deploy mmWave bands as spectrum auctions have not yet been carried out.
In some rural areas the "F-CONTACT" network is also shown, which is a common whitespot 2G/3G/4G network of all four operators that can be used without additional fees.
Up-to-date coverage maps in 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G provided by the network operators can be found here:
French regulator ARCEP publishes a yearly interactive report with coverage and speed tests for all 4 operators. There is also a map of all base stations by all carriers in France together with the frequency they are transmitting on a local scale. If you know where you will be located, you can check this map and see which carriers have good coverage close to you.
Orange continues to show the best overall network quality in France, whilst SFR shows the best coverage.
They are followed by Bouygues and Free Mobile. All carriers have reached 99% pop coverage in 2G/3G and 98% in 4G. The differences are summarized in the table below.
|Network||2G||3G||4G||5G||Average DL Speeds|
(*) Free has a 2G/3G roaming agreement with Orange. Data in this table shows Free's own 3G and 4G coverage.
Coverage data according to ARCEP (French regulator), March 2021, speeds according to ARCEP, December 2020.
SIM card activation
Activating a SIM card on a network may take up to 48 hours. You will need to show a photo ID at point of purchase to activate SIM cards in France, as it is a legal requirement. A passport or driving licence usually suffice.
Rolling Contracts (forfaits sans engagement)
This French particularity called "forfait sans engagement" = rolling contract or auto-renewing monthly offer is featured in the following articles and needs some explanation for non-French visitors. A rolling contract is a kind of hybrid tariff between pre- and postpaid: You pay in advance and have cost control like prepay, but you have to enable an automatically recurring payment system known as auto-pay in the US. This can be linked e.g. to a French bank account or sometimes to an international credit card. But the contract can be terminated at any time by free will. You can change the plan monthly, but usually you can't turn off automatic plan renewal completely to pause. That means that you have to pay a certain amount every month, even if you don't use the SIM card at all that specific month.
These rolling contracts normally give you a much better rate for data in France than regular prepaid cards. The problem is the payment system that is often not accessible to foreigners without French credit cards or bank accounts. Creating a French payment system will set you back more than 40 EUR. To draw a line here, offers which are confirmed to have been purchased at least by a single non-French payment system are shown while providers requiring French-only requisites are taken off the list. Please have this in mind, when you add an offer, that it needs to be accessible for foreigners too.
The French section was restructured to be in line with other countries. The first part consists of the 4 MNOs in the order described above. This is followed in the 2nd part by all resellers, MVNOs or other providers listed in alphabetical order. The last part is devoted to rental agencies, again sorted in alpha order, who rent SIM cards, routers or other devices for those travellers who prefer to rent.
(1) Network operators (MNOs):
- Orange: prepaid voice/data SIM card (Mobicarte), prepaid data SIM card (Pochette prêt à surfer)
- SFR: prepaid voice/data SIM card (La Carte), prepaid data SIM card (Kit á surfer)
- Bouygues Télécom: prepaid voice/data SIM card (Carte XL)
- Free Mobile: contracts, either rolling (forfait sans engagement) or prepaid for one month only (prépayé)
(2) Resellers (MVNOs):
- La Poste Mobile: prepaid voice/data SIM card (Carte prépayée classique)
- Le French Mobile: prepaid voice/data SIM card (Euro SIM), prepaid data SIM card (Data SIM)
- Lebara: prepaid voice/data SIM card
- Lycamobile: prepaid voice/data SIM card
- Réglo Mobile: prepaid voice/data SIM card (Carte prépayée, forfaits)
- Syma mobile: prepaid voice/data SIM card (Carte prépayée)
- Vectone mobile: prepaid voice/data SIM card (Carte prépayée)
(3) Rental Agencies:
- mywebspot: WIFI router rental
- travelwifi: WIFI router rental
The order of this listing does not represent any kind of ranking or recommendation. There are other MVNOs too, but they don't offer good data rates so far.
Orange S.A., formerly France Télécom S.A., is a French multinational telecommunications corporation. Back in history, France Télécom was the French public operator. Nowadays it is still the market leader with the best 4G quality according to the regulator, and the most subscribers, including extensive coverage of tourist areas (beaches / ski resorts) and transport corridors (high speed train lines, motorways). 4G/LTE is accessible for all prepaid plans.
Mobicarte (Voice & data SIM)
This is the Orange prepaid SIM card that allows making calls, sending SMS and internet usage in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE.
You can buy Orange prepaid Mobicarte SIM online from vendors, although this is much more expensive. On the other hand you get your number, before you depart and your card is activated to use your service as soon as you arrive.
To buy a SIM from an Orange Boutique (store locator) in France for 2.99-9.99 EUR, you must bring your ID card or passport to register. Triple-cut mini, micro, nano SIM are available. The bonus of that is that the card will work straight away and has 5 EUR of credit. If you buy from anywhere else, you will have to send in a copy of your ID and it can take several days to be able to access data. Be warned that Orange Boutiques may be crowded and you can't just grab an item off the shelf and activate it yourself. It may take an hour or more of waiting before you get assistance to set things up.
Dialing #123# for the first time gives you a menu of options on the Welcome / Information ("Accueil") screen. Here you see some options with offers, an entry to access a sort of account overview / usage ("suivi conso"), one to enter Mobicarte top-up codes called recharges ("recharger"), and finally where you manage your account's features ("Mon espace"). If you don't know French, it can be a bit daunting as it seems every menu presents options you can purchase. It is definitely over-complicated, just as every French site. To add credit to your SIM, buy one of the classic recharge vouchers "Les recharges classiques" from a tabac shop, magazine shop, or grocery store (the big ones like Monoprix, Franprix, etc. should have them). These are common everywhere, including airports and train stations (at CDG international terminal, you can buy them at the Relay newspaper stand at the RER-B station). To add credit, dial #123# then find the "recharger" option and enter the 14-digit code.
Without a data plan, internet is very expensive at €0.50 per MB.
If you plan on going to a boutique to buy a SIM, you can purchase these packs called recharges there too. It's recommended that you load the recharge options page on your phone beforehand so you can show them exactly what you want. Some stores have employees who are not familiar with the packs or may not even know that data is available for pre-paid so it is helpful to show them the site, particularly if your French is not very good.
Since 1st of August 2021, the free orange Wi-Fi hotspots in France and the French Caribbean has been discontinued (link).
They offer different recharge schemes that give data for a certain period and validity of the SIM for a longer period:
|Les recharges max|
|€5||20 MB||7 days||1 month||2 hour of calls, unlimited SMS|
|€10||500 MB||10 days||6 months||unlimited calls, SMS, MMS|
|€20||2 GB||30 days||6 months||unlimited calls, SMS, MMS|
|€30||10 GB||30 days||6 months||unlimited calls, SMS, MMS|
|Le recharges monde|
|€5||7 days||1 month||16 international mins|
|€10||10 days||6 months||33 international mins|
|€20||2 GB||30 days||6 months||66 international mins|
|Le recharges Internet Mobile|
|€5||1 GB||5 days||1 month|
|€10||5 GB||14 days||6 months|
|€25||20 GB||31 days||6 months|
|€40||80 GB||31 days||6 months|
All plans include calls, SMS and MMS valid domestic and for roaming in the EU, Switzerland and Andorra and overseas departments
For visitors and travelers Orange offers its Orange Holiday (formerly called Mobicarte Holiday). It's sold for €40 and is valid for 14 days including:
- 120 minutes of international calls from anywhere in Europe to anywhere in the world
- 1000 international SMS from anywhere in Europe to anywhere in the world
- 20 GB data within Europe (roaming in all EU/EEA countries)
- unlimited Orange WiFi
Orange Holiday is available for purchase on location in France or online with worldwide shipping through other official resellers including Orange USA via Amazon
If you still got an old active Mobicarte or need a refill for an existing Holiday SIM, they offer now two different recharges Orange Holiday:
- for €20 : 60 mins, 500 SMS and 5 GB for 14 days
- for €40 : 60 mins, 1000 SMS and 20 GB for 30 days
Line stays active for another 6 months thereafter.
This plan is for mobile phones and may or may not work on other devices. If you're interested in data for a WiFi hotspot or dongle, you would be better off with the Pochette prêt à surf option (see below). P2P, VoIP and USENET are specifically banned. VoiP services will fail to initialize properly. There's risk getting your plan cancelled as well as the loss of any call credit remaining on your account if you use P2P, VoIP, or USENET services.
As for VPN, it may or may not work. There are examples when VPN worked, one of them is OpenVPN 2.1.1 on Windows 7 and VPN on iPhone worked in July 2012.
Supposedly you are to be notified by SMS as soon as it is activated but users have never received this in the 5 years they had their plan. The safest way to confirm an option is by looking at your account online.
Mobicarte SIM card credit expires, if no recharge is applied during this period. After registering your SIM for the first time and topping it up with credits, the SIM number will stay in operation for max. of 6 months. You can check the expiration date online when you create an account, but you will probably also get an SMS stating the expiration date. If you'd like to keep your number active, add a minimum €10 recharge before the expiration date and it'll be extended another 6 months.
Expiration of recharge credits depends on the amount. For example, €10 electronic recharge should be used within 12 days of adding to the SIM. Topping up further extends existing credit to match the new credit. Also, recharge codes have a time limit before they must be added (up to 2 years, read the ticket).
Tethering / WiFi-hotspot use is not included in data usage (tested on iPhone and Android Galaxy 4S). iPhone will NOT allow tethering, and you are redirected to a purchase page (€25 for 1 GB, 30 days) if you try to enable it. The page must be accessed over cellular and not WiFi.
It is possible to achieve tethering on Android devices by using the WiFi hotspot in conjunction with a proxy app, e.g. proxy server by Ice Cold Apps. The use of a 3rd party tethering app on an Android phone, or a jailbroken iPhone may just get you around this. Even apps like FoxFi are hit or miss with being able to use other devices through a hotspot (Facebook worked, but not other apps).
Pochette Prêt à surfer (= Data-only SIM) 
This SIM was previously called Let's Go and is the data-only SIM offer from Orange to be used in tablets, portable WiFi hotspots (MiFis), USB dongles or any other kind of modem only. Orange prohibits the use in a phone. It's not clear, if this ban can be circumvented and how. When you were able to use this SIM in a phone, please add here how (see next paragraph). For the meantime a mobile hotspot is recommended, if you still want to use your phone.
SIM cards are available from Orange Boutiques throughout France (see locator above), but not every boutique may have it in store. Just ask for the 'Pochette prêt à surfer'. They will want to know on what device you will use it and what SIM size you require. At the time of purchase in the boutique, you will need to provide a passport or driving licence which is a requirement under French law.
Starter pack costs €14.90 and includes 10 GB valid for one month which is a good deal. It takes on average 24 hours to fully update the system with your details and during that time you will not be able to top-up. However at least 2 GB will work as soon as you walk out of the shop and the rest will be added soon.
Data feature packages
There are three values of recharges for domestic use incl. EU roaming:
|€10||5 GB||14 days|
|€25||15 GB||1 month|
|€40||35 GB||1 month|
To obtain a recharge you must again visit the Orange Boutique (or some Bureaux de Tabac or Relay) and ask for a rechargement for the pochette. There may be some faffing about whilst they work out amongst themselves exactly what you want, but show them your SIM or documentation with your Orange internet number and they will soon get there. Often they will print out a sheet of paper for you which contains a telephone number for you to ring to activate the top-up and a 14-digit top-up number.
Topping up is also possible online once your new SIM card has been fully registered (go to the 'mon espace' section on the orange.fr website to set-up your account). This seems to be possible now for at least some non-French credit cards as well.
It's also possible to top-up using vouchers for the standard prepaid phone service called Mobicarte. You can then convert the account balance online to Pochette packages. The Orange site is far from user friendly, so this is not recommended unless you are well versed in French. Top-ups are often available on eBay and may well prove to be a good option for you to save messing about in shops upon arrival. But you will pay a premium for this option in so much as you will be paying extra for the time of the seller to obtain the vouchers etc. Note, you can also buy pre-activated SIM cards on eBay.
Restrictions and allowances
This SIM card does not allow the use of Peer to Peer downloads eg. torrents, or the use of some binary newsgroups. However for email, browsing and almost everything else it works just fine. You can receive SMS on your SIM which can be viewed in the control panel for your device, but the option to send SMS will not be available.
On the other hand, tethering is not restricted and VoIP is allowed. It seems the data SIM card stays valid for one year, vs. 6 months only for the Mobicarte without a recharge. If topping up with one of the data packages above, the validity is extended by 12 month counted from the end of the validity of the package.
Orange Mobile Hotspot
Orange sells its own portable 4G WIFI hotspot previously called Domino, now Coffret prêt à surfer. Currently it's a Huawei E5573 also called Airbox. This allows you to set up WiFi for multiple devices, i.e. to get around the issue of not being able to tether with the Mobicarte, and you don't need to set up data service on your phone. Cost is €59.90 for the 4G device including 10 GB valid for a month. Recharge with "prêt à surfer" vouchers (see above).
Authentication: the blurb inside says you need to provide authentication, i.e. fill in a form and send a photocopy of a passport to Orange. If you buy from an Orange boutique, they should activate it for you. If you get it from elsewhere, then you will have to mail off copies of your ID docs. The device is locked to Orange France and won't be of much use elsewhere, unless you get it unlocked, but for less than €1 you will be able to purchase an unlock code on eBay.
In order to top-up by phone, call 0800 224 from a mobile or landline. Free from Orange lines, a fee may be charged from others. You will be immediately asked by a female voice in French to enter your Orange number. This is the telephone number assigned to your SIM and normally begins with 06 or 07.
You will then be presented with two options, the first to top-up by credit card. Ignore this, the second option is to top-up using vouchers. Press 2 on your keypad. The same voice will ask you for your 14-digit voucher number. Enter that and depending on which service you got connected to, you may have the number read back to you with the option to confirm or try again.
You will then have a confirmation in the same voice but with a triumphant timbre to it. The process should take about 30 seconds from start to finish. The top-up should then be applied to your SIM and you will be ready to go.
Orange online account (Espace client)
You will automatically have a personal account called Espace client on the orange.fr website, you can log onto your account using the SIM telephone number. For your first visit click on "identifiez-vous" on the top right corner of their site. Once done, you can edit your personal information, email address etc. You can even set up an Orange France email address if you like. It's important to note that you can't top-up online using most credit cards that are not registered in France. But you can buy top-ups in the boutique using foreign credit cards.
From 2017 all allowances can be used for roaming in the EU too at domestic French rates under the Roam like at home provision. Contrary to many other European carriers, roam like at home of Orange also works in Switzerland, Monaco and Andorra and in the French Overseas Departments (DomTom).
- APN, password and username:
- for Mobicarte: orange
- for Pochette prêt à surfer:
- APN: orange.fr
- password and username: orange
- Website in French: http://www.orange.fr/
SFR is historically the second network in France and one of the biggest rivals of Orange. It used to belong to Vivendi, but has been sold to the company Altice.
It has the best 3G and 4G coverage according to ARCEP, slightly ahead of Orange.
SFR is the local partner of Vodafone in France, but there is still no international data roaming on any SFR prepaid products.
Their prepaid SIM is simply called la Carte. The starter pack called “Kit SFR la Carte” is available online to be send to a French postal address or in their shops (shop locator). The start-up price is officially €9.99 , but often reduced to €3.99 or even €1 and it comes in mini, micro or nano size. It contains €5 credit and 50 MB for 30 days. There is also a starter called la Carte Connect which may be harder to find. It comes with 15 GB included for 25 days and €5 credit at €14.99.
When you buy it in their shops, let them activate it there showing your photo ID. Bought online or at other shops, you can activate it on their website or by calling 963 for free (in French only).
Recharges can be bought at many places like bureaux de tabac, Relay and big chains like Auchan, Carrefour, Leclers, FNAC. They can be bought online too, but you need at least an European credit card with a chip for payment. Send the 10-digit recharge code as an SMS message to 952 and activate it immediately.
These recharge packs all include domestic calls, unlimited domestic SMS, a data quota and unlimited SFR WiFi at 4 million access points:
|€5||1 hour||2 GB||7 days||ILLI5|
|€10||unlimited||10 GB||10 days||ILLI10|
|€20||50 GB||30 days||ILLI20|
|€40||100 GB (5G)||ILLI40|
Three recharges are offered for data-only:
|€5||300 MB||5 days||WEB5|
|€10||2 GB||8 days||WEB10|
|€25||15 GB||30 days||WEB25|
Data is cut off, when quota is reached. Speed is up to 4G/LTE (in €40 up to 5G).
These Recharges Internet are also available as Pass Internet. Thus it can be debited from your general balance and activated by texting the activation code to 987.
All the recharges whether Ilimitées, Internet or Welcome can be renewed anytime to get more data or validity. Tethering and modem use is now allowed. No international roaming.
EU roaming 
Note that you can only roam for voice and SMS on a SFR La Carte at domestic rates abroad. All international data roaming is now disabled for SFR prepaid customers.
- APN: sl2sfr /or/ slsfr /or/ wapsfr /or/ websfr - (if one does not work, try another)
- Check balance: text ? to 950 or call 950
- English speaking customer service: 1026 available Mon-Sat 8-20 hrs (this is for la Carte only)
- Website in French: https://www.sfr.fr/
Bouygues Télécom is the 3rd largest network operator in France in term of subscribers. Unlike the other players, its 4G/LTE is mainly on 1800 MHz (and to a lesser extent 2600 MHz and 800 MHz) open for all prepaid users (coverage map). In October 2017 they cover 94% of population by LTE.
Their old prepaid card Formule 20/20 has been discontinued in 2015. They now only sell Card XL and Classique prepaid SIMs. The classic line doesn't include data. So it's not mentioned any further.
Note that Bouygues Télécom has restricted most prepaid plans for roaming, except for the tourist offer. This means that unless you pay the high price for the tourist plan, data roaming is not available even in the EU. For lower prices with EU roaming, look elsewhere.
Prepaid Card XL
Their prepaid line is available in their stores (store locator) with 12 months validity after the last top-up. Starter pack is sold for €10 with around €4 credit for calls.
Internet by default is €0.30 per MB. It can be topped by these 4 combo packs with data and unlimited voice and text:
|€5||500 MB||€3||3 days|
|€10||1 GB||€5||10 days|
|€20||2 GB||€10||30 days|
|€40||5 GB||€25||60 days|
All packages include 4G/LTE speed, unlimited domestic calls and domestic texts. The bonus credit can be used for international calling. Recharging of €10 or €20 can be done online, by calling 630 or by buying a prepaid card in stores (e.g. tabac) in France. Be aware that the €5 reload can only be topped up by a French issued credit card which must be added online or by calling 630. International credit cards are not accepted for the €5 recharge.
When topped up after the validity of the old package has expired, the new top-up will be effective right away giving more validity. So you can top-up 3 times €5 for 3 days each and get 1.5 GB data for €15 in a week (but only top up after 2 days or when the 500 MB data has been used, it does not add up). They give a bonus of €10 for top-ups of more than €50 within two consecutive months.
All of their other options are not accessible to foreigners without a French bank card or account.
My European SIM (Tourist offer)
Bouygues has now introduced a tourist SIM for visitors to France, which includes roaming in the EU, UK, Andorra.
- €39.90 : Including unlimited domestic text and voice, 20 GB data and €25 for international calls, valid for 30 days
At this price point, it is better value than the €40 XL line for the larger data allowance and EU roaming. Tethering is allowed on this offer.
Also, unlike the XL cards, this SIM is sold ready to use at third-party stores in airports or ordered online for delivery worldwide, but you have to verify your ID within 30 days of first use or else the SIM shuts off after, and the SIM must be first used in France.
Also note that future top-ups are limited to XL or classic top-ups, so it is not valid for EU roaming beyond the initial 30 days. If you still need roaming after 30 days, you will need to purchase a new SIM.
EU roaming (My European SIM only)
All international roaming has been blocked on their prepaid offers except for the tourist SIM initial plan, which is valid in EU/EEA, UK (including Gibraltar, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands), Faroe Islands, and Andorra as well as overseas departments and collectivities. Standard prepaid SIMs and further top-ups to the Vacation SIM can only be used in France and not for roaming.
- APN: mmsbouygtel.com (this is for web too, not only MMS)
- Bouygues Télécom blocks OpenVPN and some other protocols by deep packet inspection, so you won't be able to use those protocols, even when you're changing to non-standard ports.
- Website in French: http://www.bouyguestelecom.fr
- Vacation Prepaid Plan Website in English: https://www.bouyguestelecom.fr/carte-prepayee/vacation-prepaid-plan/
Free Mobile shook the French market when it arrived on the scene in 2012 with very low prices and new marketing methods. As of December 2020, this is one of the rare offer to include 5GNR, as most operators make this exclusive for their expensive post-paid contracts.
Over the years Free Mobile kept adding more content to their main package "Forfait Free", such as large allowances of data, rollout of new technologies, or included roaming agreements. With more than 65 destinations included worldwide, this is one of the best options for travellers. But be aware of the SIM card can only be bought and activated in France and can't be paused.
Since December 2020, eSIMs can be ordered and activated through Free Mobile customer account website (Espace Abonné).
Free Mobile network is still in the process of growing up and is catching up with other providers: as of September, the 3G coverage is 99% of population and 94% of the territory, on par with Bouygues Telecom.
Free Mobile's 4G/LTE is still slightly behind the competition in terms of coverage. Their network has a slightly lower coverage than others (at 98% of population as of March 2021 whilst other providers cover 99%).
They've started their deployment with high-frequency bands 3 and 7 as this was the only license they held at the beginning, resulting in typically very good speeds as long as you have 4G signal, but at a somewhat lower coverage. From 2018 lower frequencies on band 28 have been added for better coverage, and they rapidly caught up on coverage as well.
Free Mobile launched its 5G NR (sub-6GHz) network in December 2020, few days after its competitors. It surprised the market again by rolling out a significant coverage of 40% population reusing its 700 MHz (n28) spectrum (with DSS), while other focused on few cities only. Additionally, this was added at no extra cost to the existing plans.
They now own spectrum on 700 MHz (LTE b28 or 5GNR n28), 900 MHz (UMTS), 1800 MHz (LTE b3), 2100 MHz (UMTS only), 2600 MHz (LTE b7) and 3500 MHz (5GNR n78) bands. Cell tower locations can be checked on a map.
In its beginning, Free Mobile concluded an agreement with Orange to use its network as national roaming for 3G data, texts and voice. This has been gradually disused over the years, and as of March 2020 users spend only an average of 7% of their time roaming on Orange, and this figure is continuously decreasing. This agreement will come to an end in 2022, the maximum speed for 3G roaming on Orange network is being throttled to 384 kbps until then. Orange roaming users frequently report slow speeds, that makes it almost unusable in practice.
Free mobile offers three plans ("forfait mobile free"). These three plans can be either prepaid or rolling contracts without commitment ("forfait sans engagement"). With each plan you'll need to pay a one-off €10 charge for a new SIM card. See the Pre-paid vs Rolling contract section below for details.
€2 plan (“Forfait €2 ”)
- 2 hours of calls to France and to landlines of a lot of countries and mobile lines of a few countries;
- unlimited SMS/MMS in France;
- 50 MB of data in 4G/LTE or 3G, thereafter charged at €0.05 per MB (which adds up to €51 per GB)
- automatic and unlimited connection to EAP-SIM WiFi networks "
Freewifi_Secure", emitted by all the set top boxes of the operator (more than 5 million hotspots);
- the possibility to use the package for roaming in EU and EEA countries (not included), by topping up your account
XX€.99 plan (“Série Free YY Go”)
Price usually varies from €8.99 to €14.99 , while data included vary from 50 GB to 80 GB. New combinations of price/data are released every week as a limited promotional offer, which is valid for a year, after which the plan switches back to the Forfait Free below. It contains the following:
- unlimited calls to France and to landlines of some countries and mobile lines of a few countries;
- unlimited SMS/MMS in France
- 50-80 GB of data in 4G/LTE and 3G, thereafter throttled to 128 kbps;
- automatic and unlimited connection to EAP-SIM WiFi networks "
Freewifi_Secure", emitted by all the set top boxes of the operator (more than 5 million hotspots);
- the possibility to use the package for roaming in EU and EEA countries up to 5 to 10 GB without surcharges
€19.99 plan (“Forfait Free”)
You have two contract duration options within this plan —
- Monthly rolling contract ("Pas de limite de validité")
- One month only contract ("Valide 1 mois")
The first option is a rolling one-month contract which you can cancel in writing (by registered post) at any time with 10 days’ notice. The second option comes to an end automatically after one month although you may be able to extend the plan in your online account. In both ways your SIM stops working without the chance to revive it again.
In both cases, it will effectively cost you €29.99 for the first month (€19.99 + €10 for the SIM or eSIM).
With the rolling contract you'd pay €19.99 every month thereafter, but you may also need to count the cost of sending a cancellation later on by registered post should you want to end the contract this way (see below).
The €19.99 (“Forfait Free”) plan includes:
- unlimited calls to France and landlines of a lot of countries and mobile lines of a few countries;
- unlimited SMS/MMS in France;
- 150 GB of data (in 5GNR, 4G/LTE or 3G). Speed is reduced to 128 kbps afterwards, but no overcharges apply (fair use policy);
- truly unlimited data in 5G, 4G or 3G for lines associated with a set-top box (no FUP);
- automatic and unlimited connection to EAP-SIM WiFi networks "Freewifi" / "Freewifi_Secure", emitted by all the set-top boxes of the operator (more than 5 million hotspots);
- roaming included is an excellent option, as it's not limited to the EU and constantly expanded to overseas countries. The package includes the following:
- 25 GB of 4G/LTE roaming data on top of your monthly national allowance, in many destinations:
- Europe: all EU & EEA countries, UK, Gibraltar, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Switzerland, Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, Belarus, Macedonia.
- Middle East: Israel, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia.
- Asia: Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand.
- Africa: Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa.
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand.
- America: Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina.
- Data is heavily charged beyond allowance in roaming destinations (you'll get a text warning before). Some countries are still limited to 3G (like Algeria, Argentina, Pakistan, Bangladesh);
- unlimited calls and texts to all of the EU & EEA from within EU & EEA (except from France);
- unlimited calls and texts to France and within the roaming country in Israel, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and USA.
- 25 GB of 4G/LTE roaming data on top of your monthly national allowance, in many destinations:
- price is reduced to €15.99 (or €9.99 ) for Free set-top box subscribers. If you have a friend or relative living in France with a Freebox account, you may ask them for their credentials to benefit from this discounted rate
Physical SIM cards
The SIM cards come either in mini/micro format, or nano format. You need to choose the one you need when ordering (either from a vending machine or online). Cost of the new or replacemtn SIM card is 10€.
Since December 2020, new customers can order an eSIM on Free Mobile's website. Issuing cost is still €10 to cover for creation of the subscriber number. There's no apparent hurdle on whether activation can be made outside France, as the whole process takes place on the customer account (Espace abonné) where you will have to scan a QR code. Please note that a random French address must however be filled in the form, although no ID checks are performed.
The prepaid option is only available from their automated vending machines located both in their "Free Centre" stores and "Mag Press" shops (map). You won't have to worry about cancellation after you leave. This SIM card can be topped up online every month for one or two more months. If you decide to extend the validity, you will be charged on the credit or debit card that you have initially provided at the vending machine.
You can continue to top-up the account each month, or decide to remove the expiration and switch to a rolling contract, which involves sending a written notice, should you wish to terminate the contract later (see below).
Prepaid plan compared to rolling contract
In both cases, there's an activation fee of €10 for your SIM card. There are no fines for cancelling early, however with a rolling contract it will effectively cost you €5.20 (plus some time) to cancel the contract — which is it what it costs to send a registered cancellation letter (see below). Considering the bother involved, it's probably only really worth doing a rolling contract, if you know you'll need it for 3 months or more.
You'll need to have a credit or debit card associated with your SIM for auto-pay, but all cards — not just French-issued ones — should work fine. (Automatic direct debit on a SEPA bank account is also possible).
Rolling contract (read carefully!)
The Rolling contract is available either online or at a vending machine. For this option be aware that you sign a legal contract in France with Free Mobile that is concluded for an indefinite period and needs to be terminated later, unlike the other prepaid offers on this wiki.
Once you have obtained your SIM and login to your online account you can pay your bill. Be also aware that if you enter your bank details of an European SEPA account at "Mon Mode De Paiement" (= my method of payment), you wont be able to switch to a credit or debit card later.
Terminating a rolling contract through mail
To end the contract, you have to send a cancellation letter ("lettre de résiliation") - with 10 days’ notice - by registered ("signed-for") mail ("recommandé avec avis de réception" — in French shortened to "LRAR" or "avec AR") with your name, phone number and termination date to this address: Free Mobile, Résiliation, 75371 PARIS Cedex 08. A model of a termination letter can be found here. It costs €5.20 to mail the letter at a post office counter (see these instructions), or €7.07 (= €5.20 + €1.87 for printing one page) to send it online through the official Boutique La Poste website (see current prices). Allow at least one week for delivery within France using the online postal service (or rather two weeks if you send it by airmail from abroad) PLUS another 10 days for the contractual notice period.
Check "Entrée en Vigueur/Durée du Contrat" (article 6) of their T&Cs (Conditions Générales d'Abonnement ) for the exact details of your cancellation rights and be aware that this is not one of the usual prepaid options that are normally presented in this wiki. They are going to charge your credit card, even when you have left the country and they are legally entitled to do so as long as you don't cancel the contract. Because of the special situation in France, we have made an exception for this plan.
Terminating a Rolling contract via number porting (using OnOff App)
An alternative method to end the contract is to transfer your number to another operator, which will result in contract termination at the date of transfer. Porting numbers in France is easy and free, and takes just a few days to complete. Call 3179 from your line to get a code (RIO) that you will provide to the new operator which will take care of the transfer and cancel the line for you.
You'd have to either get a new SIM card for another operator (a prepaid one might be a good choice), or, even more simple and cheaper, use a virtual SIM provider like the OnOff app, that will take care of the transfer.
Switching using OnOff is free of charge, and your number will disappear after 5 days. It costs 3.49€ for one month of their pay-as-you-go service if you want to keep your number alive and functional on the app: this allows you to port you number back to Free Mobile or to any other French mobile operator, should you need it in the future. This is a very convenient way of terminating your contract if you have any French SIM card in your device when creating an account, and can avoid the hassle of sending a registered letter to Free Mobile.
Getting a SIM or eSIM card online
This option is available only if you want a rolling contract, not a prepaid one. The physical SIM can be sent to a French postal address only, but you can choose an eSIM if your mobile is compatible.
Online payment defaults to direct debit on SEPA (european) bank accounts. To pay by debit/credit card instead, at "paiement de votre commande" on the right hand side under the box there is a link which says "payer par carte bancaire". Click it and it will then change the box to one that allows you to enter the details of any credit/debit card. Your bank or credit card company may charge a transaction fee for using this.
There is a €10 charge for SIM delivery or eSIM issuing, if you're not opening an account with Free Mobile while transferring an existing number.
Getting the SIM at their automated vending machine
This is the most convenient option for travellers if your phone is not compatible with eSIMs. As of 2019, more than 1 200 vending machines called "bornes"are available around the country in the operator stores called Free center and also in press stores Maison de Press / Mag Press (locator). They sell both rolling contracts and one-month prepaid plans. Using the automated machine, you will pay a non-refundable €10 upfront charge on top of the chosen plan for your SIM card. Be sure to get the correct SIM size for your phone because reissuing the SIM card costs €10. You can choose either a mini+micro combo SIM or a nano SIM. You must pay by either by debit or credit card, non-French cards (Visa, Mastercard) being accepted. You'll also need to fill in your name and e-mail address, as well as a French postal address (but you can use the address of the shop itself).
The machines are in French language only, but very graphic and easy to use, and they should be manageable with a translator even if you don't speak French.
Your SIM card will then be ready to use straightaway, no activation is needed, and account credentials are printed on the receipt and sent by email upon subscription.
- Tethering is allowed on all plans
- Connection to ISP wifi hotspots
Freewifi_Securethrough the EAP-SIM protocol is supported on all Apple devices, but only on fewer others: while all hardware sold by Free have it implemented by a firmware branding, it's missing on most Android and Windows phones.
- Website in French: http://mobile.free.fr/
- Free telephone assistance from a Free Mobile line on 32 44, or online at mobile.free.fr/assistance/
- Change of SIM card costs €10
- Change of telephone number costs €5
- Conditions Générales d'Abonnement / Brochure Tarifaire (in French)
La Poste Mobile
La Poste Mobile is the MVNO of the French Postal System called La Poste. It uses the network of SFR in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE (for details see SFR). It's sold in more than 10,000 post offices (bureaux de poste) throughout the country, where you can find top-up vouchers too. La Poste also sells forfaits (contracts), but not to foreigners. Note, that there is no international roaming on prepaid cards.
Their prepaid cards are sold in two different tariff lines called classique (classic) and international. While the international card gives better rates for international calls, it doesn't contain data. Only the classique line can be loaded with data and both lines can't be mixed. Start-up price is €9.90 with €10 credit included. Top-ups can be found at post offices and many press kiosks.
Data feature packs
All data packs for the classic line are matched with a recharge. There are again two lines of vouchers: recharges triplées and recharges illimitées. Again, only the recharges illimitées contain data:
|Recharge||Calls & SMS||Data||Validity|
|€5||"unlimited"||100 MB||7 days|
|€10||500 MB||15 days|
|€20||2 GB||60 days|
|€30||4 GB||90 days|
'Unlimited' calls are rather limited to 129 per month with 3 hrs max. and up to 250 SMS per month. Data is on 4G/LTE too, but limited to 115 Mbit/s. All data use outside of the recharge packs is charged at high €0.50 per MB.
All EU roaming is taken from the domestic allowance with €0.50 per MB for any consumption beyond.
- APN: sl2sfr
- Website in French: http://www.lapostemobile.fr/
LeFrenchMobile managed by the Transatel group runs on the leading Orange network. It's a MVNO designed for foreigners travelling to France and the EU with customer service in English, Arabic, French and Dutch.
They distinguish themselves by offering a free worldwide shipping of their SIM cards, so customers travelling to France are already equipped when landing at the airports.
Compared to other prepaid plans, their credit balances have no expiration limit subject to a €0.90 service fee per month, if the account is inactive for more than 4 consecutive weeks.
The SIM card is a triple-cut blank SIM Card (mini-micro-nano in one). Furthermore it's possible to buy a 3G mobile hotspot (Mifi) from Huawei with a SIM card already inside. They also offer dual-SIM mobile phones for texts and calls.
Purchase is usually made online via their website or in a few stores (locator). Delivery is free worldwide for SIM cards. Payments can be made with any international Visa or MasterCard, as well as PayPal and IDeal. Top-up online through their website, via SMS or at a local distributor.
They offer a selection of combo voice/text/data or data-only bundles aimed for France or all over the EU. They can be bought either using the available cash balance on your account or directly charged via their website.
You can only top-up (renew) a French data bundle when you have less than 50 MB remaining on your current bundle. Once the existing bundle is used up, any cash credit on your account will be consumed with higher per-MB rates. Make sure to top-up the bundle as soon as you hit 50 MB left.
French Data SIM
Their Data SIM has a purchase price of €16.94 with 2 GB included and €2 credit for callsand texts valid for 90 days in France only. Out-of-bundle rate for data is € 0.18 per MB. These top-ups are available for France:
|€12||2 GB||30 days||FR2GB|
|€25||5 GB||30 days||FR5GB|
|€45||20 GB||30 days||FR20GB|
|€65||100 GB||60 days||FR100GB|
A bonus credit is given to any online top-up over €20. Activation of bundles is online on your account or by texting code to 22213. Top-up online or in Tabac shops and newsagents that sell PaySafeCards.
Euro Data SIM
Their Euro Data SIM has a purchase price of €19.94 including 2 GB EU data and €2 of credit for calls and texts for 90 days to be used in France or roaming in the EU/EEA and UK. Out-of-bundle rate for data is €0.18 per MB. These top-ups are available:
|€5||500 MB||14 days||EU500|
|€15||2 GB||30 days||EU2GB|
|€29||5 GB||30 days||EU5GB|
|€69||20 GB||30 days||EU20GB|
A bonus credit is given to any online top-up over €20. Activation of bundles is online on your account or by texting code to 22213. Top-up online or in Tabac shops and newsagents that sell PaySafeCards.
- Personal hotspot use a.k.a. as tethering is NOT supported
- APN: netgprs.com
- Username and password: tsl
- Website in English and French: http://www.lefrenchmobile.com
Lebara, formerly Lebara mobile, is a British-based MVNO with operations in several countries. In France, they resell Bouygues Télécom's service in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE.
Their website and customer service are available for a change in both French and English, making it a good choice for those with limited French language skills.
Lebara mobile SIM cards can be ordered free of charge through Lebara's website, mailed to a French postal address. Some users report that after a delay of 1-2 weeks, they may be mailed to a foreign address too, if it's typed into the online form.
Alternatively, they can be purchased for €10 (including €5 of credit) from many French tabacs (tobacconists and kiosks), including the Relay outlets for instance at CDG airport. Print-your-own Eurostar tickets include a voucher for a free SIM with €1 of credit and 100 MB in a couple of shops at the Gare du Nord station in Paris. Recharges are available through the same channels or by international credit card online. The SIM is triple-cut and credit lasts from 30 to 90 days depending top-up amount. SIM cards that have not been used or topped up for 90 days will expire.
Check credit balance and data allowances by *131#.
New SIM cards must be activated by providing an email address, phone number, and ID number (e.g passport). Foreign details are accepted. SIM cards ordered online and received on mail will be pre-activated as the phone company has these details from the online form. SIMs bought from a shop can be activated by calling 2333 from your phone. This activation should be instant. You can select English on the voice menu (option 2). When you activate your SIM you are requested for your name, passport number and address. You can ask on the same call to buy your data package or any additional asistance.
To activate 4G/LTE you may need to text '4G' to 22241 for free.
Data feature packages
They give out 100 KB per day for free. Default data rate outside packages is €0.19-€0.25 per MB depending on top-up method.
These monthly data passes are on offer:
|FR Data||EU Cap||Price||Activation|
|1 GB||no cap||€4.99||WEBXS|
|3 GB||2 GB||€9.99||WEBSML|
|10 GB||5.1 GB||€19.99||WEBMED|
|20 GB||5.6 GB||€29.99||WEBLRG|
|40 GB||9.7 GB||€49.99||WEBXL|
For activation text code to 22241. All packages renew automatically if there is credit. To stop, send <Package Code>*STOP to 22241.
They also sell monthly "forfaits" which are non-bindung and need to be linked to a uploaded credit or a credit card. They include unlimited voice and texts and a data quota. If you order it online, your monthly price will be discounted by 50 % for the first three months.
|Price||Data||EU cap||Internatl. mins|
|€4.99||2 GB||1 GB|
|€9.99||20 GB||2 GB||4 hours|
|€14.99||50 GB||3.5 GB||unlimited|
|€19.99||80 GB||5.1 GB||unlimited|
|€24.99||100 GB||5.6 GB||unlimited|
International calls are to 43 countries only. You need to create an online account to manage your SIM card and terminate the recurring offer.
Lebara in France has adopted roam like at home principles for roaming in other EU/EEA+UK countries. That means that you can take your included allowances abroad without extra fees up to a certain limit called EU cap in the table above. All use beyond is for a 0.4c per MB surcharge.
- APN: fr.lebara.mobi
- Username and password: WAP
- Support line: 2300 (option 2 on voice menu for English), support chat on the website ("Chat en ligne", ask for English language)
- Website: www.lebara.fr (switch to English on top left)
Lycamobile is the biggest competitor of Lebara (see above) on the ethno market from Britain. It has a very similar prepaid offer like Lebara and acts as a MVNO on Bouygues Télécom's network in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE too.
Lycamobile now seems to accept tethering / mobile hotspot use in France.
Lycamobile SIM cards can be ordered free of charge through Lycamobile's website, mailed to a French postal address. Alternatively, they can be purchased from many French tabacs(tobacconists and kiosks) and chain stores including Relay, Monoprix, Carrefour and others (store locator). They can also be had for free from Paris telephone shops.
Recharges are available through the same channels or by international credit card and PayPal online. PIN codes need to be entered in your phone like this: *131*<PIN>#. The SIM is a triple-cut mini, micro and nano SIM. Credit lasts from 30-90 days depending top-up amount. SIM cards that have not been used or topped up for 90 days will expire. Check credit balance and data allowance by *131#.
New SIM cards must be activated by calling 323 (in French) from your phone or online here (in English) providing a mail address, phone number, and ID number (e.g. passport).
If you have an on-going occasional use for the SIM, you can extend its validitiy for 12 months for a cost of €5. Dial *139*9999# from your Lycamobile number and follow the instructions on the screen.
Data feature packages
Default data rate outside of packages is €0.12 per MB and are now open to 4G/LTE. They offer these data packages on up to 4G. Bundles can now be used in EU/EEA+UK roaming too.
|S||€2.99||100 MB||14 days||*139*29100#|
|M||€4.99||500 MB||30 days||*139*49250#|
|L||€9.99||2 GB||30 days||*139*81000#|
|XL||€19.99||10 GB||10 GB||30 days||*139*15300#|
|XXL||€29.99||20 GB||17 GB||30 days||*139*15310#|
|XXXL||€49.99||50 GB||24 GB||30 days||*139*15350#|
For extra data you can add these add-ons valid for the rest of the base pass:
- 500 MB: €2 , activation: *139*5001#
- 1 GB: €3 , activation: *139*5002#
- 3 GB: €6 , activation: *139*5003#
Lycamobile also offers combo packages with unlimited calls and SMS (all valid 30 days and auto-renew):
|FR data||EU cap||Internatl. Mins||Price||Activation|
|National S||10 GB||3 GB||€9.99||*139*3010#|
|National M||25 GB||7.5 GB||120 mins||€14.99||*139*3015#|
|National L||20 GB||10 GB||120 mins||€19.99||*139*3020#|
|National XL||50 GB||14 GB||120 mins||€24.99||*139*3025#|
International minutes are to 50 countries.
Lycamobile's regular data packages can be used for EU/EEA+UK roaming up to the limit shown as EU cap in the table. Without a package, you'll be charged their standard rate of 12c per MB instead.
- APN: data.lycamobile.fr
- User: lmfr (that's lowercase L, not capital i)
- Password: plus
- Customer support: call 322 (for €0.15 /min), in English 9am - 9pm (- 6pm on weekends)
- It doesn't seem possible to tether with Android. Not even with a rooted phone! NB: Their terms and conditions exclude tethering explicitly and Lycamobile is known to block it.
- Website in English: https://www.lycamobile.fr/en/
Réglo Mobile (formerly Leclerc Mobile)
Réglo Mobile, previously known as Leclerc Mobile, is the MVNO of the French retail chain E.Leclerc. It operates on the network of SFR in 2G and 3G and 4G/LTE too (for coverage see SFR) in up to 50 Mbit/s. While it sells forfaits (plans) like many other operators, it stays strictly on a prepaid basis. Therefore it doesn't need to be linked to a French bank card, but can be loaded by cash too. It gives great rates, but has some restrictions summed up at the end.
The SIM card is exclusively sold at the stores of the E.Leclerc chain, especially in their hypermarkets (= mega stores) (for a store locator: click on trouver un magasin). It costs €10 for the default rate MINI+ with €5 credit. All the different forfaits shown below are offered too. For a start, they are each sold with a €5 surcharge for the SIM and remain valid for the rest of the calendar month. The non-used portion of the month will be refunded to your account. Mini, micro and nano sizes are available.
You can buy the starter online too to be sent to a French postal address. But you should better buy it in a store as you can register your SIM at the point of purchase showing your ID. Bought online, you need to mail them an ID form and a copy of your ID within 15 days or your line will be suspended.
For top-ups you can link your account to a French bank card or bank account only or you need to go back to an E.Leclerc store where you can top up €3 to €200 at the check out by cash. You can choose direct load or a voucher. Some foreign credit cards are also verified to work on their website. So you might give it a try. A topped up balance will stay valid forever, but a printed voucher needs to be redeemed within 3 months.
To check your balance, send an empty SMS to 950 or check your personal account (called Espace client).
Default rate: Mini+
Their default rate for voice, text and data is called MINI+. It's on 2G and 3G only, no 4G/LTE and valid, when no other plan is booked. Data is at a low €0.05 per MB. But they charge a minimum consumption fee of €1.50 per calendar month. This will be completely credited on your consumption.
But if there is no usage, €1.50 will be charged at the 1st of each month. If you are running low on credit, your line will be suspended after 90 days.
Combined plans: Forfaits Réglo
The forfaits (plans) of Réglo offer much better rates and are not postpaid like with other operators. They stay strictly prepaid and are charged from your account. Réglo has a strict billing cycle according to calendar months. The plan is debited on the 1st of the month (or at purchase of the starter pack) and runs for the rest of the calendar month. Their combined plans can be customised according to your anticipated usage and can be changed for every month. But you must do this online on your account by the last day of the previous month. If you don't change them, they will auto-renew. These monthly plans are offered with 4G/LTE:
|Value||FR Data||EU Data||Voice||SMS & MMS|
|€3.50||250 MB||25 MB||1 hour domestic||100 SMS|
|€5.95||5 GB||500 MB||3 hours domestic||unlimited domestic|
|€9.95||60 GB||5 GB||unlimited domestic||unlimited domestic|
|€14.95||100 GB||8 GB||unlimited domestic||unlimited domestic|
|€19.95||150 GB||10 GB||unlimited dom./internatl.||unlimited domestic|
International calls included are to only 62 countries listed, mainly EU ones. Overuse on the internet plans is charged at €0.19 per MB, on the €9.95 and €24.95 plans speed will be throttled. "Unlimited" calls only refers to calls of less than 3 hours. Plans can be changed only online in the previous for the following month. If you are running low on credit having booked a plan, your line will be suspended on the 28th of the month.
You can upsize your data during the running month by adding data add-ons which are called Rallonges:
- 200 MB add-on: €2
- 2 GB add-on: €5
- 3 GB add-on: €3 , available on the €9.95 , €14.95 , €19.95 plans only!
These add-ons can be activated several times either online on your account or by calling 437. They accumulate, but won't roll over to the next month.
While their rates look great at first sight, you should be aware of certain disadvantages:
- You need to go an E.Leclerc hypermarket for purchase and possibly top-up (if recharge by credit card is not working). They are inconveniently located in industrial areas out of town. This may be an option travelling through France by car. But it's no choice for a Paris weekend as there are no stores within the city limits of the capital.
- The SIM card needs activating even though it looks like it is working, need to do this either online or by calling the number on one of the numerous pieces of paper you are given when you buy the sim. If the SIM is not activated withing a few hours it will stop working. It may be required to provide an account IBAN to activate the SIM but this may then be removed after activation in the online account management.
- While their plans are strictly prepaid and can be customized, they stay linked to a calendar month. This makes them quite inconvenient for short-term users.
- They have a very rigid suspension policy of the SIM. If you are running low on credit, your SIM will be switched off very soon. Remember, an international credit card (e.g. VISA) is required to top-up from abroad. Once used, the same card reference can be used for Reglo to collect the minimum rate of €1.50 upon crossing the lower threshold e.g. of €5.
Modem use is no longer blocked according to the latest T&Cs.The new SIM cards include an additional APN definition called "SFR option modem". The same APN can be manually configured by following the instructions at https://www.reglomobile.fr/aide/comment-parametrer.aspx.
They have obtained a derogation from the EU rules: Reglo restricts the amount of data in packages given out for EU/EEA+UK roaming at the domestic rate to 10% of the package volume. Beyond this 10% a surcharge of 0.7c per MB is applied on top of the volume debit as long as there is data balance and 20c per MB if there is not. Staying on the default rate Mini+ EU roaming data is generally at 5c per MB.
Syma mobile by Symacom is a MVNO targeting the ethno market. They sell contracts and prepaid SIM cards to be added by combo or data passes. It operates on the good network of Orange in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE.
Syma mobile prepaid SIM cards can be ordered for €4.90 through their website, mailed to a French postal address only. They come with 15 MB data, 15 dom. mins and 15 dom. SMS preloaded valid for a month. Alternatively, they can be purchased from many Frenchtabacs (tobacconists and kiosks) and chain stores e.g. at train stations for €5 in Paris, with €1 starter credit immediately available, plus €3 bonus for the first top-up.
New SIM cards must be activated over the phone in French, by mail, online, go to 'enregister' and place a local call. For this you need your phone number given to you by entering your NSCE number written on the back side of the SIM here or by dialling *148#. PIN code is set by default to 0000. The SIM stays valid for 6 months initially to be extended for 12 months by any recharge.
Recharges are available through vouchers sold at the same shops and 50,000 sales points like Tabac stores, Relay and Press kiosks, Postefone and Dia supermarkets from €5 to €35. Online international credit cards are not accepted. Check credit by entering *148#.
Data feature packages
For their prepaid SIM still available, internet default data is at €0.15 per MB. They only offer 3 passes to be activated onlinr or by app valid for 30 days:
- 2 GB: €4 , activation: 2G
- 3 GB: €6 , activation: 3G
- 5 GB: €10 , activation: 5G
- No roaming on prepaid, data remains valid in metropolitan France only
- APN: symamobile.com
- Website in French: http://www.symamobile.com
Vectone mobile by the UK based Mundio group is another MVNO targeting the ethno market. They sell prepaid SIM cards to be added by combo or data passes. It operates on the network of SFR in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE too.
Vectone mobile prepaid SIM cards can be ordered for free through their website, mailed to a French postal address. Vectone sends its SIM cards abroad too, but only in the 9 countries, it's operating (order site). They can be also purchased in some French kiosks, where you can register too and need to make a top-up.
New SIM cards must be otherwise activated online giving a French address and a scan of your ID paper. Check number by *105#.
Recharges are available through vouchers sold at the same shops and 50,000 sales points like Tabac stores, Relay and Press kiosks, Postefone and Dia supermarkets from €5 to €35. To top-up by voucher type *101*<voucher code>#. You can also top-up by PaySafeCard. Check credit by entering *102#.
The validity of each top-up is for 90 days. When you don't use the services at least once every 120 days your SIM will be disconnected from the network.
Data feature packages
Default data rate outside of packages is €0.12 per MB. A minimum balance of €0.50 is required to use mobile internet. They sell these packages called passes each valid for 30 days:
All packages auto-renew after 30 days, if there is enough credit. To stop, type *8101#. Check data balances and expiry by *8100# and *102#.
Data is given out according roam at home rules in all data bundles and the default price.
- APN: webfr.mundio.com
- Website in English: http://www.vectonemobile.fr/en
They provide access through a Mifi router called "miniBox" establishing a Wi-Fi connection. Up to 10 devices can be connected on a 4G/LTE connection in France. The miniBox is delivered within three hours by express anywhere in Paris, in two days anywhere in France. After the rental, it need to be returned by mail.
Mywebspot rents pocket WiFi routers which allow travellers to stay connected. Clients can order online on my-webspot.com. The hotspot router including SIM card can be delivered everywhere in Europe in 24 hours, or customers can stop by their office next to Madeleine area in Paris to pick it up for free. Standard delivery in France is €4.90 and by 24 hours express for €14.90.
On the 4G hotspot 10 devices can share for 8 hours. They use the Bouygues Télécom network in up to 4G/LTE with "unlimited" data and a FUP of 1 GB per day.
A prepaid envelope is given for the return and can be used from everywhere in France or Europe. A deposit of €140 for the device is debited on your credit card, if you don't return the device. You can add an insurance for extra pay. The rental rates are flat: €7.90 per rental day.
- Website in English: my-webspot.com
Travelwifi rents personal WiFi hotspots providing 3G/4G coverage on Bouygues Télécom and SFR networks.
To rent the mobile hotspot, book it on their website, or directly at any Tourism Information Desk in Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports (more information) that you can find here (locations). Routers are also available at Travelwifi Office in Paris (location) and Tourist Information Desks in Nice, Cannes, Marseille and Avignon (locations).
Travellers can choose to pick up their hotspot from Paris airports, office and any pick-up store in Europe. Additionally, the device can be delivered to the client in their home country or at their travel destination for a €4 fee. Once you have received your hotspot, the WiFi signal can be shared with up to 10 devices at the same time. The return is done by the prepaid envelope provided, that the user need to drop in a mailbox from the last country visited for another €4 fee.
Travelwifi offers three packages in up to 4G/LTE:
- Adventure: 1 GB per day for €5.95 per day
- Escape: 5 GB per day for €6.95 per day
- Voyage: unlimited data per day for 7.95 per day
Be aware that a daily Fair Usage Policy applies of only 1 GB in 4G/LTE with throttled speed of up to 512 kbps afterwards, reset at midnight.
- Website: http://www.travel-wifi.com/