Monaco is a sovereign micro- and city state and a principality located on the French Riviera. France borders the state comprising 2 km2 on three sides. That’s why there is no need to buy a special SIM card for Monaco as French antennas mostly cover it too.
In Monaco 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz and 4G/LTE started in 2013 on 800 and 2600 MHz (bands 7 and 20).
International Roaming Edit
Some providers from the EU voluntarily apply EU roaming regulations in Monaco, but most do not and apply high surcharges.
Warning: When roaming with an EU-issued SIM card, check with your provider first, or prevent your phone from roaming on Monaco Télécom by making a manual network selection and sticking to French networks instead. Your phone will most likely connect with Monaco Telecom as it's the strongest provider in the city state and has roaming agreements with most providers. It's crucial that you disable international data roaming on your device, which you don't need to do any more in most of Europe to avoid a high bill.
Monaco Télécom Edit
Monaco Télécom is the main telecommunication and only mobile network provider with own antennas in the Principality of Monaco. The company was founded in 1997 following a decision by the government of Monaco to privatize the state-owned Office Monégasque des Téléphones.
For prepaid, it has a monopoly and charges amongst the highest rates in Europe. The starter set alone of their prepaid card will set you back 19.90 € and gives only 100 KB of data. Reasonable data packages are absent.
Monaco Télécom has a roaming agreement with Orange in France and users of these networks can use each other’s networks without surcharges. So for now, it’s better to buy a French SIM card to be used in Monaco than a local one.
Like in France, having a French bank card and French bank account it's a totally different story. Then you can take advantage of competively priced forfaits (= contracts), which are available without a minimum term too, and are valid in all of France on Orange and in Monaco.
- Website in French: http://www.monaco-telecom.mc/
- Website in English: https://www.monaco-telecom.mc/en/
French providers in Monaco Edit
French providers cover Monaco too. If you have a choice, Orange has the best coverage through its roaming agreement with Monaco Télécom. But SFR, Bouygues Télécom and Free mobile are other options too, because their antennas reach the principality too.
In 2016 the governments of France and Monaco signed a spectrum coordination agreement that allows French mobile operators to deploy their own base stations in Monaco. French mobile customers have experienced patchy service when trying to connect to their networks when in the principality. French mobile operators haved signed agreements with Monaco and added new antennas in and around Monte Carlo.
Nevertheless, they don't reach all areas of the city state which in 3G or 4G which is located in a gorge, only 2G is mostly available. Given the topogaphy of the area crucial spots like the harbour and the railway station are only covered by Monaco Télécom (and wifi) so far. That's why we add a WiFi network to this list. Again, disable automatic network selection, if you roam in Monaco.
Monaco WiFi Edit
In 2017 the local government launched, via Monaco Telecom, its new Monaco WiFi service to give residents and tourists a better connectivity in the principality.
The Monegasque operator has been deploying for several months a new fibre optic network for all 26 hotspots. The aim is to offer better coverage and more efficient flows on more than 30 public sites, including markets, parks, squares, and ports, and post offices, and the railway station. A map of all wireless hotspots can be found here.
The WiFi access portal has also been redesigned. It is now in 6 languages – French, English, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Chinese – and suitable for all types of devices: smartphones, tablets and PCs.
Authentication is simplified, faster and reconnection is automatic. Finally, the portal meets the new Monaco regulations in terms of digital security. Verification is made through your Google or Facebook account or by SMS.
Access is free for Monaco Telecom customers.
A “Discovery Pass” of two hours is also offered free for any new user. These two hours can be stopped and restarted again by logging off and on and can be sufficient for day visitors.
For a longer period, these are the only reasonable rates in the city and can be bought online by credit card:
- for 1 day: 4.99 €
- for 7 days: 14.99 €
- for 30 days: 29.99 €