As a foreigner in France for an undetermined amount of time, I opted upon my arrival in Paris back in July 2011 to purchase mobicarte from Orange, a pay as you go SIM card that seemed to be the cheapest option for my husband and I at the time (see previous post “How to get a cell phone in France”). This option is still a good deal for people spending a limited time in France, from a few days up to several months. But for those staying a year or longer, it may not be the best choice.
The cost for mobicarte came out to 25 euros a month total for both phones if we purchased two month refills each time. The only problem with this was that we had very limited use of our phones. Texting was fine, but phone calls had to be kept to a couple minutes each. And forget calling the US. Frankly, I was getting tired of feeling like I couldn’t use my phone, but did not want to get stuck in a contract paying a lot more per month.
Luckily, the media company Free, of the famous 30 euro per month phone + internet + TV package Freebox, came out with a cell phone option called Free Mobile at the beginning of 2012. For people already subscribed to Freebox, Free Mobile offers this no-contract plan for only 16 euros per month*:
- Unlimited calling to cell phones in France, USA and Canada
- Unlimited calling to landlines in 40 countries
- Unlimited texts and MMS in France
- Unlimited Free wifi
- 3 gigs of 3G internet
*This plan costs 20 euros a month for non-Freebox subscribers.
The other option, only 2 euros, includes 60 minutes of calls and 60 texts within France. For Freebox customers, this option is offered at no charge.
Since this first plan would include unlimited calls and texts plus internet for only 10 euros total more per month than we were paying for our very limited mobicarte option, I decided to sign up. This can be done online and is a simple, easy process. You can even keep your current phone number, which Free ports from your old phone company for you at no charge. After your order has been confirmed, the Free Mobile SIM card will be sent directly to you at the address you specify online. No need to go to a store and wait in line.
Keep in mind however that Free Mobile has received so many requests that they are quite backed up. I ordered our SIM cards in late January and received them mid February, so count on waiting several weeks up to a month.
We received an email a couple of days before we received our SIM cards saying that our phone numbers would be ported over during a three hour period a few days later, so be aware that you will not be able to use your cell phone for a few hours on that day.
Once we received our SIM cards, we activated them online following the simple instructions. It only took a few minutes for our cell phones to start functioning with our new Free SIM cards.
Now we can call and text all we want, and it’s great to be able to call friends and family members in the States for free. For a price similar to the cheapest, most basic mobicarte option, Free Mobile is quickly becoming the leader in quality and price for French cell phone service.
For anyone living in France, I strongly recommend signing up with Free Mobile. Just visit their website:
© 2012 Pasa’s Paris