A Travellerspoint blog

What about your cell phone in France (Europe)?

They use different band widths so be prepared.

Fountain Square in Chateauneuf - Châteauneuf

Fountain Square in Chateauneuf - Châteauneuf

Cell phones are called mobiles in Europe and they broadcast on different bands from the USA so unless you have a tri or quad band cell phone, it won't work in Europe. The next trick is to be sure it is unlocked. Most phones are locked and many can't be unlocked until you've had them for six months. If you are shopping for a new phone, be sure it is unlocked. I had no trouble finding one at Best Buy and I'm sure there are many other places that will sell them.

In France in the past I have purchased a SIM card from the Orange company. It would be long distance for callers from the USA but that may not be too bad depending on the plans your callers have on their phones. Our daughter had no problem texting (not talking) because her plan allowed texting anywhere for a very low cost, something like 20 cents US.

Château Chambord

Château Chambord

A few years ago after a lot of looking, I bought a LeFrench Mobile SIM and the price for me is very reasonable. Again, your callers will have to pay long distance charges depending on their plans. You will have a French phone number and receive texts and calls for free while in France. There is a small charge if you are in other European countries. You receive calls at 0.06 euro cents a minute and make calls at 0.15 euro cents a minute and that is also for the USA so a big savings over many of the other plans for travelers. Big disadvantage is you can't send text messages when you are outside of France but that seems to have changed recently. Service is in English if you don't speak French. Rates change periodically but recently they actually went down so check the web site. The big advantage with LeFrench is that you can keep your phone number for the small fee of 90 euro cents a month. Le French Mobile web site: LeFrench Mobile web site

Another option may be the National Geographic Cellular Abroad program that gives you both a US and a UK phone number. Their rates are a bit higher but it might be cheaper for your callers.

Here are web sites for the plans I checked. You can look at all of them and see if any will serve your purpose. I don't see how to get around your callers having long distance charges so you might want to consider the LeFrench Mobile plan and have them call (or text) you and then you can call them back and talk on your bill which is 0.15 euro-cents per minute. There is a charge for the first full minute and then it's prorated by the second after that. Most will not let you keep your number so you will have to get a new number each time you return to Europe. LeFrench Mobile is the only one I know that lets you keep the number forever. I've had mine for years.

Here are web sites for several plans. Compare to see what suits you.
Le French Mobile web site
Orange Mobile web site
Cellular Abroad web site
Vodafone Mobile web site
La Poste Mobile Service web site (probably best for those who speak fluent French)
Boingo Mobile web site
LeBara Mobile web site
Lyca Mobile web site

If you don't have an unlocked phone, either get yours unlocked or purchase one when you get the SIM card and you'll have a European phone for travel. I usually switch my SIM card while waiting to board the plane. It's very easy. If you don't know how, ask at any phone store.

If you are Verizon, you can rent a phone inexpensively from Verizon for your trip and then return it. We know people who have done this and loved the program. We also have friends with iPhones who purchased the European option for the time they were in Europe, cancelled it when they got home and they found that worked well for them.

You should set up a Skype account too. It's free to other Skypers. We've got our family on it now so calls are free. Of course you need the computer to do this. I take mine for many reasons but it's very convenient for keeping in touch with family and friends. You can also set up Skype on your smart phone and that may be easier if you don't carry a computer or tablet.

Posted by Beausoleil 13:23 Archived in France Tagged cell phones mobiles handy

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login