So you have just arrived in Paris and you are wandering if you should get a French phone number or not.
Well a French mobile phone number will make your life much easier when planning to go out with your Erasmus friends. French mobile phone companies have some very good package offers, but before making your choice we would like to give you some advice ;)
First let's talk about the phone you're gonna use:
In any case you should have an unlocked phone. It means that you can use a SIM card from any phone company and you will be able to use your cellular in France as well as in your home country after Erasmus.
If you already have a phone and need to get it unlocked, try unlocking it at home by calling your phone provider before you come to France.
If you are in France and your phone is locked you can a basic phone in France, with call and text messages, for around 20€. Just make sure the phone is unlocked before you buy it so you can use the phone in your home country after Erasmus. Look for the term "désimlocker" in French to find unlocked phones in shops.
Here is a list of shops that sell unlocked phones:
Find a cheap mobile phone company:
Good news for all of you. Since 2011, France has some amazingly cheap mobile phone deals for calling and text.
- I'm staying in France for less than 6 months:
If you're staying in France less than 6 months you can probably live without smartphone options like internet or e-mail. So we will focus on the basics: phone calls and texts!
Prepaid phone plan is your best option if you're staying in France for a short period of time. A prepaid phone is easy to set up, and doesn't require any special paperwork.
For approximately 4 to 20 € per month you will get credit to call other fixed or mobile French numbers as well as unlimited texts to numbers in France.
We recommend La Poste mobile. It's easy to subscribe your phone package or pre paid card directly in the Post office. You can top up your credit in the Post Office when you need to.
La Poste Mobile website (1)
- I'm staying in France for more than 6 months:
If you are staying in France for more than 6 months, you will maybe want some options with your cell phone package like internet access or international calls.
We recommend signing up for a contract-free mobile phone plan ("forfait sans engagement"). Contract free mobile phone plan offer best deals than prepaid package but are a bit more difficult to sign up which is why we don't recommend them if you are staying for only a short period of time ;)
- I need a French phone number only to call and send text messages.
The best deal is to subscribe to Free mobile 2€ package.
For 2€ per month you will get 2 hours of phone calls and unlimited text messages.
More info and subscription on mobile.free.fr. Free also has a shop 8 rue de la Ville-L'évêque, Paris 8ème . Since its first shop in Paris, Free has developed many shops in the French cities, just have a look on their website to know if your city has a shop or not ;)
- I need a French phone number to call, send text messages and sometimes surf on internet.
A good option would be to take a small internet access mobile phone package.
You can have good offers with Virgin Mobile. You can take a package for 10€ per month and choose if you want unlimited phone call or 1Go fair use of internet. Of course you will get unlimited text with both options.
Subscription on Virgin Mobile website. N.B Virgin Mobile don't operate anymore and we didn't found any equivalent with orange, SFR, and Bouygues. If you know a 10€ package with unlimited text, phone calls and 1Go of internet let us know ! (1)
- I need a French mobile phone number to call people in France and make international calls to my friends and family, send text messages and surf on internet.
In this case the 19.99€ Free mobile package will satisfy you.
You will get unlimited phone calls in France to fixed phone line and on mobile phone line as well as international calls in many European countries, plus USA, Canada and some countries in America Latina, Asia……).
The mobile offer also include unlimited text messages. And you will also get a fair use of 50Go each month to surf the web.Information and subscription on mobile.free.fr. (1)
Another advantage of signin up for a phone plan is to have access to the phone provider's Wifi hotspots, which you can use instead of using up your data allowance. You can learn more about mobile phone plan options in this guide.
You're now ready to get in touch with your friends and families as you discover France :)
(1) All the phone providers listed here can proposed you free-contract mobile phone package ("sans engagement" in French) so you can cancel your package without any fees as soon as you will leave France.