Mobile phone for france
Replies: 9 - Last Post: May 30, 2012 6:03 AM Last Post By: NewIslander
May 29, 2012 9:07 PM
Mobile phone for franceI"ve never owned a mobile phone yet. I think i should get one for france. I live in Australia. I want to get a cheap one.
My trip is for six weeks cycling about.
Will i need to always book ahead for accommodation if i am staying in the cheapest places available ie camping grounds and occasionally staying in a hostel or chambre d'hote?
If i buy a phone in australia how do i manage with a sim card in france. Can i buy it there? What do i buy?
Is it better to buy one in france. if so what is hte cheapest decent phone i can buy that will work all over france and not break down. Also how often do you have to charge these phones?
I find it such a drag to have to book anything ahead of time. I am not the type who needs to have everything sorted out to hte nth degree in advance but being turned away and having nowhere to sleep would be annoying. Also some restaurants i might have to book ahead for.
May 29, 2012 11:38 PM
If you have an unlocked dual band phone, you can buy a SIM in France. I started out buying a somewhat expensive phone in the US but after that, bought a SIM chip on ebay. While I didn't use it all that much, it was necessary at times, and always a source of a feeling of security.
There are a couple of posts on the subject of French mobiles and SIMs which you can check out for a LOT of details and info and advice.
I had loaned my mobile to friends for their UK trip and they damaged the charger--and didn't tell me. I found out when I took the phone out of the carrier to charge it. Much older phone, no charger avalable except online--so I bought a phone in France. I got a phone and SIM for about 30 euro--the only problem is a new battery has to be charged 15 hours or it won't hold a good charge after that. Fortunately I had booked a hotel for two nights (in Chartres) so I went to the hotel, checked in, found a store, bought a phone (and extra minutes), went back to the hotel and started charging. By the time I left it was well charged, and held the charge. *** see below
Here are the basics. When you buy a SIM it usually comes with 5 euro credit. When you need more credit you go to a store (I've bought credits at some grocery stores, tabacs, etc), punch in the numbers and your phone service will be updated.
Calling mobile to landline is the cheapest, mobile to mobile is the most expensive. Texts use little. I called a landline in Toronto (Canada) for 15 minutes for what it cost me to call a mobile in Amsterdam for 10....
Batteries...the newer the battery, the longer it will hold a charge. I know I would need to charge mine at least every 18 hours, even if not used, but with a newer phone here in the US I get two days easy...since most phones are made by major companies, what gives the longest time in Oz should give the longest time in France...(not just say, "LG" but a specific model).
Coverage: There are four or five major carriers in France (I forget!) and they all have pretty much the same coverage. I do know in places that I went in Ariege in the mountains there was none because there were no towers.I suppose if one had a satellite phone with GPS they could get a signal but that's not my speed or need.
More people have mobiles in France than landlines--too many hassles getting the landline set up, etc) and the freedom of being able to change companies.
I don't know what kind of plug is used in Oz, the one in France is two round pins--there are inexpensive converters sold (I buy mine on ebay, out of China) which work well.
Because of the widespread use of mobiles, 'cabines' or phone booths are not that available and would require searching out. There are phone cards, again, with specific euro amounts. I used them my first trip, and would get one for the times when I'd be where there was no cell service (each small village would have a cabine or two...). They slide into the booth phone and you can see the usage as you talk. There are also cards (again, with preset value) that you use to call a toll free number, and then call the number you want. I've used those when staying in a house in an area without mobile service (but a phone in the place). This last one would be of little or no use to you, I think.
For restaurants, I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but I would try for the lunch...it will not only cost less but there would be less pressure. When I was in the Cite in Carcassonne, one restaurant was reservation only (even at lunch) but one 20 meters away had open tables and wonderful food and service. Unless there are very specific restaurants you want to visit reservations might not be a major concern. Lodging--that would be worth a phone call.
- I don't know that much about phones, hope someone else reads this and replies. I wonder if you remove the battery from the phone if the battery lasts longer...(nothing drawing juice from it..). If I can find something online about it, I'll send you a PM.
May 30, 2012 12:16 AM
2Thanks for all that information. the good thing about it is i could understand you!! most of the time when tech heads start talking about stuff i haven't a clue what they are on about.
But you make me thing of one more question. Since i would not be expecting any/many calls. I would turn my phone off when i wasn't using it, so this would keep my battery charged for much longer wouldn't it. could it be as long as a week between charges if that were the case, do you think?
May 30, 2012 12:58 AM
A mobile phone works two ways, both for outgoing and incoming calls.
There really isn't much point in having one - if it's often switched off.
One further thought is....
Leave it on all the time. You don't know how urgently someone might be trying to contact you ! !
You can still charge your phone when it's switched on.
You don't have to switch it off to recharge the battery.
May 30, 2012 2:19 AM
May 30, 2012 2:49 AM
5Good link, scroll down for info on prolonging battery life:
May 30, 2012 2:52 AM
May 30, 2012 5:46 AM
7when you arrive in France, go to the nearest monoprix or even a branded phone shop or a La Poste post office and buy a disposable mobile - there is a super cheap Bic brand one here (like the pens) that is around 30 euros which includes some Orange phone credit, and more if you register. buy extra minutes as well if you think you will need them.
there are more expensive phones of course, but it sounds like all you want it for is to take calls, not to access internet, take photos, blog etc.
as SFgirl says, make sure you are staying somewhere at least one night where you can charge the new phone overnight the first time, so it will hold a good charge each time you charge it afterwards
as time goes by, when you need to add extra credit, you can ring a number or you can buy credit in Tabac shops.
May 30, 2012 5:51 AM
8Good info from sfgirl. Perhaps this is also useful:
Turning off your phone is a good way to save power if you're going to leave it off for a while. The process of powering on the phone, for a brief time, uses quite a bit of power so if you're going to turn it on and off every hour you probably would not save battery life, and may even wear the batteries down faster than if you left it on.
Your phone will need to be a GSM phone. If you buy it in France, they all will be GSM so you can forget about it. If you buy it in the US, this becomes more important. Examples of non-GSM phones are those made for use with Verizon or Sprint.
A dual-band phone could be a problem if it is made for the US market. A quad band phone would not be significantly more expensive, and then you could use it with GSM systems around the world for future trips - pretty much anywhere outside South Korea and Japan.
If you have a simple phone from T-Mobile or AT&T, they are GSM, and in theory the provider is supposed to give you the unlock code if you ask. Sometimes they can give you the run-around, but if you persist it would save the cost of a new phone. I say "simple phone" to avoid getting into data costs that smart phones have.
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