Communications – Internet, Mobile phones & Telephones

Expats leaving their family and friends should be assured that there will be many ways that they can keep in touch with them through the means of different communications.


Setting up the internet once you have reached the country is one of the first things that should be done. Majority of the internet providers offer various packages with internet, phone, cable and television services. Internet services can be of a good quality depending on where you live. When contacting internet providers, you should ask about any additional charges with some companies including the cost of installation.

The services provided especially as packages including most things will be high quality and for a good value. Some companies will offer new customers services at reduced rates of the first few months of subscription when choosing a package.

To get internet services connected you will need to show proof of ID and proof of address. You may also need to pay a deposit.

Customers will receive a monthly bill including payments for any packages you may have. Bills are usually paid by direct debit, online or by cheque.

Expats who don’t have internet services at home will be able to take advantage of internet access in libraries and internet cafes. As well as being able to use free WIFI.

Mobile Phones

Majority of the French companies will use the GSM system so all the GSM compatible phones will work in the country. Expats who have this, will not need to purchase a new phone and will simply just need to get a SIM card.

When getting a new SIM card be sure to find out what packages they have on offer, as some contracts will include unlimited texts, calls and internet access. Some packages will include free calls to European countries. To sign up however you will need to show proof of your ID and proof of address. Expats can choose to commit to a contract package, where they will be required to pay monthly or they will have the option to ‘pay as you go’ which will require topping up a card.


Although most people have mobile phones, landline telephones are still used in and around the country.

There are four different major telecoms companies in France: Orange, SFR, Bouyges and Free. All services will offer free landline to landline calls in France and the EU. Orange has an English speaking section when calling customer services to help with general and technical support.

Many of the telephone companies provide both internet and television services as well as telephone services. You may be able to get a discounted package if you purchase all three services. To open an account for telephone services, it is quite straightforward and you would just need to contact your local services. Customers may be required to show proof of address and an ID to be able to get connected. If you have rented or bought a property, they may have had a telephone line connected previously, in this case you will just need to re-open the line and get the account transferred on your name.

Telephone bills are issued every 2 months and sometimes VAT will be charged on any telecom services that you have used. To pay for your bill, you can either be set up on a direct debit, pay with a cheque or even pay online.

In France there are five main area codes

  • Paris: 01
  • Nantes: 02
  • Strasbourg: 03
  • Monaco, Marseille: 04
  • Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyon: 05

Postal and Mail delivery

Postal services in France are provided by ‘La Poste’, this is a reliable and convenient service which offers a full range of postal and banking services.  Expats may find that when sending something internationally this will be more expensive than sending something within the country.

All services which are offered are accessible online and the reliability of this service is quite good.

Television and Radio

There are different types of television services available in France. One of the services is a terrestrial television service which uses SECAM system and there is also satellite television where a satellite dish will need to be connected. This usually provides wider choice of programmes.

There are five free public stations but if you want to watch something in English from your the UK a cable will be necessary. Some English programs will be shown in French with subtitles and some will be dubbed.

When buying a television for your property you will be expected to pay a fee for a television license every year. You will need to provide the local authorities with the details about having a television connection.

French people enjoy listening to the radio and there are different national and regional radio stations which are available. However, only a few of these stations will broadcast in English. Expats may prefer to listen to the radio over internet as they will be able to listen to something in their own language