Cheapest, simplest mobile phone possible - suggestions please

I hate the fact that online businesses are increasingly insisting that I provide a mobile phone number so that they can send a message for security. The latest is my bank who suddenly tell me they are introducing this in September.
I have an English mobile phone had it for years and years - small, neat, does all I need it to do - let’s me make calls when I (very rarely) need to. I doubt an English number will be accepted.
Also, we live in an area that has very poor reception - do none of these businesses recognise this???
With deep reluctance, I am facing buying a French mobile phone. Ideally one that has no contract, is pre-pay, doesn’t steal my balance if I only use it once a year and is very simple (for example, I don’t need a camera, I have a perfectly good Canon!).
Any suggestions please? (apologies if I’m repeating a previous thread)


There are loads of cheap smartphones available under €100 - Amazon, supermarkets etc. You may struggle to find a service provider for less than €5/month (with some free calls and texts). If you have no mobile signal, you could get a “femtocell” or similar attached to your internet.

Why buy another mobile phone when you already have one? You just need a different SIM card. All the discussions I’ve read over the years have concluded by saying that either the Free €2 or Leclerc’s cheapest SIM are the best for people in your position. If you want the convenience of a second phone so you don’t have to change the SIM (and actually have a French mobile number for your friends and businesses to use) getting a basic model is very cheap or it’s very likely that a friend or relation will be quite happy to pass on an old one they’ve got in a drawer.
I’m not an expert because I’m one of those people who is happy to pay for a contract that allows me to exploit the power of my 4G smartphone.


Under 100€ is cheap? Obviously a long time since I bought my smartphone!

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That was my reaction Jane. :slight_smile:
Thanks for the suggestions Mark and Martin.
I think I’ve found a cheap android one for under 50€ on Amazon, but I’m not sure it’s a phone because all it talks about in the description is the camera!
HGJVBFGH1 5 inch Android 6.0 Cheap Unlocked Smartphone Quad Core Dual SIM Mobile Phone Black EU
OH has got a Leclerc contract which I think is 2€ a month, so I think I’ll go for that.
Grateful for any other thoughts/suggestions. Thanks Sue

PS: apparently the above is not a good idea - only 3G and I’m told it ought to be 4G. Shame!

If you don’t want another phone why don’t you get any codes sent to your OH’s phone?

Because we don’t live in each other’s pockets.

I was expecting an answer like that but mine was a practical suggestion to allow you to avoid making a step that you seem to be reluctant to make. I’m obviously lucky that I’m able to share opportunities with my OH.

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You can have an unsmart phone, available in the fnac or even supermarkets. Your present foreign telephone may not work even with a new sim card, sometimes that happens for some reason (happened chez moi, insoluble, can’t use the foreign telephone and that is it.)
Look at free, perhaps?

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Doesn’t work for these codes unless you are INVARIABLY within earshot of each other at all times. The transaction takes too long and times out.

It might be less poor for a non foreign phone.

Hi What is femtocell and how does it work.



I use these codes at most a couple of times a month. I’m sure that I could arrange to be close to my OH’s phone on those occasions. We only have one landline, one bathroom and one car and manage to share those things quite easily.
I chose my French mobile provider after visiting my holiday home over the years with a roaming ‘foreign’ phone. I’d noticed that that phone always picked up one provider at the house so chose that one. A roaming phone is a good indicator of the best signal available.

Android operating system is up to version 9. Personally to ensure you are likely to receive updates, including security updates, perhaps look for a mobile which ships with a more recent version? Personally I bought a Motorola G6 plus a year ago - their range of phones (G7 series now) seem affordable and well put together, they do a “play” model which normally their cheapest.

Interestingly Vero I found my (UK ) phone worked when his (French) didn’t when we were standing in a “dead” area alonside our broken down car. :slight_smile:

It’s a gizmo/gadget that connects to your internet/livebox and allows you to make and receive mobile phone calls. Your phone numbers (up to 4) have to be synchronised with it, and you can only do this once. The Orange one used to cost about €20.

We also have poor reception, but my phone (3G) with o2 sim picks up messages easier than my phone with a Leclerc sim :thinking: £20 euros will last me many months.
French sim phone is only used when out and about and if needed, also occasionly turn on data if needed, but it will eat up data if not turned off! And o2 phone only used when in UK.
My ‘French’ phone gets a good reception if I walk 20 metres closer to my neighbours!

That’s the point I made, a roaming phone will pick up the strongest signal.
It’s worth noting that even when your phone will not pick up a signal from your provider you can still make emergency calls as the phone will then pick up any available carrier.

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Ok thanks Mark,

Kind regards


UK phone would have been able to choose French operator with strongest signal but the French phone would have been limited to one operator - so if that signal is too low you’re out of luck.

Véro’s problem might have been a UK phone locked to a UK operator or, just possibly, incompatible frequency bands, or simply that the customer services bod that she spoke to decided “life is too short to get a UK phone working on our network” :slight_smile:

As a global standard GSM works remarkably well.