Pay as you go SIMs

I want to get a Pay as you go SIM but I have a feeling that the ones in France expire after a month even if you don’t use them. I know this was the case a few years ago but am wondering if things have improved. I won’t be using it much - just for emergencies. Any advice gratefully received.

LeClerc have such a beast IIRC

They charge 1.50€/month which is deducted from the balance on your account.
If there is insufficient money on your account to fund the monthly fee, you get a message to say so after which the account will be ended if no action is taken but the basic principle is that you don’t lose any credit on your account other than the monthly fee.
Just perfect for the type of function you have in mind.


Have a look at le french mobile, not sure if its still the same but the credit does not expire.

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:+1: :+1:


You may be asked to produce your passport when buying the SIM. They are a device which can be planted in the circuit of an IED.

No longer 1.5€ a month but 3.50€ for the most basic. That entitles you to 1 hour of calls and 100 texts (or something like that). You cannot top-up. That’s the new system. What others are talking about here is a legacy system. There’s another thread somewhere - I’ll go look for it - where I was asking for a cheap mobile phone and other people had cheaper suggestions than the Leclerc one.

This is the thread. Looks like Free is cheaper than Leclerc:

The Formule Mini is definitely still available. I guess you didn’t check out the link that Graham posted. I have posted it again here.


Mandy, I’ve had the Leclerc mini sim for years, so easy to set up, top up online and check remaining phone credit and as you say only €1,50 each month. Highly recommend.


I had it for several years as well until I was given an iphone and then switched to the 3€50 formule. I would highly recommend Leclerc for SIM only packages.

You can buy them easily in the supermarket (or online) and you just have to give your name and address. Really simple to top-up by debit card on line as well.


A few questions.
We have our current phone which is on contract with orange and that is fine.
Our previous phone was with orange which we now use around the house or anywhere else that we can connect to WIFI as it no longer has a sim card.
If we were to buy a sim from Leclerc so that we can use the phone for calls would it have to be unlocked first?
Also once we put in a sim would we be able to make/receive calls via WhatsApp and Messenger which cost nothing?
The idea of having just paying a small monthly fee to have a permanent mobile number is tempting.
Any advise gratefully received.

I had to unlock the iphone I was given as it was previously on contract in the UK. I’m sure someone else will be able to answer this point with clarity.

With regard to Whatsapp/Messenger then obviously it would be better to use them to make calls when you are attached to WIFI as it would be free.

With the 1€50 package you would have to pay extra to do everything - making calls, sending texts, using internet etc. The rates are on the link I posted.

With the 3€50 package you get some calls/texts/internet included but it’s not much and you would use 50 mo pretty quickly using WhatsApp/Messenger.

If you want the phone just for emergencies/occasional use and can connect to WIFI at home then these are great packages. I attach a link showing all the packages available from Leclerc.

Thanks Mandy.
I am not that hot on the various abilities of mobiles so bear with me.
You say to use WIFI so WhatsApp etc is free which I understand but we cannot do that without a sim in the phone as the app will not load without a sim? Or at least that is my understanding.

That is quite correct @JohnBoy
The app requires a valid phone number to work but if you are connected to the internet by WiFi (with no 4G signal as often the case indoors) the app will work perfectly well.

“Whatsapp only uses your phone number (which depends on the SIM card) for verification purposes… the resulting feature is that you can keep on using whatsapp with that specific cell phone without having a SIM card installed.”

That is VERY interesting Mandy. When I went into our local Leclerc to ask about the 1.50€ package MOH has had for several years I was told it was no longer available and the only leaflet she could show me started at the 3.50€ monthly rate. mmm :slightly_frowning_face:

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Probably trying to upsell their option.

Thanks @graham for this which is, of course, a perfect explanation. Hope it helps John.

Look at Leclerc options yourself, sim card and other accessories are usually on display.
Pick the option that Graham and Mandy have linked.

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It certainly has and many thanks to you both.
When I received our new phone and transferred the sim card from old to new the likes of WhatsApp stopped working on the simless phone but obviously ok on new one.
After reading your info hey presto we now have WhatsApp on both phones, when of course the simless phone is on WIFI.
It’s all down to my inferior knowledge of smartphone technology as having resisted one for so long I have only been a user for 2 years, desk tops prior to that.
My kids are probably right when they tell me that I live in the dark ages🤣


TBH I think we all go through a massive learning curve when it comes to this sort of technology. It can be quite complex and sometimes quite difficult to grasp but well done you for embracing it :heavy_check_mark:


It’s only easy if you know the answers :thinking::wink: