Signing up for internet/phone

I’m not sure whether what follows might be inventing a problem where one doesn’t actually exist…

We move permanently to France early next March to a house with a disconnected landline. Initial research shows its not difficult to find plans offering bundled internet…landline…cellphone packages.

However…as cellphone packages offer a ‘free’ monthly call allowance to cells/landlines in France, this seems to make also having a landline redundant. But on the other hand, a landline’s basically a necessity to get online ? So you’re paying the fixed costs of a landline just to use the internet ? (In addition to the monthly package cost ?)

Is that right ? Or am I completely misunderstanding the package deals I’m seeing ?

It depends entirely which way up you want to look at it, David.
I have an adsl/VOIP package for 29€ per month. I almost never use the landline but it doesn’t bother me. I regard it as paying 29€ for adsl, and the package includes a freebie that I don’t happen to need.

Basically you’re paying for the connection, however you want to use it. It costs the provider no more to provide adsl and VOIP bundled together than to provide only one. So if you choose to only use one of them, they’re not going to charge you less.

If that makes sense.

So yes I think you are inventing a problem where one doesn’t actually exist, but if you don’t want a landline you can use mobile internet instead if you have a good enough signal at your house.

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We have a package with Orange which is for broadband only - we cannot make traditional phone calls via the analogue line, but we can make voip calls using a normal phone handset rather than Skype equivalent on PC/tablet (I use Vonage as a voip supplier which has our UK phone number on it).

For Internet we pay approx 24 euros per month with includes the livebox, Vonage is approx £9.50 per month which includes all normal UK calls.

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Depends on likely 4G/3G or fixed line internet speeds and your likely use pattern for phone and internet.

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Forgive total ignorance, but Livebox is…?

Thanks Anna - can I ask who you’re signed-up with ? And any idea of download speeds ?

For once Anna’s reply is less than clear. If you sign up for an Internet package from any of the providers you need a line coming into the house but you do not pay an extra charge for that line. As has been pointed out it cannot be used for fixed line phone calls only VOIP calls through whatever box provided. Most calls to fixed lines, even international numbers are free through VOIP. Some people do pay a addition charge to have an analogue phone as well as VOIP will not work when the power is down. Tradition line rental puts an extra €20 a month on your bill. If there was a power cut (very rare here) and I had to make a phone call I would use my mobile. That’s a big if as I’ve never been in that position.

Livebox is the router that Orange provide, you rent it from them for, I think, 3 euros a month. I don’t know if it is optional or not – and I have never rented a router before.


Thanks for clearing that up @Aquitaine :joy: yes my post was of the garbled variety, wasn’t it.

@Inglese - download speeds will depend on the location of your house and what the local provision is, worst case scenario in a rural area it can vary hugely according to how far it is away from the exchange or the cabinet with all the gubbins in or whatever it is that you need to be close to. In general, all things being equal you get the speed your line can deliver, regardless of which provider you are using. Unless you have a rubbish provider or choose a budget package.
Does that make sense this time? :grinning:


I think that you can supply your own modem and avoid the 3€ rental if you have just the ADSL service and phone via ligne fixe.

I wound up paying the 3€ through a convoluted sequence which went something like - I wanted VDSL so had to take the TV package which then meant that I had to have the Livebox and pay the extra rental. The TV box, interestingly, is “free” but you have to pay a 50€ or so deposit.

I don’t think that there is a technical reason for this - I think the TV service maintains a couple of PPPOE links over specific VLAN tags in addition to the main internet service and that might be difficult for the average customer to set up.

If you did not understand anything I just said don’t worry except to note that probably provides some proof I’m right about people not understanding how to set it up.

For similar reasons you need the Livebox if you take the Orange VOIP service as it a) it has the phone socket that you need to use and b) hides set-up details that Orange don’t really want in the public domain and a lot of customers would just have difficulty with.

If you take their VOIP service, you can take someone elses voip service without the Livebox.

I had assumed that it would be possible to replace the Livebox with your own router (I have some very good routers) - previously in UK I have found ISPs are unwilling to assist when there is a problem if you dont have their router. This is the first time ever that I have used an ISP supplied router. It is OK and I have been able to change the SSID (wifi name) and password to something more memorable.

Do you mean if you don’t take the (i.e Orange’s) VOIP service you can use a 3rd party VOIP service?

I considered this, but - unlike the UK - I think I discovered that you can’t get an “ordinary-looking” geographic number (i.e one starting 01-05) but would get an 09 number - which then looks like it’s going to be premium rate, and probably isn’t included in free calls made by friends and/or family when they call you.

I’d be happy to discover I was wrong about that.

Otherwise I agree with you - the Livebox is not too bad as modems go (I’d prefer something running OpenWrt but the Livebox is quite “liveable with”).

I think that I should point out that there are lots of Internet+phone packages that give you a VOIP service and a perfectly normal phone number, however I line in a non-dégroupé area so didn’t have much choice and I am talking specifically about the VOIP only services that are available. Also these tend to have a business leaning and (unlike the UK) some do not want to talk unless you have a SIRET/N

Paul - I probably wasnt clear - I was trying to highlight where you wrote “the” voip service and I think it should be “their” voip service. Alternatively it could be worded as you suggested ie “If you dont take…”

I have edited the relevant post for clarity, at least I hope that it is clearer now, that I was talking about the VOIP connection that Orange provide. :slight_smile:

Yes thanks ! Orange here I come by the sounds of it. Possibly…

When we signed up for broadband it was hard to do online because the form required a French mobile phone number and we didn’t yet have one. In the end, we went via and not only did it all over the phone in English but also got a better rate (€10/month) for ADSL than I was being offered via the web. Later, we then got a SIM-only mobile deal as an add-on (also arranged via Selectra, but with the same provider - SFR).

After many years with Orange, we are since almost two years with Sosh for our ADSL connection.
It’s only 20 € per month including the modem/router (Livebox 4). Since our region is very much in favour of fast connections, we have VDSL, actually: download 65 Mb/s, upload 16 Mb/s. Excellent!

Sosh is the budget brand of Orange; same quality, but cheaper. Customer service is online only, but anyway the nearest Orange shop is 45 km away.

I seem to recall reading somewhere recently that in a couple of years time, no new ‘landlines’ as we know them will be sold. We will all be on an internet connection for our phones. So perhaps head down that route now!

My view is to stick with Orange, have their internet AND their router, then if anything goes wrong they have to help, if more than one provider is involved in your setup, they will all point the finger at the others if anything does not work, and you are left confused and angry in the middle with no service.

Have lots of fun planning your move, how exciting!