Smartphone internet access in france

the husband is a computer whizz, and once he's finished renovating our house in sussex (he's on a 12 week deadline) he'll join the group and add his two cents worth... in the meantime i've been tasked with the following...

we're moving to the tarn in April, probably a rented house, possibly a gite in the short term. We have an internet business selling music. We're bound to be without broadband access for a while - probably ages.

What's the story with smartphone access in France - would it work? (He has a blackberry) should we get a mobile dongle thing for our laptop? would that work? would it be fast / cheap enough or... Are we going to have to resort to internet cafes?

Should we get a French Sim / Cell Number?

All advice welcome...


Ooh dance music - takes me back. I was a fanatic in London in the late 80's/early 90's - the arrival of Acid House blew me away. I almost gave up my degree because of my clubbing.....there was a really good scene around Ladbroke Grove (my origins). Infact I had a Rampling/Weatherall/Whirlygig moment on YouTube the other evening, but don't think my french friends appreciated my trip down memory lane, despite their polite smiles and nodding of heads.

And as for slang - try to find a book called 'The Complete Merde' - its excellent. And as for local slang - I can fill you in on that!

Oh, and when you get here let me take you to my local bar - no one speaks english but they love everything Irish, especially since the owner and friends spent a debauched weekend in Dublin last year.

Thanks Sarah! Going to investigate…

Hi there

Its called Formule Plus - 20M. I came across it after receiving tons of spam from SFR offering me cheaper access, so I called Orange and said I was going to leave (I was at that time on more expensive package) unless they offered me a better deal. And they did. From now on I am going to regularly check their packages as they seem to introduce new ones fairly regularly.

Hi Sarah

What package have you got with Orange - does it have a name? Thanks! Cx

Sarah thank you so much for the advice. Really interesting especially as we'll be "in your area" We have a little internet business selling dance music - Little Dog Discs and we want to try and make a reasonably seamless move... we're renting in Les Cammazes and the guy has promised to have the broadband switched on. We had the dubious pleasure of moving a couple of times with B.T. here so we're prepared for the worst!

thanks so much too for your offer of translating - we'll need it... I don't think the accent will be a problem though - more our lack of ability and vocab. I'm diligently doing my french lessons, Tony is learning only slang. He figures he'll be forgiven as he's Irish and swears a lot... x

Hi Theresa

I have no problem with my mobile in this area (I often work online on my mobile or watch tv etc. as I'm waiting for a bus) and it costs me less than my UK phone did. I am with Orange, who can also discuss contracts in English - I can get you their english speaking number if you like. As and when you install broadband its quicker with Orange than other providers as Orange is a subsid of France Telecom. It will take a week and cost about 100e. My monthly direct debit is 30e and I get all national and international calls free, one hours call to mobiles, freeview tv etc. If you are going to rent you will find phone lines in all houses here, but may have to call Orange (or whoever you chose) to upgrade to broadband. In any case this area is all wired up for broadband so connecting is not a problem. If you don't install a line at home, in Revel there are also several internet cafes, plus the library. Most cafes have wifi. Same goes for Castres and even here in Soreze we have two bars that have free wifi. Any probs feel free to use my office/connection. A french sim/cell number will be cheaper than cost per minute on a uk phone as you will not be using an overseas number. The deals here are pretty much the same as the UK. Again if you settle in Revel there is an Orange shop as well as a general mobile phone outlet - both offer good customer service. And finally, don't hesitate to ask if you need a translator - I am bilingual and have no problem with the accent here (and yes you are moving to a part of France where the accent can be so strong you may think you are in the wrong country). bon courage,as they say

thanks martin - great stuff!

I think you will find mobile access both slow and expensive. if the property you are moving to has a phone line, it should not take too long to get connected. It took us two weeks if I remember correctly and that was extended because we switched to Free at the same time instead of sticking with Orange / French Telecom.

If you are renting, then I would seriously consider looking for somewhere that has a phone line and can get broadband. Some info on my telephone information page may help.