Unlocked mobile, now what?

Hi all,

Well after alot of googling, I've ordered my mobile smart -phone (never had one before).....

Have been doing my best to 'inform' myself via the net (Martin Lewis site good...but so much to learn & understand)....

It's arriving soon and it takes a dual card sim (so I will be using one to park my old Uk mobile sim in . I hope it's going to be compatible as the old uk phone is old and now I want to get a prepaid simcard, that is valid for much longer than a month....(as I wont be making many calls, but will use it to check/send emails when out an about and consulting maps via GPS).

Martin Lewis reccommends turning 'data roaming off' and relying on Wifi.....

I'm on a steep learning curve.....have just discovered that there are cards for making calls and cards for data...so presumably, these aren't interchangable..?

What thinketh you ?.... mes SFN amis.....?

Je vais juste pour une tasse de thé et un mensonge bas ........!

Hello Simon & Mark,

Well one of the larger slots has the old sim (fitted snugly) in it and I have made a call to Tmobile without a problem.

Just got the Free card ordered for the other slot & French numbers...that should come in a few days....

So what is the other much smaller slot for ?

Hi Hilary - the larger slots are probably memory card slots.

Sim's do not have different storage capacity on them! Think of your sim as your phone line / identity. It's the physical phone that has the storage - in your case 4 Gigabites.

All good informative stuff, many thanks Simon. I am just in the throws of buying 2nd iPhone 5's (plural, yes a 5, a C, and a S models). That is bringing a fair few headaches and problems with it!

Hi Mark & Simon,

Opened my new & old phone and discovered that the sim doesn't need to be cut...it fits....so I'm keeping it for use en Angleterre (not much), so not worth the bother of changing to a new provider, I feel.

I have two larger slots side by side, plus a much smaller one (about half the size), what's this for I wonder ?

The set up guide is very minimal & concise, with no labelled diagram, so I feel quite good about having opened the back, fitted the sim and got it working, making a call.

Trying to register on Freemobile fr online...getting stuck on one of those forms that asks for info, but then wont let you enter it....will try again after I've finished this...

So sims come with different storage capacity.....so I need to request this when I send off for the Free sim...or do I get sufficient with the 2 euros per month offer ?

If it's less draining I can consult Google maps (is there an App ?)...for when I'm visiting Bergerac and exploring on foot......I do own a good Garmin, with lifetime maps, bought and practiced with in the UK, before I made my single handed trip through S E England through the chunnel to SW France(fantastic trip)....so that is obviously what I will continue to use in the car....

Many thanks for your help....

Crikey Mark - you manage to use 1Go od data in a few days - that really is going some!!

I have an excellent 20Go / month deal with Virginmobile France and never even get close to using 1Go - my GPS is always on, I use loads of apps including Youtube, Waze (in the car), Google Maps etc etc - surely there must be something wrong with your phone? How come you use sooooo much data?

FREE at €2 a month is the only way to go. I don't even pay that as I have a Freebox for broadband which means I pay ... €0 for my mobile phone.


Re sim card size, any mobile phone shop will be able to clip it down for you. You will not be able to use a data only card in a phone but there are regular deals, such as, I think, La Poste , check out your local post office. What you will be looking for is called a 'Forfait sim', which means they will not try and sell you a new phone too. I do not recommend getting a low G offer, one G you will use in a few days, especially with a GPS running. I would say a working figure would be 20. Sounds high? Wait till you go over your data limit! You'll be clobbered with massive charges, just like in the UK. Personally, I use my UK telephone (3 Telecom) for GPS and general surfing, it works fine. They have a special deal for France. Otherwise, probably the best deal is to tie in your mobile phone package with your landline. I use Free. Make sure, however, that your coverage is ok, as many are not in far-flunger parts.

The other alternative, if GPS is a major reason for getting a phone, is to actually use a GPS. I have a Garmin. Make absolutely sure you get European map updates for life on it. Or else, of course, go to Amazon and get one there, so you can have French directions, which is possibly preferable, in France. The two big advantages are you dont need phone coverage to operate them (so tunnels, mountains, large buildings are less of a problem) and they are faster reacting than most phones. I got fed up with my French (Wiko) phone, which announced turnings 50 yards after passing them. I bought an iPhone 6. Great excuse. Then I bought the GPS too... The only disadvantage is if you have a convertible and for some reason the GPS won't hook up to the stereo via bluetooth (mine wont), you will not hear it at speed. Then again, you won't hear much at speed in a convertible, even with hood up, if its a cloth one.

Hope that's of some use.

If you use a clipper , keep the outer casing you can then put it back together.

I also vouch for free.fr. 2€ per month gives me unlimited sms in France and 2h of calls to European landlines and french mobiles as well as some internet time.

We had a problem with sim card being too big, go to any phone shop, they will cut it to size. You can get a tool online to cut it yourself.

I would also agree that Free offer a good deal & pretty universal coverage in terms of their network.

My main phone is with SFR, but whilst in this region the coverage is good, elsewhere I've found myself with no signal at all, whereas with Free (Orange) coverage was excellent.

I have also found SFR's service generally to be in decline over the last three years or so...landline & mobile.

I can only speak from the point of view of someone uses his phone(s) to talk to people...smartphones & I are not really compatible

Good luck with your choice

Hang on Pete - roaming at no cost elsewhere in Europe? Only if you have their 15,99 (for freebox subscribers)/19,99€ per month option and then only for 35 days a year (Pass Destination).

Quite a difference between 24€ / year and 192€ - 240€ / year!

I can heartily recommend FREEMOBILE for use in France and roaming at no cost elsewhere in Europe with a few restrictions... try it out by buying a sim card at one of there atm points in your local TABAC thyen if you like get a contract.

have a look here (in GOOGLE CHROME if you need to translate) http://mobile.free.fr/

As a non-resident, I use Sosh, which provides me with a month to month contract. Sosh are part of Orange. A lot cheaper than PAYG. You will need a French bank account. Which you will for anything that isn't PAYG.

Sosh also have a very useful European package which allows me to call to and from anywhere in western Europe as part of my contract.

Hilary a few things:

Don't be using your French Freemobile data package when in the UK ! - you will be 'roaming' and will soon run up a significant bill. Most UK operators offer daily or monthly data deals which are pretty good value for domestic use.

Sim-only plans are just that - you simply get a sim card with whatever deal you've asked for - preferably without any contract. Some people prefer the whole package which also includes a handset but that almost always comes with a fixed term contract of 12-24 months. I've never really understood why people do this as they are effectively buying their handset at a highly inflated price. Much better to buy your handset outright and then just order contract free sims.

As far as physical sim cards themselves go - there are 3 types. Standard (older big ones), micro (for most new smartphones) and nano (for iphones / apple products).

Don't worry about the 4g thing - that just indicates the highest level of mobile network the phone can access. So all 4g networks are compatible with 3g and 2g devices.

As for the phone you've chosen - it's probably fine for your purposes. It's a regular Android system phone with 2 micro sim slots. It's memory (ROM) is very small at 4Go but I guess that's ok if you're simply using it as a phone with the odd bit of surfing! If you use it for storing photos, music etc it will soon fill up - but no worries you can simply store any photos and music in the 'cloud' (Google Drive, Onedrive etc) and call them up on your phone when you need them.

You will find lots of demo videos on Youtube - all Android phones work pretty much the same way.

Hope this helps and good luck ! :-)

Giffgaff use the o2 network which generally gives more coverage than EE/Tmobile despite what their adverts may say. As BT bought EE/tmob they offer BT customers a very good deal too if you ask hard enough but I still wouldn't change as the coverage is better with o2 (the old BT network before they sold it off)

4G is the high speed, your phone can't do that so will just use 3 & 2G Giff gaff don't charge any extra.

Sim only plans refers to owners of sims and not contract deals. Giffgaff call theirs Goody bags as they contain data, calls and text allowances but they also have Air time credits which is similar to your T mobile deal but cheaper as you are not paying for data and texts if you are just making calls. Get your friends to switch and calls and texts are free between GiffGaff users (Uk).

As a bonus if you want a sim card and I get the sim card sent to you we both get a £5

Thanks Simon,

I'll do that ( I am with T mobile pay as you go), ...because all I want to be able to do is top it up by a few quid for when I'm driving back to the UK and rendezvous-ing with friends, or emergencies....Dont expect to be Googling anything much over there, but I suppose it doesn't matter as that would be taken care of by the data package on the French Free service..?

Found the Giff-gaff link....but I'm not sure it's worth the bother of changing over to them...I suppose I'll have to check what I get allocationwise for my T mob basic plan....

(I hate all this...it's like trying to compare electricity tarriffs....)

Incidentally, I still dont 'get' why they list....(see the Giff-gaff site) types of sims/deals seperately like this....are there difference types of sims.? ...I can't visualise it....


Thanks for your patience...

4G is mentioned alot.....but here is the spec (for better or worse) of the phone I have ordered....it says 2G & 3g....nothing about 4.....

It had good write ups on the Amazon uk site...although I ordered it (via SFN James) through the French site.....think it's good enough for a Smartphone novice like me Simon although I did look at and seriously consider the Wileyfox Swift (a bit pricey for me and maybe more complicated to use)

EasySMX LEAGOO LEAD 6 SMART PHONE adopter de MTK6573M puissant dual-core processeur pour fonctionner à grande vitesse sans Consommer trop de puissance., 512Mb RAM+4Go ROM. Carte SIM: Double Cartes SIM Débloqué Double Réserves, tous les deux slot est micro SIM, Bien concu avec multi-couleur optionels. Approprié a tous agees, enfant/jeunes/vieux., Resolution: 854 x 854mp. 5mp pour Caméra arrière, et 2.0mp pour Front de caméra., 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 * 3G: WCDMA 900/2100

Hilary - Free use the Orange Network. Virgin use SFR.

As for your new UK Sim, why use Amazon? Most UK mobile operators will let you have more than one sim assigned to the same number - just call your existing UK operator and ask them for an additional micro-sim.

Thanks to everyone.....will try to google whether Free is available here (nr Bergerac) and in the Charentes where I will be visiting friends....

I have noticed the clipper gadgets for trimming sim cards......but thinking about it i thought I may just leave the too big sim, in the old phone...as a back up, in case I need it...

So that means doesnt it, that I will need to buy a new UK sim, as well as getting a French one for my new dual sim phone. ..?

I suppose I can do this via Amazon....