Staying in Touch in France


French SIM CardStaying in touch whilst in France should by now be a fairly straightforward thing to do, you would have thought, in this day and age. Not so. Unfortunately you'll still either pay through the nose if you plan to use your UK mobile provider, be stuck with a UK number if using a Global SIM card or possibly get caught up in the horrendous local network issues if you plan to adopt a local solution when you arrive.

Another factor is created by the fact that, especially if planning full re-location to France, your use of a mobile phone will dramatically change, whether for leisure, business or just the process of house buying. We often consider our individual use of mobiles as minimal in normal UK life, but by the time you are in a new country trying to effect some pretty significant life changing things you'll be surprised how your reliance on mobile communications increases.

True European roaming rates have dropped in the last couple of years but you still pay around 40 p/min to make a call and 20 p/min to receive a call in France on the main UK mobile networks. In contrast a French network pay-as-you-go (PAYG) SIM card may be an alternative, but this is where the fun starts and a unique French 'spin' comes into play. Not only are the French PAYG SIM cards expensive to buy but the rates on many networks are actually dearer than UK network roaming rates nowadays (some as much as 56 p/min). Yes, there's the benefit of free incoming calls and a local French number but it's the top up and validity that catches most people out. Unlike the UK a French PAYG SIM will permanently expire, along with the number if not regularly topped up and credit also expires if unused. Likewise a global SIM card may be considered a suitable option. However, as with most global SIM cards (or international SIM cards as they are often known as) they still use a UK number range. Sacre bleu!

So, whilst having a French number is a big advantage in France, especially if you plan to stay in touch with estate agents, builders, tradesmen (and expect to have your calls or voice mails returned), it can be easy to come unstuck. However, based on this feedback from many existing SIM users, 0044 Ltd (www.0044.co.uk) are unique in the fact that they can actually create a very cost effective French mobile solution alternative and have it all managed and supported directly for you from the UK. Not something you'll get with a UK based contract or one of the many global SIM cards now available from global SIM suppliers.

The advantage is that you use the same French Orange SIM and have a local French mobile number meaning it's easy to stay in touch cost effectively. Rates for making calls drop dramatically to 20 p/min locally and only 30 p/min to call the UK, texts are only 16 p each and you still receive all of your calls for free. Data facilities are also available meaning you can use the SIM cards in web enabled handsets or for setting up internet access via a lap top. These unique French mobile contracts start at £6.99 per month and you can subscribe to them for as little as 6 months. True, a global SIM can offer greater flexibility than a French PAYG SIM but, like any global SIM card, the UK number will still be a deterrent for locals calling you back.

Equally there are also solutions available to help your friends, family and loved ones contact you despite the fact that you are in France with a French mobile or land line number. Dialthrough solutions are now readily available via 0044 Ltd on the web site and enable people to call your French number (be it a land line or mobile) from as little as 2 p/min - whilst your pay nothing to receive the call. The global SIM card is not part of this plan although calling a global SIM from the UK can still be cost effective at 13 p/min.

Data usage is also becoming an increasingly requested service for expats. Feedback from French mobile users has helped us understand the growing communications needs of travellers to France. Whether on a temporary basis in a second home, permanently residing there or perhaps even at the start of the process looking for that ideal property. The requirement to access the internet from remote locations on a regular basis is more important than ever these days yet, sometimes, can still be a vastly expensive commitment or very difficult to understand and set up. That's where our experience and expertise in the French mobile market can make a difference delivering a quality and cost effective solution that's both easy to use, simple to understand and, above all, great value for money. Some global SIM cards may also offer data although this is usually down to function rather then ability to save.

Whether you intend to simply browse the internet, bank on-line, book flights, download music and photographs or send and receive email the 0044 data solutions offer you the flexibility you want and the simplicity you need. And, when using the Orange network Wifi hot spots you'll have free unlimited data use included. USB data solutions start from as little as £25 per month and will be available on month to month deals or across annual contracts.

To find out more details, to purchase a French SIM or for pay as you go 3g internet access please visit www.0044.co.uk.

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Staying in Touch in France
Staying in touch whilst in France should by now be a fairly straightforward thing to do, you would have thought, in this day and age. Not so. Unfortunately you'll still either...

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