Inexpensive Cell Phone Service for France
by Sebastian Harrison

France, among other things, is well known for having great food and wine, beautiful artwork and high fashion but did you know that in France the cell phone coverage and quality of service is superior to that of either the United States or Canada? Furthermore, the French do not pay for incoming calls and pay low outgoing rates. Here is how you, as a traveler to France, can take advantage of these low rates that are just fractions of what it would cost to rent a cell phone or to roam with your North American provider, and make having a cell phone in France a luxury that you can afford.

As with most countries in the world, France has opted to utilize the GSM standard for their cellular service. GSM offers digital service that is so crystal clear that it is difficult to discern if you are on a cellphone or using a landline. Whether you are in Paris, the French Riviera or tucked away in a Chateau in Bordeaux, you are very likely to have cell phone reception. In France, as in many other countries in the world nowadays, many people don't even bother having a home phone. If you think about it, since the service is inexpensive as well as excellent, what is the point of having a landline?

If you are traveling to France and want to use your current cell phone, you most likely will not be able to do so. Unless you have a GSM tri-band phone, you will need to make special arrangements with your current carrier. They will rent you a handset with what is called a SIM chip (Subscriber Information Module) inserted into the phone. The SIM chip is the brain of the phone, containing such information as the cell phone number, voice mail and call logs. Getting set up in this manner with your current service provider will allow you to retain your US phone number and receive and make calls anywhere in the world. Usually there is a monthly fee for being able to use the service internationally plus high roaming rates (call rates) and other applicable charges such as renting the handset and having it delivered to you. Another alternative is to rent a cell phone with service. You can rent a cell phone for France at any international airport or through many of the traditional channels such as the yellow pages. Rates are generally $25-$50 per week for the handset rental plus charges for actually placing and receiving calls. There are usually minimum per day or per week usage rates, regardless if you use the service or not. Alternatively, and this is by far the least expensive alternative, you can use the same service that the French use. You will be paying local rates which are inexpensive and include unlimited, free incoming calls from anywhere in the world. Calls to the US are inexpensive costing only about $0.80 per minute, but, in order to save further, you may ask people to call you back on your cellular number. That way you can literally speak on the phone for hours and not incur any charge. While the person calling you will be paying for an international call, rates to France are very reasonable - especially if the person calling you chooses the right provider.

In order to take advantage of paying local cellular rates you must obtain a GSM cell phone compatible with the French system and also SIM card for France. Most countries, including France, use the 900/1800 GSM frequency, so, you will need to obtain this type of GSM phone, and, you must make sure that it is unlocked. GSM phones come from the manufacturer unlocked - it is the carrier that locks them. You can obtain both the SIM card and the phone from Cellularabroad. A prepaid SIM card allows you to slip the card into your GSM phone, and, since it is prepaid, you will not have any restricting contracts or minimal use requirements. With cellular service this great, it looks like the French have just one more thing to boast about.

For further information Click here to visit Cellular Abroad.

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