The four operators are now offering a host of 4G offers, with no commitments, adapted to all budgets. But be careful: not all are the same and there are many traps! Here is a complete guide to help you find your way around according to your needs.
Those who have experienced the packages linked to the purchase of a phone or a smartphone, the prices that were around €50 for a decent service, and the subscription conditions that married the customer to an operator cannot say thatwas better before. However, despite the arrival of 4G packages at a reasonable price and without obligation, the offer is still not absolutely clear. Between the conditions in small print, special offers, international roaming, European envelope, modem mode or the random notion of unlimited, the current packages are not all equal.
Rather than a comparator that would present you with all the packages that you will already find on FrAndroid, we preferred to create a shopping guide that takes into account the thought process that a future customer should have before making up his mind. Here we go.
In recent years, operators have been swearing by special offers. These are packages that are sold in limited quantities – be it a number of line openings or a duration. We have mentioned the main packages that fall into this category – we will update this list when operators change them.
- 50 GB (including 4 GB in Europe) for €8.99 per month (€19.99 after one year) at Free Mobile
- 40 GB (including 4 GB in Europe) for 10 euros per month at RED SFR
- 30 GB (usable in Europe) for 9.99 euros per month at Bouygues Telecom
- 50 GB (usable in Europe) for 9.99 per month for 1 year then 24.99 euros at Sosh
Are these good plans? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Special offers will be updated in this section with the ones we recommend most in bold. Today, as with VPNs, it is absurd to buy a package without a promotion. All offers are on mobile plan comparator of FrAndroid.
The first question to ask may seem obvious and, in a way, conditions all the others: what do you need? If you have a smartphone, chances are you need mobile data. This means that you don’t need a flat rate like Free’s €2, which is more designed for handsets or phones that don’t need a data connection.
Similarly, you will have to ask yourself questions about the amount of data you consume, but also about your international mobility. All packages now include a quantity of usable data in Europe, more or less important depending on the operators.
To evaluate your monthly data consumption, you may therefore need to start with asweet spot: as the packages are without commitment, you can change at any time (and even more easily if you stay with the same operator). Choose a package that will offer you between 15 and 30 GB of data and track your consumption over a month: you can then adjust the following month.
To evaluate your monthly data consumption, you may want to start with asweet spot
In order to precisely define your power consumption, manufacturers are being foolish and do not display a clear default format on all OSes. However, there are several ways to find this information:
- On your invoice. The operators mention your monthly consumption. It can be found in the operator’s application.
- In the iOS or Android settings, you will find a tab for mobile data consumption. It is often badly done. On iOS, for example, you need to go to the very bottom of the Cellular Data panel and touch Reset Statistics on the first day of your subscription. This is how you define the “Current Period”.
- Third-Party Applications allow you to measure your consumption. My Data Manager does the work on iOS and Android.
Not all operators are equal in 3G and 4G coverage. The ANFR provides a report that provides an update on the deployment of 2G, 3G and 4G antennas. The Arcep, for its part, had the good idea of providing a map showing the overall coverage of the four operators, which also notes the average debits recorded. For example, it shows the average downstream throughput of operators in all networks:
Average file download speed
Not all operators are equal in 3G and 4G coverage
On video tests, the ranking remains the same, even if Free Mobile is far behind the others, as on web browsing. While Xavier Niel’s operator claims to cover 80% of the population in 4G, it is not uncommon to come across comments that consider that outside Paris, there is no salvation for Free packages. This is not just an illusion or an undue popular slingshot: Free is lagging behind the three incumbent operators in the deployment of its infrastructure. You can find the theoretical and actual flows at this address.
If you are used to travelling in Europe for private or professional reasons, there are several pitfalls to avoid and the choice of packages is quite drastically reduced. We advise you in particular these packages:
- Sosh (all rate plans): Since the update of its GTC, Sosh offers all its rate plans with the use of data and calls in the countries of the European Union. Whether it’s 50 MB for your email or 50 GB to watch Netflix in Europe, it’s the same with Sosh.
- RED by SFR 60 GB (15 €): the package gives you access to your 60 GB envelope per month in Europe, the USA, French Overseas Departments and Canada.
- Free Mobile (€19.99): Free’s basic package comes with 25 GB per month abroad (Europe, USA, DOM and Canada).
- B&You 50 GB Limited Edition (€14.99): Bouygues regularly offers a special package that includes 15 GB in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia.
Are you looking to replace your ADSL subscription with a 4G router?RED by SFR, Free Mobile and Bouygues are the only ones to offer today a package with more than 80 GB of 4G/3G data at a decent price. Orange is out of the game in the no-commitment but offers commitment packages with a large volume of data (up to 150 GB).
The Free Mobilerate plans
- RED by SFR 100 GB(20 €): for 20 €, you will have access to SFR’s 4G up to 100 GB, modem mode included. It’s almost enough to make this package your main internet access if you move around a lot and a fixed fibre or ADSL line no longer suits your needs.
- Free Mobile 100 GB (€19.99): If you are in an area where Free packages work and you have a good network with the operator, the 100 GB package is a good idea. Even better: for Freebox subscribers, the package costs only 15.99 € per month and 4G becomes unlimited.
- Bouygues 80 GB (€16.99): Bouygues regularly offers a mobile package with 80 GB for 16.99 euros. An interesting alternative to the RED package.
If you are looking for a 4G router to accompany your newpackage, we recommend theHuawei B715s-23cand the Huawei B525s-23a. Why those two? They are the only ones that are compatible with all frequency bands used in France, including those of Free Mobile. To find out more, our colleagues at FrAndroid have tested this solution to improve its Internet connection.
The indicator put forward by the operators on their coverage ofthe population hides a less attractive reality: it is not a coverage of the territory. And this subtle difference can make sense if you live outside the metropolis. The contrast can be seen as soon as you leave Paris, for example on the road to Normandy. The 4G network shrinks, switches to 3G and ends up with Edge, unable to stream a piece of music.
Here are the ARCEP figures for territorial coverage, updated in 2018:
- Orange: 86 %
- SFR : 83 %
- Bouygues: 83 %
- Free Mobile : 71 %
- Orange: 99 %
- SFR : 99 %
- Free Mobile : 93 %
- Bouygues: 99 %
According to these figures, is Orange via Sosh andis Orange via Sosh. The orange operator has only one really interesting package for smartphone users: at €24.99 per monthwith 50 GB of data. The one at 5 € less has half the data: this is clearly not a good plan. The other two have only 50 MB of data, which is 4 rather large attachments that have fallen into your mailbox by mistake.
Experience is often better than grand theories if you live in a village or a small town: ask your neighbours or your town hall which operator best takes care of the area.
If you consume all your data on your bundle, the operator can choose several options.
- Bouygues: B&You packages have several options. You can continue to surf for free at a reduced speed. Otherwise, you can continue to enjoy your 3G/4G speed from 1 cts/Mb for the most expensive plans to 5 cts/Mb for the entry-level plans. Finally, you can buy a refill directly (from 10 GB upwards) that you can use for a month.
- SFR:RED packages exhausted are moving to billing per 100 MB of data consumed. Beyond your envelope, SFR will add 100 MB of data for €2 up to 4 times. Afterwards, you will not be able to log in.
- Sosh:on Sosh offers, Orange manages bundle overruns differently. On offers with 50 MB, the operator charges 5 cts per additional MB. On packages with 20 or 40 GB of data, the speed is reduced beyond that (maximum: 128 kbps). You can also choose to block your package when it reaches its threshold.
- Free:Free offers a reduced speed on its 100 GB offer when it expires. Free subscribers with an unlimited envelope are not concerned. After the 50 Mb per month package is exhausted, you will pay 5 cts per Mb consumed in addition.
In any case, check the conditions in the Standardised Information Sheet of your package which will stipulate what really happens if the 4G / 3G envelope is exceeded.
Feel free to ask us questions in the comments, we will be happy to answer them.
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