Save on your French phone line
Did you know you can save money when you’re not at your French property by suspending your telephone line?
Holiday home owners in France who don’t want to pay all year round for telephone services that may only be used for perhaps a few months at a time can benefit from special offers currently on the market.
Until recently, Orange, which owns and manages the national network in France, has benefited from its monopoly position by exclusively offering customers the ability to suspend their line rental and broadband services, if they can demonstrate that the property is not their main residence – a utility bill or council tax statement is sufficient proof. The main home doesn’t have to be in France.
The customer can then request that their line rental, and broadband if they have it, be suspended while they are away. During suspension of the broadband service, the modem must be returned to an Orange shop and collected on return.
However, this is no longer the only offer available. UK Telecom now provides another option for their customers, 25% of whom are second home owners. One important difference is that the offer to suspend services is open to all customers, not just second home owners.
There are two alternatives available:
1) Customers on a Dégroupage Partiel service (where calls are carried over the line and broadband sits separately on it) can suspend their broadband, but not their line rental.
2) Those with the Dégroupage Total (where the telephone line’s voice service is deactivated, and calls over the broadband service) can suspend their broadband contract while incurring a charge of €5 per month as there is no line rental to pay.
The period of suspension is limited to a maximum of four months in any 12¬-month period, so it’s not as flexible as the Orange offer but more convenient, as the suspension of both types of service does not require the return of the modem and the changes are managed remotely.
Keeping in touch: phone and internet in France
There is an alternative to broadband if your requirements are not high or are infrequent. Several companies offer a wifi hotspot device that connects to the internet via the mobile network; this small box connects up to nine devices to the internet at the same time.
You need to be in an area with a good mobile signal, which you can check by visiting QueChoisir. Insert your holiday home’s location and the mobile service you want to use, and it will tell you if the signal is good enough.
Hotspots come with a 1Gb data package that is valid for 90 days. The data can be topped up via an English¬language website and packages range from 500Mb, valid for 14 days and costing €7, to 100Gb, valid for 30 days and costing €99.
Data usage for hotspots
2 music albums: 0.1Gb
5-minute video clip on YouTube: 0.15Gb
Low-definition movie: 0.75Gb
40 hours web surfing: 1.0Gb
1 hour of internet radio: 1.0Gb
HD quality movie: 4.5Gb
It is good practice to disconnect your telephone handset and modem if you are going to be away for any length of time. This is because storms often cause electrical power surges that can damage equipment and your broadband provider will not replace modems damaged in this way free of charge.
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