Missing friends and family back home is an often inevitable downside of leading an adventurous expat life. Expats heading to France can rest assured that they’ll be able to keep in touch with ease thanks to the country’s strong communications infrastructure.
Internet providers in France
Most internet providers in France offer a consolidated package of internet, cable services for television and a phone contract. These services are provided with a box that can be used both for internet and for television streaming. The prices and quality of services vary but these deals are generally considered to be good value for money.
In the past, there were three providers that had a monopoly on the market – namely Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom. Since 2012, independent provider Free Mobile has created some competition in the market with competitively priced tariffs.
Mobile phones in France
A standard mobile package contract will include 3G or 4G internet access on the phone and unlimited calls to landlines in France. Most will also include free calls to other European countries, either for a certain number of minutes per month or on an unlimited basis. To sign up for a contract, expats will usually need their passport and proof of residence. There are also options for prepaid packages where a SIM card is loaded with the required amount as needed.
As in the internet market, Free Mobile has also had a noticeable effect on the mobile phone market. Their basic mobile package is available for a low price but has limited call time. The problem with this obviously tempting package is that in some areas mobile reception is not always available. Expats should try to find out whether their phone picks up a strong signal in their local area before signing up.
Postal services in France
France's postal service, La Poste, is reliable and efficient. This may come as a surprise to many expats, as it is an entirely state-owned organisation which also offers a full array of banking services. But with this efficiency comes a price and although it is an affordable service within France, international delivery can be expensive.
English-language media in France
France has several free public television stations, but cable will be essential for watching English-language television or channels from home. Expats should note that most programmes on television in France are dubbed to French, including popular shows from the US. France24 is the only public channel that is not broadcast exclusively in French. It is a worldwide news channel offered in English, French and Arabic.
Satellite television is available through shared or individual satellite dishes, and is less common in the big cities. Expats purchasing a television in France should be aware that there is a mandatory fee for a television license (redevance audiovisuelle) to be paid annually.
There are a few English-language newspapers available in France, such as The Connexion, a monthly newspaper run by France's expat community. The international edition of the New York Times is also based in France, while The Local is an English-language online news publisher servicing several countries with local editions, including France.