Traveling to France and need connectivity? Get a local Free Mobile SIM or Free Mobile eSIM for affordable data, calls and SMS. This guide covers everything about Free Mobile France – network, coverage, SIM card cost, activation, plans, and more.
Table of Contents
1. Quick facts about Free Mobile
Free Mobile is the 4th largest mobile network operator in France with around 13.5 million subscribers. It is owned by Iliad group which also owns the internet service provider Free.
Some key facts about Free Mobile France:
- Launched in 2012 as the newest entrant disrupting the French telecom market
- Uses 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G networks
- Has over 97% population coverage in France
- Known for its low-cost plans and clear pricing
- Popular among foreigners for tourist SIM cards
- Provides both prepaid and postpaid connections
2. Free Mobile Coverage and Speed in France
When it comes to wireless connectivity, France provides strong free networks that allow for fast mobile access virtually anywhere.
2.1. Free Mobile coverage in France
Free Mobile has made significant improvements to its network coverage in recent years. According to Opensignal latest report, Free Mobile now offers 4G coverage to 99% of the French population.
This is the same as Orange and SFR, and slightly higher than Bouygues. Free Mobile also offers 5G coverage to 60% of the French population, which is less than Orange and SFR, but more than Bouygues.
It has also rolled out its own network giving good coverage across the country. In towns and cities, you’ll get excellent 4G speeds on Free Mobile. Their coverage may be slightly behind leading operators in remote areas and villages.
2.2. Free Mobile speed
According to the Opensignal France Mobile Network Experience Report for May 2023, Free Mobile has the lowest overall download speed experience of the four major operators in France, with an average speed of 43.8 Mbps. This is around 17 Mbps slower than Orange, which has the fastest overall download speed experience. Free Mobile also has the lowest overall upload speed experience, with an average speed of 13.6 Mbps. This is around 9 Mbps slower than Orange.
Here is a table comparing Free Mobile’s network coverage and speeds to those of its rivals:
|Operator||4G coverage||5G coverage||Average download speed||Average upload speed|
|Free Mobile||99%||60%||43.8 Mbps||13.6 Mbps|
|Orange||99%||70%||67.5 Mbps||17.1 Mbps|
|SFR||99%||65%||50.5 Mbps||15.6 Mbps|
|Bouygues||99%||55%||50.6 Mbps||14.7 Mbps|
These are however averages and how much time it takes may depend on where you live or other factors.
In a nutshell, Free Mobile’s network coverage has substantially improved in the previous years but cannot beat its rivals’ networks. While Free Mobile is cheaper than most, it could prove as a good alternative for cost-conscious consumers.
3. Free Mobile connectivity options for travelers to France
Free Mobile offers a variety of connectivity options for travelers to France, including:
|Prepaid SIM card||Affordable, convenient to purchase, and can be used in any unlocked phone.||You may need to get your SIM card activated at a Free Mobile store.|
|eSIM||Convenient and easy to purchase and activate.||Not all phones support eSIMs.|
|Pocket Wi-Fi||Can connect multiple devices to the internet at the same time.||More expensive than prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs.|
Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your individual needs and budget. If you are only traveling to France for a short period of time and only need to connect one device to the internet, then a Free Mobile SIM card France or eSIM may be the best option for you. If you are traveling for a longer period of time or need to connect multiple devices to the internet, then a pocket Wi-Fi device may be a better option.
4. Best Free Mobile SIM cards for tourists & cost
Free Mobile does not provide a SIM card or plan that is tailored specifically for tourists. A physical Free Mobile SIM Card/eSIM cost 10e, around 10 USD. You can check some plans below now Free Mobile offers:
|Plan||Data||Approx. Price (USD)||Validity||Speed||Calls||Texts||Approx. Total (USD)|
|Package 2e||50 MB||2 USD||1 month||4G/4G+||2 hours of calls in France||Unlimited||12 USD|
|Free Series||120 GB||13 USD||1 month||4G/4G+||Unlimited||Unlimited||23 USD|
|Free 5G Plan||250 GB||20 USD||1 month||5G/4G||Unlimited||Unlimited||30 USD|
Please note that these prices are for new customers and may change without notice.
5. Does Free Mobile France support eSIM?
Yes, Free Mobile provides eSIM facility with prepaid plans. eSIM allows you to activate mobile service through a QR code – no physical SIM required.
It is perfect for dual SIM devices. Having an eSIM makes getting mobile service simpler when traveling to France frequently.
6. Where can you buy Free Mobile SIM card and eSIM?
Tourists can purchase Free Mobile prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs from a variety of locations both within France and before arriving to ensure cellular connectivity during their visit.
6.1. Where to buy Free Mobile SIM for France
There are a few places where you can buy a Free Mobile SIM card for France:
- Free Mobile stores: This is the best place to buy a Free Mobile SIM card, as you can get help from a salesperson if you need it. Free Mobile stores are located all over France. You can find a list of Free Mobile stores on the Free Mobile website.
- Online retailers: You can also buy Free Mobile SIM cards from online retailers such as Amazon and eBay. However, it is important to note that prices may vary depending on the retailer.
- Newsstands and convenience stores: Some newsstands and convenience stores in France sell Free Mobile SIM cards. However, this is not the most common place to find Free Mobile SIM cards.
If you are buying a Free Mobile SIM card online, it is important to make sure that you are buying it from a reputable retailer. There have been cases of people buying counterfeit Free Mobile SIM cards online. Once you have purchased a Free Mobile SIM card, you will need to activate it. You can activate your SIM card online or at a Free Mobile store.
6.2. Where to buy France Free Mobile eSIM
You can purchase Free Mobile prepaid eSIM directly from their website. Follow the steps:
- Go to Prepaid eSIM page on Free Mobile
- Choose your prepaid plan
- Enter a phone number and complete the payment
- You’ll get a QR code and instructions via email
- Scan the QR code on your phone to activate the plan
It takes around 15-20 minutes to get the eSIM via email after payment. Overall, this is the simplest option to get Free Mobile eSIM before you arrive in France.
Alternatively, you can buy their physical SIM card and convert to eSIM later by contacting customer support.
7. How to activate Free Mobile France SIM/eSIM
Once acquired, Free Mobile prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs are straightforward to activate so visitors can quickly start using mobile data, calls and texts during their time in France.
7.1 How to use Free Mobile France SIM card
Activating a Free Mobile SIM card is straightforward:
- Insert the SIM in your unlocked phone
- Power on and connect to Free Mobile network
- Follow setup prompts to configure SIM
- Enter PIN when asked and restart device
- SIM will auto-configure and activate the prepaid pack
That’s it! No registration required and your Free Mobile SIM will be active within minutes.
You can recharge more data packs via their app whenever needed.
7.2. How to activate Free Mobile France eSIM
To activate Free Mobile eSIM:
- Make sure your phone supports eSIM activation
- Purchase Free Mobile eSIM and receive QR code
- On your phone, go to eSIM installation section in settings
- Scan the QR code you received
- Follow on-screen prompts to install eSIM profile
- Restart device and eSIM will be activated
Same as SIM card, eSIM also auto-configures with the data plan. No separate registration steps needed.
8. France Free Mobile Call & SMS rates
Free Mobile prepaid packs only include domestic data – calls and texts are charged separately. Here is a table of Free Mobile call and SMS rates in France (as of August 4, 2023):
|Type of call or SMS||Price|
|Calls to other Free Mobile numbers||Unlimited|
|Calls to landline numbers in France||~0.19 USD per minute|
|Calls to mobile numbers in France||~ 0.19 USD per minute|
|Calls to international numbers||Varies depending on the country|
|SMS to all numbers in France||Unlimited|
|SMS to international numbers||Varies depending on the country|
These per minute/SMS rates are very affordable. Do note that international calls start at around 0.50 per minute for most countries.
9. Useful USSD codes for Free Mobile France SIM/eSIM
There are a few ways to check your Free Mobile balance:
- Dial 555: This is the easiest way to check your Free Mobile balance. Simply dial 555 on your phone and press the call button. You will receive a text message with your balance, data allowance, and phone number.
- Check your Free Mobile account online: Similarly, you can log in with your Free Mobile account and check your balance. In order to do this, go to Free Mobile website and click “my Account”. When you login, there is a dashboard that provides information concerning your balance among other details.
- Use the Free Mobile app: Free Mobile can also be installed on Android and iPad. The app allows the checking of balance, data allowance or other information about the account. Visit Google Play Store or Apple App Store for free Mobile app download.
In case you are unable to check your Free Mobile balance, you can call the Free Mobile customer service.
Tips: Here are some additional tips for checking your Free Mobile balance:
- Free Mobile allows you to access your balance as many times as possible.
- You can always check your balance regardless of how many times you are doing it.
10. How to top-up Free Mobile France SIM/eSIM
There are a few ways to top-up your Free Mobile France SIM:
- Online: Visit the Free Mobile’s site and sign in to your account. After logging in, use the “Top-up” button. Choose the amount of credit to add to your account, then insert your credit or debit card information. To complete the top-up press “Pay”.
- Free Mobile app: Please note that when you open the Free Mobile app, it will ask you for your credentials. Tap on the “Top-up” button. Choose the appropriate credit amount, then input your card number in either the Credit or Debit category. Just tap the “pay” button to finish up with top-up.
- Payment kiosks: Go to a payment kiosk selling Free Mobile top-up. Enter the amount of credit you choose to buy and then insert your credit/debit card. Dial the free mobile phone number and complete the top-up through the instructions on the screen.
- Free Mobile stores: Go to any Free Mobile store and ask the seller to load money into your account. A salesperson will assist you to top up your account using a credit or debit card.
After topping up your Free Mobile SIM/eSIM, a confirmation message will be sent to your phone. After that, you can make calls, send SMS and even browse.
11. Alternatives to France Free Mobile
Other popular networks you can consider in France are:
- Orange: Orange is the biggest GSM network provider in France. It provides many mobile plans such as prepaid, postpaid and business options. Orange also avails different mobile devices.
- SFR: The second biggest French mobile network operator is SFR. It provides diverse mobile packages comprising the prepaid plan, postpaid plan, and business plan, among others. Other mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wears.
- Bouygues Telecom: Bouygues Telecom is third largest in France mobile operators.) It provides a number of mobile deals such as prepaid plans, monthly plans, data plans, SME/business plans among others.
- francesim.com – francesim.com offers prepaid data-only eSIM plans for short-term travel to France, with durations ranging from 3-30 days. Plans start at 1GB for $6 and go up to 20GB+ for prices around $100, depending on the number of days.
Compare their tourist SIM prices before choosing one. Coverage and speeds may vary by location within France.
12. FAQs about Free Mobile in France
Does Free Mobile work in all of France?
Yes, Free Mobile has 97% population coverage in France and should work across most areas. Speeds and connectivity will be best in large cities.
Is Free Mobile prepaid SIM card unlimited?
No, their prepaid plans come with fixed data that gets consumed during validity period. You’ll need to recharge more packs as required.
How long is Free Mobile tourist SIM card valid?
Their standard tourist SIM has 50GB data valid for 28 days. Longer validity up to 365 days available too.
Can I use Free Mobile SIM in Europe?
Their standard SIMs only work in France. But some plans offer EU roaming data that can be used when traveling around Europe.
How to refill Free Mobile SIM in France?
You can recharge your Free Mobile SIM via their app, website, vouchers or visit a store. Start from 5 USD.
Does Free Mobile have good coverage in Paris?
Yes, Free Mobile coverage in Paris is excellent due to high density of towers. You’ll get strong 4G/5G signals around most areas.
13. Final words
So that’s all on Free Mobile cell phone service for tourists visiting France. Their prepaid SIM card and eSIM provide an easy way to get connected at low rates.
With its wide domestic coverage, high speeds and value plans, Free Mobile is a top choice for your connectivity needs. Either grab a SIM card online or on arrival and stay online across France with their prepaid packs!