MOBILE phone users will be able to make free calls to France from anywhere in Europe from the end of next month with a market leading deal from operator Bouygues Telecom.
The move breaks open the roaming market which has, despite European Commission rulings, often been too expensive to use.
Users of the Bouygues Sensation contracts will be able to make unlimited calls to France and send unlimited texts from anywhere in Europe and have them included in their monthly tariff without extra cost.
They will also be able to access the internet up to a limit of 3Gb a month, including MMS messages. Holidaymakers will have little need to block roaming as soon as they arrive in the UK or elsewhere and can use geolocalisation messages to get information on local sites, restaurants or pubs.
The unprecedented offer, which can be used for 35 days in any calendar year, costs from €29.99 for the forfait Sensation 3Go (without mobile and on a 12-month contract) or from €36.99 on the Sensation 3Go with mobile.
Bouygues has a separate €6 add-on that allows mobile calls to landlines in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.
The company is the third largest mobile phone operator in France and rival operators – including main target Free Mobile - are already looking at how to react. Both No1 Orange and No2 SFR have said they will come up with new deals.
Orange boss Stéphane Richard said he planned new European contracts, particularly on data. Its present Go Europe deal offers 30 minutes of calls and 50 texts for €5 – although is half the maximum tariff allowed by new European Commission rules.