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Free, Orange, SFR: which mobile operator best covers France?

See also how to find the best coverage in your area

While coverage has improved on a national level there are still significant differences between operators in rural areas. Pic: The Connexion / Arcep

The annual report on mobile phone coverage for 2023 has been released: we look at which operator offers the best national coverage, and how you see which operator works best for your area.

The report, published by French telecommunications ombudsman Arcep (Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques, des Postes et de la Distribution de la Presse), drew on a sample over a million mobile communications between May and August, 2023.

It looked at coverage for phone calls and texts, call quality and 2G to 5G coverage in people’s homes, on major roads, on the train and at major tourist sites.

Which operator offers the best mobile phone coverage in France?

Pic: The Connexion / Arcep

The study found that: 

  • Orange provides the best overall coverage.
  • Bouygues Telecom provides good coverage in towns, but less so in rural areas.
  • SFR and Free Mobile provide very similar levels of coverage to one another.

While coverage has improved on a national level, there are still significant differences between operators in terms of web coverage, particularly in rural areas: 

Percentage of uninterrupted (no static, clear audio or loss of signal) mobile calls of more than two minutes in large urban areas / rural areas

  • Orange - 96% / 85%
  • Bouygues Telecom - 95% / 76%
  • SFR and Free Mobile - 92% / 78%

 Percentage of web pages displaying within 10 seconds via 3G, 4G or 5G in large urban areas / rural areas:

  • Orange - 97% /  84% 
  • Bouygues Telecom - 96% / 75% 
  • SFR - 94% / 77%
  • Free Mobile - 93% / 78%

How can I find which operator works best where I live?

A map of mobile coverage is available here.

 You can use the map to see exactly where the mobile signal could be patchy. 

 

Mobile coverage in Sumène, Gard (clockwise from top left SFR, Orange, Bouygues, Free) Pic: The Connexion / Arcep

While Orange offers the best national coverage, the map shows that in Sumène (Gard), Free has the best coverage. 

Local differences can make a significant difference to mobile coverage so be sure to check the coverage map when considering your mobile phone provider.

Read more:

Four tips for saving money on internet and mobile contracts in France 

Fibre broadband is still lacking in much of France: where and why? 

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