MOST people with unlimited mobile telephone contracts could be wasting money on deals averaging from €20 to €40 a month – as they do not use anything like the amounts needed to make the contracts worthwhile.
Statistics from the French telecoms regulator Arcep show the average mobile phone user makes 3hr 4min of calls, sends 400 texts and uses 438Mb of internet data – far below the unlimited calls, texts and 3Gb of internet usage of expensive contracts.
Consumer magazine Le Particulier said that for the vast bulk of people a €15 contract was all they needed.
Many people are already well placed to find something cheaper as their deals are sans engagement meaning they can cancel their forfait at any time without penalty.
Since the turn of this year 51% of people are on deals that do not tie them to one operator and can switch their deal to whatever best suits their usage and at the best price.
Since the arrival of Free Mobile on the market there has been a vast increase in the numbers and variety of contracts available with prices ranging from €2 – or even free if you have a Freebox internet and TV deal.
Free has targeted young people with its €2 deal that offers two hours of calls (including landlines in 100 countries), unlimited texts and 50Gb of internet. But that is also ideal for the over-60s, who Arcep says use the phone for 26minutes of calls, about 40 texts and virtually no internet use.
Indeed, 52% of mobile phones in France do not have internet access and if you are one of the ones without a smartphone then you can ignore internet deals and can concentrate on those that give as much free calling time as possible.
For example, Sosh, the low-cost offshoot of Orange, has a €9.99 deal that gives unlimited calls and texts in France. Free international calls cost an extra €10 a month. Above this price internet access is included and the other companies’ offshoots (such as SFR/Red and Bouygues/B&You) have deals hovering around €15 that give different mixes of internet/calls.
The low-cost deals share one thing: they cut costs by doing everything from setting up contracts, to settling payments and seeking help, online.
The European Commission has cut the cost of phone use while travelling so one phone could be all you need – but the key to getting the best out of a phone is to have a good network.
While Orange, SFR and Bouygues all have 99% phone coverage (3G and 4G internet coverage is less) Free, which uses the Orange network where its own is weak, has faced several challenges on its service quality.