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Turning off telephone service when not in France

For many years we have been using Orange for our internet and home landline. As we are only in France for the summer, they allowed us to turn off the service when we were not there and restore it when we returned, so we only paid for three months a year. Now it is stopping, are there alternatives?

Many of Orange’s customers were taken by surprise when it withdrew this long-standing offer.

A typical customer might suspend their service for six months each year and this loss could add substantially to bills.

While French second property owners will be the majority of those affected, many thousands of British holiday home-owners are also likely to be affected.

Many will feel they have little choice but to accept this, including those owners who rent out their properties to others and are likely to lose more in lost bookings than in the extra fees if they offer no broadband. Alternatives are available.

The closest comparable service for a standard 12-month contract is from UKTelecom.

Customers can suspend their broadband for up to four months a year, with a small monthly charge to keep the account live.

Requiring an email to suspend and reactivate the service, it is simpler than the old Orange service that required the modem to be handed in to an Orange shop and collected when required.

UKTelecom also offers a free care package for renters, who can call them for assistance.

If your use is low, there are cheaper options not requiring a 12-month agreement (eg. from SFR) but there are set-up and cancellation costs.

If you are only going to need the service for a few months, you may find a mobile hot spot is the best alternative.

It is not as suitable for use by renters but is flexible and you can connect up to nine devices at any one time.

It comes with a set amount of data and when it runs low you can buy additional credit online through an English-language website.

Both UKTelecom and offer this.

Question answered by Sarah Fletcher from the telephone and broadband provider, UK Telecom. See for more information on their services in France. If you have a query on this topic send it to

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