Cheap Internet Offer from Orange
Tuesday 01 June 2010
Orange have introduced a new cheap French Internet offer, but some expats seem to be having difficulty in signing up to it.
Their new ‘Découverte’ offer is a broadband connection up to 8Mbps for a monthly charge of €19.90.
This is currently €10 lower than their regular offer of €29.90 per month, which includes other services such as VoIP and television.
The deal is Internet only and you are obliged to subscribe to a fixed line telephone with France Télécom (of whom Orange is their Internet arm). This costs an additional €16 per month.
If you want WiFi, you will also pay €3 per month for a Livebox router, unless you have one of your own.
Cynics are claiming that the reason for the offer is to try and stop the rot on the number of households deciding to end their fixed line connection. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of households have ended their fixed line with France Télécom and now only use VoIP or a mobile phone.
However, the offer is an attractive one for those users who prefer the greater security and quality of a fixed telephone line.
It is particularly so if you also sign up with a secondary telecoms ('switch') provider to route your calls.
As calls to fixed lines in the UK (plus others) and within France can often be obtained free of charge through a secondary provider, you get the double advantage of a cheap broadband line, with almost next to nothing to pay for telephone calls on the fixed line to other fixed line numbers!
The other great advantage of the new offer is that you do not need to subscribe for a minimum period. The subscription is stated by Orange to be ‘sans engagement’.
In some areas you may be able to obtain an even cheaper offer, but these are not widely available in rural areas.
Thus, probably the cheapest offer on the market is from SFR/Neuf, who offer a monthly Internet connection for €14.90, but to obtain it you need to be in an area which is 'dégroupée', a process which allows other telecoms providers to use the France Télécom network to provide you with your broadband connection.
Many expats are reporting difficulties in transferring from their existing Orange offer to the cheaper subscription.
Joanne Sexton from Limousin reports that she tried to change to the new offer on-line, but got the message that it was not available to her.
Similarly, Michael Chivers in Brittany contacted us to say that he rang Orange to transfer to the new offer and was told he needed to end his existing contract before he could do so. 'As I was fearful of being without an Internet connection I was reluctant to terminate my existing arrangements', he stated.
It is certainly true to say that Orange are not pushing the offer very hard, as their site gives much higher prominence to their other more expensive offers. You have to click on 'Autres Offres Internet' to find their Découverte offer.
We have spoken to Orange, who have advised that existing customers need to go into their 'espace client' and click on 'modifier ma formule'. If they find it does not work (not the easiest of sites to use!), they should ring 3900, and then follow the instructions of the automated answering service.
Alternatively, visit your local Orange/France Telecom office, or try their English speaking helpline on 0969363900 from France, or 0033 969363900 from the UK.
There is no charge for transferring to the new offer, which would commence on the first day of the following month of your application.
However, do not assume you will be able to obtain the maximum speeds of 8Mbps, as many rural broadband connections are only capable of a maximum of 2Mbps.
Indeed, although many households are within a commune where 2Mbps is available, just how much you will actually be able to obtain in your own home will depend on the distance from the local exchange.
The type of connection you use (WiFi, USB, or ethernet) will also influence the speed of your connection.
You can test the speed of your existing line at Speedtest.
This article was featured in our Newsletter dated 01/06/2010