How can you reduce your line rental, call and broadband costs when you are not using your holiday home in France? The first way is to consider choosing a telephone line that can be suspended when you are not there. Or you might prefer a call package that gives you unlimited calls while you are in France but can be suspended when you are away; or a low cost call rate alternative to France Telecom/Orange. Finally you might consider money saving broadband options.
Suspended Line: Ligne Residence Secondaire
You may have heard about telephone lines that you can suspend. The service is called ‘Ligne Residence Secondaire’ and Orange has a monopoly for this service. The telephone line can be deferred for a minimum of one month to a maximum of 1 year – any longer and the service is cancelled. Your number will not change and you will have to pay 4.69€ each time the line is suspended but reactivation is free. You will also be required to prove that your main residence is elsewhere.
Cheaper phone calls in France
Specialist providers may be able to provide you with call packages that reduce your costs. They will generally be cheaper for expats as they take into account that the call profile is different from French nationals. If you choose a call package, it can be suspended when you don’t need it and reactivated free of charge when you do. A pay-as-you-go service is not affected when you suspend the line and automatically goes live once your line is reactivated without any action from you.
You can also have your French number ‘translated’ into a low cost UK number, so friends and family can call you very cheaply compared to most UK providers. There are no contracts to sign and the service does not affect how your French number works.
Reducing Internet costs in France
Your Broadband service may also be suspended when you’re not using it. However it is limited to a speed of up to 8Mbps, slow compared to most peoples’ experience and the service is only available from Orange. It costs 21€ a month and there is no cost for suspending or reactivating. However 8 days notice of suspension or reactivation is required which can be quite inconvenient.
Satellite phone and internet in France
Satellite services that carry your calls and internet can be suspended when you are not using them. The hardware and installation costs are higher, but if there is no telephone line already in place, the cost of getting that arranged can be offset against this new service. The huge advantage is that you are not limited to a low speed service. It costs nothing to suspend but 30€ to reactivate, making short suspensions less attractive. Another big benefit (apart from higher speed) is that the satellite service is less vulnerable to storm damage making it a good option for many, particularly in rural areas.
Phone and internet for holiday homes in France
If you rent out your holiday home, you will almost certainly attract more customers if you have a good internet service. It is certainly worth consideration as the additional costs of installation could be more than compensated for by higher utilisation of the property. With the proliferation of mobile phones, offering a phone service is less important. However with monthly fully itemised call statements you could offer your guests use of the telephone service, with their agreement that costs they incur can be deducted from their deposit. Holiday makers will really appreciate being able to use their iPads, Iphones and other services on WiFi, to keep in touch from France for less with their work, friends and for family use. Services provided by an expat telecoms specialist company will enable your guests to call the English speaking service if they experience any problems – quite a benefit for many visitors. The specialists are also less likely to charge for calls for assistance, Orange charge a premium rate for calls to their help line once the call connects.
Finally, some specialist expat companies provide you with the convenient option of paying in Sterling rather than Euros which may be helpful.