MVNOs in France: Providers and Offers in 2021

Updated on
min reading
telecom in france

Looking for a Mobile Phone or Internet Plan in France?

Our English-speaking advisors will help you compare, subscribe and save on your Mobile Phone or Internet Plan:

telecom in france

Looking for a Mobile Phone or Internet Plan in France?

Our call-center is currently closed. Our English-speaking advisors will help you compare, subscribe and save on your Mobile Phone or Internet Plan:

You've probably heard about the largest broadband providers in France - Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile. But the French telecom market is much broader today, and there are more than these four suppliers to choose from, mainly thanks to the appearance of so-called MVNO suppliers (or Mobile Virtual Network Operators). But who exactly are these new actors, and what do they have to offer?

What is an MVNO?

MVNOs appeared in France as early as in 1999 and truly started flourishing after 2006, with the appearance of the low-cost MNO provider Free Mobile. But who are these providers, and what makes them worth considering?

The appearance of virtual providers

bills-phone

Mobile Virtual Network Operators are, simply put, telecom providers that don’t own a network - which means they are, in essence, “virtual”. They oppose themselves to MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), which are at a total of 4 in France. This is because a French regulation has put a limit of 4 on the number of physical networks allowed to be in existence on the territory.

As a result, in order to function, providers other than Orange, Free Mobile, Bouygues Telecom and SFR have to buy telecommunications off an MNO. Once purchased, they can then sell these to their customers, at very discounted rates.

In 2016, there were around 7 million clients subscribed to MVNOs contracts in France: This is quite a significant number, but still represents less altogether than any single MNO (the smallest of which, Free Mobile, had a customer base of 12 million at the time). MVNOs are thus not competing on the same level as the largest providers yet, and it seems like customers still tend to favour Free, Bouygues, SFR and Orange today, in part because of these providers’ legitimacy and notoriety.

The networks used by MVNOs in France

As stated above, MVNOs rely on the big telecom providers to get access to the network. Here is how different MVNOs have chosen their partner supplier in order to operate:

MVNONetwork used
Afone Mobile - Budget Telecom - Cdiscount Mobile - Club Budget
Cofidis Mobile - Joi Telecom - La Poste Mobile - Prixtel
Reglo Mobile - SIM+ - Vectone Mobile
SFR network
Lebara Mobile - LycamobileBouygues Telecom network
Bazile Telecom - Syma Mobile - Transatel MobileOrange network
CoriolisSFR + Orange network
Auchan Telecom - Cdiscount Mobile - CIC Mobile
Cofidis Mobile - NRJ Mobile - Soon Mobile
SFR, Orange and Bouygues Telecom network

The different types of MVNOs in France

Light and full MVNOs

bills-phone

These two types of MVNOs, “light” and “full”, are differentiated by the following technical equipment:

  • a vocal messaging platform
  • an interactive vocal server
  • a location register / centralised database
  • and a mobile phone commutation centre

A provider having the above specificities will be considered a full MVNO, which compared to the light ones will be able to provide all the same functionalities as MNOs, apart from the network coverage. This more extensive amount of equipment and functionalities impacts the costs for full MVNOs and can explain why they charge more for their offers than their light counterparts.

Additionally, full MVNOs have the agency to negotiate tariffs with classic suppliers and adopt the best current technology such as 4G+ coverage. They can also provide their customers with their own SIM card.

An example of full MVNO is Euro Information Telecom, which has a range of provider brands such as Auchan Telecom, NRJ Mobile, Crédit Mutuel Mobile, and CIC Mobile.

Are MVNOs right for me?

So, is it worth changing phone supplier and switching to an MVNO today? It all depends on your needs.

In order to give you a rough idea of what a low-cost offer generally looks like in France, here is what the infamous €2 Free Mobile offer includes (per month), as a reference:

  • 2 hours of calls to fixed lines and mobile, in France and internationally
  • Illimited texts and MMS in France
  • 50Mo of data

With this in mind, below is a selection of some of the MVNO offers currently on the market in France: They are ranked from cheapest to most expensive and allowances and prices are given for a month.

Mobile offers available on 16/07/2024
Offer Included services Price
red
Forfait RED 2Go
Valid on 27/06/2024
  •  2 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 2 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€1.99/month
📞 09 77 55 72 27 Free Callback
nrj-mobile
Forfait NRJ Mobile 2Go
Valid on 27/06/2024
  •  2 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 2 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€2/month
Subscribe online
auchan-telecom
Série Limitée Forfait 10 Go
Valid on 27/06/2024
  •  10 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 10 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€3.99/month
Subscribe online
nrj-mobile
Forfait NRJ Mobile 20 Go
Valid on 27/06/2024
  •  20 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 8 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€4.99/month
Subscribe online
prixtel
Le Petit 30 Go
Valid on 27/06/2024
  •  30 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 15 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€4.99/month
Subscribe online
red
Forfait RED 30Go
Valid on 27/06/2024
  •  30 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 12 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€5.99/month
📞 09 77 55 72 27 Free Callback
syma-mobile
Forfait le Cinq 40Go
Valid on 08/07/2024
  •  40 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 6 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€5.99/month
Subscribe online
coriolis
Forfait Le Basic 50 Go
Valid on 27/06/2024
  •  50 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 7 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€5.99/month
Subscribe online
youprice
Le Mini 10 Go
Valid on 02/07/2024
  •  10 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 5 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€5.99/month
Subscribe online
lebara-mobile
Forfait Lebara 60 Go
Valid on 17/06/2024
  •  60 Go data 4G in France
  • Unlimited calls /SMS/MMS
  • 5 Go in EU/DOM
  • No contract
€5.99/month
Subscribe online

Looking for a cheap phone deal that will suit your needs? Contact Selectra's English speaking advisors at 09 77 55 72 27 to benefit from the most competitive offer for you, depending on your situation: You can also ask for a free callback.