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French citizen to buy cell phone & sim card?

French citizen to buy cell phone & sim card?

Jan 24th, 2006, 08:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 11
French citizen to buy cell phone & sim card?

I would like to purchase a cell phone and sim card when I arrive in France. I have heard talk that you have to be a French citizen to do that. Does any one know if that is the case? (I am a U.S. citizen)
jackster748 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,606
NO, that's rubbish. No one cares who they're selling a SIM card to. Do you think the gazillion businessmen and women who travel to Europe have to forgo cell phone use because they can't buy a SIM card?

Where DO these notions come from, I wonder?

Just walk into any Orange store and buy one. Or you can buy one online (where no one even knows your nationality) before going, but it will cost you more.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
I think with the current paranoia going on in the world, you are required to register when you buy a sim in many countries but that simply means they collect information off your passport.

I bought my French sim about 4 years ago and nobody asked for anything but others have reported they now ask for a passport to register the details.

I know before united-mobile AKA riiing became available about a year ago, I bought a German sim and was asked for my passport to register it.

BTW united-mobile functions fairly well in France or at least it did earlier this month and you can buy through their web site a sim which will work throughout western Europe for €49 including shipping with €25 worth of call credit.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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Thank you very much for your quick replies....those were the answeres I was hoping for...thank you again..........Jack
jackster748 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I bought a SIM card in France last summer and didn't have to show my passport or anything else.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 66
Dear Jackster:

I hope I may be of some service.

When I was researching the very same thing, there were at least four websites, some with so-called "authority," claiming that one had to be either a citizen (according to some) or a resident (according to others). It made no sense to me, and I'm sure that's exactly why you posted. It sounded like nonsense and it certainly was nonsense, correct?

However,like you,I was determined to use my two cells and I did not want to be surprised by untoward legalese in a tongue I certainly couldn't twist much more than sideways.

XYZ and ElsieJune were most helpful.

While I suspect such an invalid statement might have been made in order to encourage an online pre-purchase of a SIM card,I think it also could be due to a misunderstanding or perhaps mistranslation of terms.

No matter...when I went to purchase my SIM card in Paris, the agent asked me my address. I started to spout off my US address and he politely interrupted me. "Non, votre addresse ici." I was staying in an apartment, so I did wonder if that local address made me "legal". Using my best "Est-ce que c'est possible..." to enquire if one could buy a SIM card if one were to stay at a hotel, he said it wasn't a problem at all. He would just list the hotel as the address.

The next question I had before we left was where in the world would I purchase my SIM? ElsieJune had used the Relay store at CDG (they were closed when I was there last but are probably back open now). However, I spied a nearby phone store on our taxi ride in. As soon as we had the luggage inside the apartment, I went directly to that phone store and was in business within 20 minutes.

Cost: 30 Euro per SIM with around a 4 Euro credit on the Orange network. SIM number is good for six months or more if topped off within that time period.

I need not have fretted in the least about finding a retail agent. There seems to be some sort of mobile store on every block now. While that is perhaps an exaggeration, Mrs. Charles and I did note three phone stores within a 1/2 mile circumference where we stayed.

I have not found any advantage to a pre-purchase. It was rather easy to notify all who needed to know my two French cell numbers with the use of one 7.50 Euro Telecarte.

I hope this has been helpful and not too much a duplication of your research.

My sincere regards,
CharlesIII is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,491
maybe the confusion is for a CONTRACT and not a pre-paid card. i know in spain a foreigner no longer can buy a contract phone unless he has had a
bank account for over six months.

p.s. just saw a phone deal today. 29 euros.. for phone, and up to 100 euros in free calls. seems you put 20 or 30 euros on pre-paid sim card every time, and they duplicate what you put on every month until march or so, with a max to 100 euros in duplication.

not bad.
lincasanova is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 03:10 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,121
Technically retailers have to know who you are and where you live to sell you phone cards; it's part of the “anti-terrorist” curtailment of liberties that afflicts most of the developed world these days. Many retailers are quite casual about it, however.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,496
I bought a cell in Clermont-Ferrand last May. I was asked for my passport and for the address where I was staying at that moment, which was a hotel.


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