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Weird. In france calls in in the eu and to the usa are free and unlimited on most contracts.

France has it good. Here's my anecdote: I got a SIM card from France for my last trip for 20 euros (30$) all included. That was enough for what I needed it for. Fast forward, I come back to Canada, and I still have that SIM card. I can now use it locally, with unlimited text, calls and 25 GB of data, without paying a cent more. MMS included.

My local phone contract is 70$ per months for 6 GB and a limited numbers of calls/text and no MMS. So I'm basically paying less than half roaming with my France SIM than with my local one, while having a better service. The real kicker? The roaming is happening on my local's provider network.

I don't care what your definition of insanity is, mine is Canadian telecoms.

Just to add to this as I have done the same - the SIM I got game with 100gig of data, 25 if I used it outside of Europe (which included Britain!).

As far as I could tell, you’re a caveman in France if you use SMS or cell calls as they use WhatsApp. That surprised me.

It was the same for me recently in Morocco, only WhatsApp, nobody wants to use SMS.

It almost sounds like you could finance a brief vacation to France on the savings from canceling your local phone contract and buying a couple years worth of french SIM cards.

This suspiciously resembles a opportunity for arbitrage.

I wished, and very seriously thought about it. Unfortunately, after 4 months of out-of-France service they can cut your service. It would have made my day if it would have worked!

Just get a penpal in France who keeps buying and sending you SIM cards?

I had a similar experience after a visit to Mexico. I picked up an ATT Mexico SIM card, and noticed that it still worked after I got back to the US. I bought a new tariff each month for about $10 USD using Ding, and it worked great.

The only downsides were that I had a Mexican phone number (I use Google Voice anyway, so just needed the data) and, more importantly, that all the customer support was in Spanish...

I ended up ditching the SIM after about a year when the data stopped working when I bought a new tariff. Not sure how much this was due to my inability to navigate the Spanish customer interface vs. ATT cracking down on people doing exactly this.

Well Germany does have the most expensive plans it seems. I pay for 3GB what my Austrian friends pay for 30GB and don’t even have LTE, although this is because I chose a plan on the D network (that just means it uses 900MHZ instead of 1800MHZ) and brought them through a resell because that’s about 1/3 cheaper.

They offer an option for about 10€ a month which offers unlimited international calls but only to landlines. 10€ is also how much unlimited texts cost – but I don’t send many texts anyways so 3 * 20¢ a month is not too bad.

I think the real problem is that there is no real competition in Germany. They are 3 carriers, 2 of them use the D network but are very expensive and one is cheaper but only uses 1800HZ frequencies which makes them unusable in most buildings. You have a false sense of competition from third party resells which either use the a slow network, a slow connections, or just don’t offer LTE/4G at all (although their customer support is usefully way better then one of the three carriers).

After all, we almost pay American prices in terms of $/GB, but live in a very dense area, we don’t need a lot of rual coverage (unlike in America where you can go 300 miles in one way and don’t meet anybody) and have no difficult mountains. Even according to our government we have “good and fair telecom regulations”.

> Weird. In france calls in in the eu and to the usa are free and unlimited on most contracts.

That’s because we have really good phone contracts in France compared to the rest of the World, and also because mobile roaming charges are forbidden in the EU [1].

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roaming#Roaming_between_Europe...

It is, however, not forbidden to charge extra for calls/SMS from your home country to the EU. (A confusing fact, as calling from non-home EU countries to the EU can _not_ carry extra charges.)

That was one of my (only) favorite parts of my French cell plan. It’s a bit sad when the less developed world rapes their customers. For example, What’s App got big, especially in Latin America because up until a few years ago, a typical Mexican cell plan would include 10 included SMSes per month, then overages were something like 25 (US) cents. Carlos Slim got away with that nonsense because he had a government mandated monopoly when he first bought the network. That monopoly expires, but in the meantime, he was able to charge whatever he wanted. I used to be amazed that What’s App even needed to exist for SMS until I lived down there and discovered “unlimited” didn’t exist. What’s App in the US didn’t really have a compelling value prop because unlimited texts were such a staple. I prefer iMessage and FaceTime personally but good for What’s App for trying to innovate around the typically corrupt third world providers who enjoy monopoly status due to various structural and political issues in those countries.

> That was one of my (only) favorite parts of my French cell plan. It’s a bit sad when the less developed world rapes their customers.

That’s a developed world problem isn’t it, or at least it’s bad there too?

A downside of the situation you discuss is that it’s not easy to navigate the current situation, as you can’t communicate with certain people if you don’t want WhatsApp. In France i encountered several people don’t have a cellphone number for calls or SMS, and my interest in WhatsApp is zero, preventing communication except by email.

The calls are free for you, the carrier still pays - nowhere near the robbery-grade rates they would normally give to out-of-bundle international mobile calls, but they’re probably paying around 1p a minute for most of the EU.

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