Olympic tourists will likely pay premium prices for mobile plans

This summer, several million tourists will visit France for the Olympic Games (or for pleasure). To share their photos with loved ones, access navigation applications or simply get information, they will (often) need a local SIM card.

” Welcome in France ! Here, enjoy your package as normal and connect to the Internet for 25.98 euros per MB.”

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Millions of tourists receive this message every year. The most attentive have the right reflex (namely to quickly deactivate mobile roaming or switch to airplane mode), the others do nothing, respond to messages and receive a hefty bill of several hundred or thousand euros once again. return home. French operators do the same on vacation, so it is not surprising to see tourists also being fooled when they arrive here.

If the prices of mobile plans are relatively affordable in France, the prices of packages for tourists are generally high (and it is not possible to take a local offer without a European RIB and a French domiciliation). A few weeks before the Paris Olympic Games, operators are preparing the ground to gain hundreds of thousands of ephemeral subscribers.

Orange wants to treat tourists as soon as they land

At Roissy-CDG airport, the main entry point for international tourists, Orange will approach visitors as soon as they arrive on French soil.

For the Olympic Games, France's largest operator plans to install 70 points of presence in airports, train stations and Olympic sites. In Charles-de-Gaulle alone, three points of sale will be present. They will market there Orange Holiday packages updated especially for the occasion, with 5G, regardless of the formula chosen.

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The offer put forward by Orange costs 49.99 euros, or more than twice the price of the most popular non-binding offers for the French public (a Sosh 5G costs 20.99 euros per month). At this price, Orange offers 100 GB of Internet in Europe, unlimited calls/SMS in France, 120 call minutes worldwide and 1,000 SMS abroad. The package is valid for 28 days, with the possibility of recharging it if necessary.

Orange's offers for the Olympic Games.
Orange's offers for the Olympic Games. // Source: Orange

Among competitors, the prices are relatively similar, with a risk of less good reception during the Olympic Games (Orange, as a partner of the event, will cover the Olympic sites with permanent or temporary antennas).

Bouygues Telecomfor example, offers its “my European SIM” package at the price of 41.90 euroswith 60 GB of Internet and credit for international calls (25 euros, rather than minutes). SFR is the most affordable with a 60 GB 5G offer at 34.99 euros for 30 days (with 2 hours of calls abroad) and, even more interesting, a package with only 140 GB of Internet, without calls abroad, for 24.99 euros. A good way to save if you're willing to use WhatsApp or FaceTime for calls.

Bouygues' most popular offer for tourists.Bouygues' most popular offer for tourists.
Bouygues' most popular offer for tourists. // Source: Numerama
Originality at SFR: packages without international calls, for 100% Internet use.Originality at SFR: packages without international calls, for 100% Internet use.
Originality at SFR: packages without international calls, for 100% Internet use. // Source: Numerama

At Free, no tourist offers are officially offered. It is nevertheless possible for a visitor to buy a SIM card at a terminal For 29.99 euros (package at 19.99 euros + SIM card at 10 euros), to benefit from the same package as the French for one month. It remains to know the trick, which still requires landing, going to the hotel then going to a Free store. Online, you need a RIB.

The eSIM, the ultimate weapon to equip tourists?

Orange, Bouygues and SFR have one thing in common: they offer eSIM versions of their offers for tourists.

This SIM technology integrated into the smartphone has an important advantage: it allows you to download a SIM card to your phone without having to queue. A person who subscribes on July 15 on the Orange website, from the United States, will be able to arrive in France a few days later with their package already activated. Enough to save time on landing, without risk of out of package.

There are obviously online services specializing in the sale of eSIMs, but this article focuses on the offerings of the big four operators, who are expected to capture a large part of the market this summer.

OrangeBouyguesSFRSFRFree
5G Internet100 GB 60 GB60 GB140 GB300 GB
Calls/SMS FranceUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Foreign calls/SMS120 minutes / 1000 SMS25 euros credit120 minutes / List of Free countries
Duration28 days30 days30 days30 days1 month
Points of saleOrange, Olympic sites, airports, train stations, tobacconistsBouygues, kiosks, tobacconists, RelaySFR, kiosks, tobacconistsSFR, kiosks, tobacconistsFree terminals
eSIM online
Price49.99 euros41.90 euros34.99 euros24.99 euros29.99 euros

Thanks to the Olympic Games, an operator like Orange expects to achieve event turnover of several tens of thousands of euros. The number of activations is expected to break records this summer, thanks to the massive influx of people who will need to be connected.

As a reminder, roaming is free in the European Union. A German, a Spaniard or even an Englishman (the rule has not changed post-Brexit) can access French networks for free, from their traditional package. As for athletes, Orange, in partnership with Samsung, will provide them with a 100 GB SIM card and a smartphone free of charge.


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