Mobile Carriers, Television, Internet providers: How does it work in your country?

Living in France and reading tech news everyday, I find myself having hard time understanding how people in other country deal with their mobile phone carriers, Internet providers or television networks, mostly in the US.

For example, I have the impression that users in the US are stuck with one mobile carrier and can't easily change to get another phone. We see reviews of phones named like this: the "Phone name" from "Carrier name". Why that?

The same goes for the internet providers and television network.

As a non-American Tech news reader, all this is a little bit confusing.

That's why I had the idea to explain how it works in France and invite you to do the same for your country in response.

It may be useful for people planning to leave abroad.

The situation in France:

Internet and related services:

Four main providers share the market with minor companies: Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Free.

They mostly are in the same price range for the same services and use the ADSL technology thought a "Box".

For around 30-35€ a month you have "Triple Play":
• True unlimited access to the internet (no Up nor Down restriction)
• VOIP landline with unlimited calls to other landline in France and in some other countries
• Television

The "boxes" are different for each provider and offer different services.
They all are used for wifi hotspot, rooter, set-top box for TV and the landline entry.

You can rent VOD from the box interface on your television

The Freebox, from Free, witch I know best, use two boxes. One connected to your landline is the rooter, wifi hotspot, NAS. The other, connected to your TV is the multimedia centre.

There is also one provider that uses cable technology, Numéricable, and three that developed optical fiber, Orange, Free and SFR.


7 Historical national channels:
• TF1
• France 2 (Public TV)
• France 3 (Public TV)
• Canal + (Pay TV)
• France 5 (Public TV)
• M6
• Arte (French/German Cultural TV)

Many more thematic channels that boomed after the arrival of the TNT and Local channels

4 ways to have TV in France:
• Digital terrestrial TV (TNT - Télévision Numérique Terreste) - 57 HD channels.
• Satellite television - Around 170 channels depending on the offer you subscribed to.
• ADSL providers - Around 170 channels depending on the. offer you subscribed to
• Cable TV - Not very used.

Mobile Phones:

Main Carriers: Orange, Bouygue Telecom, SFR

Yep, the same as for Internet except Free... for now, as it will arrive on the market in the first quarter of 2012.
A lot of people expect Free to cut the bill in half for mobile service as its CEO announced (rumors: unlimited communication and data for 30€)

A ton of other carriers rent the networks of the main carriers:
Breizh Mobile, Budget Telecom, Carrefour Mobile, Coriolis Telecom, Fnac Mobile, La Poste Mobile, M6 Mobile, Mobisud, NRJ Mobile, Numericable, Omea Telecom, Prixtel, Simyo, Société réunionnaise du radiotéléphone, Société du Haut Débit, Tele2 Mobile, Ten (opérateur), TF1 Mobile, Transatel, Universal Music Mobile, Virgin Mobile France


Pretty expansive but some effort are made by the carriers before the announced arrival of Free on the Market.

For example: I have 2 hours of communication, 1go of Data, unlimited calls on 3 numbers, free text and MMS, and free calls between 9:30 pm and 8 am on cell phones and land-line, for 57€.

The Market:

It's easy to switch between carriers once you are out of your contract.
Your new carrier does everything for you and you can even keep your number.

Phones are pretty much the same from one carrier to another. Some just fill the phone with their shitty apps and sometime block services.

You can even switch carrier before but you'll have to pay 25% of what you would have paid till the end.

The network coverage is good for every carrier everywhere in France with a few exceptions in some isolated places.

Here you are!

How does it work in your country?