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Please be gentle here,  I'm about two decades behind the rest of you as far as mobile phones are concerned,   my original Nokia 3310 (not the re-release) is as far as I've got...

I see more and more ads for 4G internet,  and some of the offers are "interesting".   One aspect that has put me off in the past is that the small print often confirms that if one has no 4G signal the "monthly data limit" is hugely reduced when one uses the 3G network.   However,  an offer from SFR Red I've just seen seems to suggest that one can have 100 GB by whatever delivery method,   3G,  4G,  4G +.

Now where we are our ADSL is 0.5 Mbps and I don't think we're ever going to have an improvement,  in spite of the fact the whole village is in the same boat.   We don't have a 4G signal,  but there is patchy 3G. 

The offer is this:



1)  Could I buy a 4G modem,  put the SFR card in it,  put it high up in our barn where there's a whiff of 3G,  and use it to connect my computer via an ethernet cable?    How fast is it likely to go - I've seen it suggested that it might do 42 Mbps even on 3G which would be nearly one hundred times faster than my ADSL.    Even say 5 Mbps would be a luxury.

2)   Presumably when the SIM card is in the modem it can't work as a phone - so if I ditched the landline/ADSL (which I'm longing to,  the only people who use it are very old French with time on their hands and unwanted marketing) I'd need to keep our emergency LeClerc mobile....?

3)  The details of the SFR offer suggest I could use 10 GB per month even when we're back in England (where we are for the winter) - that seems an improvement on previous offers...?  Is there a catch?

4)  If all this is possible,  could someone point me in the direction of what sort of modem I'd need to buy?

5)   Are there any catches I've missed?

TBH I'm so fed up with slow ADSL and unwanted phone calls on the landline that taking a 20 Euro a month punt "sans engagement" seems worth the risk,  particularly as if it doesn't work I can presumably ditch it pretty quickly

Sorry to ask such out of date questions,   any advice gratefully received.


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Thanks.   I've just been looking at the Sosh equivalent with an Airbox which would (as far as I can understand,  why does it have to be so damned complicated) give me something similar,   smartphone PLUS 20 GO internet BOTH in France and in England which if it's true would be very useful.

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20 Go is an awful lot ! How much 'GO' do you need per month ?

Maybe you have answered your own question.

I have a 'Chromebook' which I can 'tether' to my android phone (basic Moto 4). So basically I have internet on the laptop wherever I want.

I think you need to work out what your consumption is and then work out the best solution. Unless you are watching lots of video, getting through 5 'GO' is quite difficult. In that respect, if you ditch your ADSL and get a mobile phone in France on a 15 euro contract (5 GO) then you have internet and phone.

Like I said, try and work out what your consumption is per month.

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Certainly get through 10 GO a month,  not videos,  but Spotify and browsing.

But that's not really the problem,  the problem is that if it's to replace our ADSL it needs to run at least two ethernet computers + a couple of laptops.   Having questioned SOSH they say that their SIM won't work in another 4G router other than the Airbox.   The Airbox doesn't exactly look terribly robust,  no ethernet connectors,  and in the case of Sosh you have to rent it at 5 Euro a month....

That's why I was asking about using a 4G router + a large amount of data,  rather than fiddling about with a mobile.   The signal here even for 3G is weak,  so balancing a mobile on a window sill isn't going to be ideal....

So if anyone has any advice on 4G routers and which cards work in them (I'm fairly certain the SFR RED's do) then please sing out.

But thank you ALBOF!

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Have gone for the SFR 100 Go offer.

I just hope it works,  cos I've just noticed that Orange Decouverte have upped their monthly price from 21 Euro to 24.99 (so 25 in reality).   Coupled with the 18 Euro line rental, we're now paying 43 Euro a month for a terrible internet service,  as we hardly use the landline.

At that price - even if I have to drive to the top of a hill to access 3G - I shall take great pleasure in going through the resiliation process both for the internet and for the ligne fixe.

And Orange had the audacity to tell me to check out their fibre service.  Here?? What r*ddy fibre service??!!!

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I am trying to get this to work right now and its all a MASSIVE pain in the scrote.

I have a sosh ADSL landline setup which I think might actually be powered by smoke signals. 0.5mb down, 0.01 up internet is a good day. Its a complete farce and it infuriates me to the point of apocalyptic rage. Yes, I get it....I live in the middle of nowhere and the areas landline infrastructure is completely ruined and never going to be fixed, so I accept that internet will be slow, but why in the name of the Gods I dont believe in should I have to pay the same price for this miserable service as the folk living in town and getting at least 20 times faster speeds? In fact, I believe I pay MORE than them due to some "degroupage" system which translates as "because FCK YOU, thats why".

Anyway, my mobile is also via sosh and I get 40gb of data per month.

A while ago I discovered mobile tethering, where I connect via the USB to my laptop, turn on tethering in the phone settings and I get internet via the mobile. If I use Scotch tape to stick the phone to the lounge window I get a 3G signal. This gives the heady speeds on average of approx 1.7mb down and 0.8mb up. Its quite variable though and I have seen it as high as 3mb down very early in the morning. Its dependant on weather and load on the local cell network. It has also been as slow as the ADSL at times.

The talked about 40-odd mb speeds is the 3G networks theoretical maximum under perfect conditions - ie never. ever.

Happy enough with this, I continued for several weeks, although it was costing me a lot in Scotch tape to keep sticking the phone to the window and unsticking it when I want to go somewhere, so I decided to get another phone and look at maybe a different offer.

While fiddling with the telephone settings I discovered I could make it scan for all networks and it said it was getting a Free 4G signal.

4G! wow. So I signed up to a Free sim card which arrived today.

Guess what. no, go on....guess....

Yeah, 4G my hoop. It gets a decent 3G signal, but only gets 4G for a fleeting instant if I force the phone to use it, and then reverts back to 3G. During a brief 4G connection I got a dowload speed of 7mb; Hot damn, if I could get that to work reliably I would be a happy bunny.

So tomorrows task is to get up the ladder and see if there is a better 4G signal to be had higher up, and if so I need to find a 4G receiver with an external aerial that I can mount on the roof. Otherwise, the Free sim will get sent back and I will cancel the offer - no point in keeping it if it doesnt work here.

And I am typing this now via the ADSL because in all the fiddling and swapping SIM cards back and forth in the phone it is now flatly refusing to make any data connection at all with either card at any speed.

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Thanks for the information dave21478 - and in your inimitable style.   I think frustration must feed your literary Muse.....

You have given me some hope 'cos it sounds as though we're in much the same boat (although extraordinarily our Orange ADSL upload speed sits at 0.8 Mbps whereas the download sits at the slower 0.5 Mbps,   which of course from the theory of ADSL is the wrong way round.   It's a pity I don't upload masses to the internet because that part is quite fast sometimes.....)

But even to get 1 Mbps off 3G would be great,  and it would be half the price of the licensed banditry practised by Orange.   Like you I'm just plain angry that the towns have it so good and at often 19 Euro a month for fibre.   Like you I'm armed with a load of gaffer tape,   the 4G router (which hasn't arrived yet from England) has TWO 3G/4G aerials,   so I've also ordered two 5 m extension cables so that the aerials can go outdoors - probably like you our 3G signal varies from nothing to weak over a distance of less than 1 m,    so location will be critical.

I hope you get it working a bit better,  but I don't think 4G will be along for a while yet,  our nearest served areas are I believe Limoges and Perigueux,  both 50 miles away....

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Could you tell me what model of router you have ordered?

I have found this site....


...which you can use to find your nearest mast. Surprisingly there is a 4G antenna operated by SFR only 6km away from me. Looks like I need to look into that. Just my luck to find that AFTER I signed up to the wrong operator.

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Yes - but I've only followed the advice of a savvy-techie-friend who uses this modem at his work place (long story of BT messing up their broadband,  so they have 4G back up).

It's this


They do deliver to France (well they say they do,  I'm not expecting the package until next week).

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@Martin963: I had the same 'Découverte" and immediately changed to RED SFR 'BOX' after they raised the price . I now only pay €15,-/month for ADSL internet+landline and free calls to landlines in 100 destinations. I have no dégroupage. Check their website for the current offer because the discount may vary. The switchover was perfect: never without internet or phone.

The downside: customer service is only available by chat. But for saving around €30,-/month I can do without a customer servce by phone.
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Thanks Jako.   That sounds very favourable,   assuming it's available on our out-of-the-ark line.   I'm still waiting for the SFR sim card and the 4G modem-router (the one I ordered was out of stock so I'm trying another variety),  but will report back.

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Just tried a test on my line for SFR Red,  they wanted Euro 19.90 basic for the same poor ADSL,  and then add another Euro 5 for not being dégroupée.

L'offre RED Fibre n'est pas disponible chez vous



Jusqu'à 2 Mb/s en réception

et jusqu'à 1 Mb/s en émission

Votre ligne n'étant pas encore dégroupée,

le tarif de votre offre est majoré de 5€/mois.

As I'm hoping to get rid of the landline once and for all I won't take action until the 3G internet situation becomes clearer.

But certainly if it (Red ADSL) was only going to come out at euro 25 per month it would be cheaper than Orange Decouverte + ligne fixe.

But do you *have* to rent their box?   No point in my case,  not fast enough for TV and all the other fancy add ons....

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So they raised prices, it has been €9.99 +€5,- extra for no dégroupage for months. You can use your own box, but then you have no phone and you get the SFR box for free with no monthly charge like Orange. Plus you get free phonecalls to landlines in over 100 destinations. They do charge €20,- shipping costs if you want the box shipped to your home address, Shipment to a 'point relais' is free.

As you say, €25/month is still a lot cheaper than découverte+landline. My internet speed went up from 8Mbps to 18 Mbps...
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Thanks for the clarification/confirmations Jako - it seems you got the deal at a good time.

TBH I don't think I'm going to get any increase in speed,  our maximum is governed more by the laws of physics (ie being 6.5 kms from the exchange) than by the whims of individual providers.   As our phone line is very vulnerable over that length (the last "accident" was when the entire 56 pair line was brought down by the dustmen,  and we were off for five days) I'm prepared to try anything that doesn't involve copper.   Paying so much for 0.5 Mbps is really really annoying me now.....

The SFR 4G SIM arrived today and works in our old 2G phone,   but I'm still waiting for the 4G modem so have no idea whether internet via 3G is going to be viable or not.    I'll report back.

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Its all a load of bollox. I sacked off the Free 4G sim card as it wouldnt get any kind of decent 4G signal, and if it reverts to a 3G connection the offer is terrible (19.99 per month for 3gb)

I am back to the mobile phone taped to the lounge window and my Sosh 3G contract and I guess its going to stay that way until they install fibre/hell freezes over. Whichever comes first. Probably hell freezing.

The website I linked to earlier with the map of transmitters suggests there is an SFR 4G antenna somewhere in the local village only 7km away. I dont know how accurate that is as I have no idea where the mast might be - its a tiny wee town. I need to find someone who has an SFR mobile and see if it gets a signal in my house.

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The site I used gave the street name and/or street crossing of each of the transmitters also their height, with the latter it was easy to find them, the high ones were on the château d'eau's and the lower ones on the top of an HLM, cycling round them checking the signal I found that the place you dont want to live is directly underneath one [:D]


Cant recall the site but you are good at searching and now you know the data is out there.


12 years I have been here and never knew that I had line of site to the antenne, now I know where to look and what to look for I can see it clearly.


Its dropped out twice now always on a Friday afternoon and comes back on the Tuesday, pretty certain its a technician that likes to finish his week in the café on Friday lunchtimes, the last time when I cycled up I found the gates to the château d'eau wide open so I went in looking for theur vehicle hoping they might be there, they werent but I did see an emergency power cut off, my computer and Freebox usually respond to a reboot so I gave it a try, nothing for me at least to lose, didn't make any difference but probably some people were hampered from uploading their selfies to Fessbook [:D]


Good luck with your mission, supposedly fibre optic is on its way to me but it has always gone as far as the corner of the road for the Airbus factory and the Aeropole but they seem to be pulling through completely new cables from the town.


If you do get optican fibre to the outside of the dwelling do you have to replace the twisted pair cable Inside?

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Yes, 6.5 km's from the exchange is on the edge of what is possible. The SFR box seems to perform a bit better though.

I've found the SFR 3G and 4G predictions to be very optimistic. In my house SFR claims 3G reception is available, but it is not. Orange claims their 3G is only just about possible, but I get 4 bars, perfect.
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Thanks for the further thoughts....

Yesterday the 3G/4G modem turned up (eventually from Amazon uk,  the Solwise was out of stock so it's a Tp-Link TL-MR6400).

With some doubts I took my new SFR RED card out of the 2G mobile and put it in the modem,  put the modem on an upstairs window sill where there's a slightly better 2G signal,  switched on,  and.....

..... well it works rather well!    I now have 3.5 Mbps instead of the dreadful 0.5 - 0.7 Mbps of ADSL,  there seems to be no lack of 3G signal (75% as read by the meter on the modem) and it's run nicely now for 24 hours.   I'm glad I went for the 100 GB option,  I've got through 1 GB already with heavy browsing but no big file downloads,   but it's significantly faster for loading pages from the web with photos etc!    AND I don't have to unplug it as soon as a storm approaches,   the copper ADSL fell over last night with distant lightning but the 3G carried on just fine.  

Having checked here


I see that our local tower already carries 4G for Orange (since April).  So I'm hoping that SFR won't be far behind,  and I'm further told that even a sniff of 4G is hugely better and more reliable than medium 3G,   so it may just be that things can only get better.

In the interim,  I've now ordered a SOSH mobile phone SIM,  at 19.99 Euro per month it gives another 20 GB of data (useable in Europe as well),   and this will give us a separate phone (with slightly better coverage than SFR where we are,   as well as possibly 4G access right now).    Then we can tell Orange where to put their copper and their price increase,   and have both a 4G smartphone via SOSH AND internet from the SFR card in the modem,   and all for three euros a month less than we're being ripped off at the moment.

I shall try the SOSH card in the 4G router of course,  but opinion on the net is divided as to whether they've crippled them to prevent this;   in any case they DO allow tethering from a smart phone so we can perhaps use 4G on a limited basis by that method.

So all in all,   something of a success.   It's really cheered me up to have found a solution to the slow ADSL and the price rise.   OK,  3.5 Mbps is still slow by the standards that most of you enjoy,   but it's a transformational change for us.

Well done SFR for putting a really good value offer together (and I checked deals in the UK and there's nothing like their offer at anything under £60 per month as far as I can see,  most data is severely restricted).

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You could be right Norman,  but I consider Orange/France Telecom to have abused me for years by providing a very slow service at a hugely inflated price compared to someone in a town who gets 100 x the speed at half the price.  To then put the ADSL element up by 20%,  telling me that they were doing ME a favour by retaining the service at all,  was insultingly patronising.  

In our case we're not here in the winter,   so it would be the easiest thing in the world with SFR (no engagement) to cancel if necessary and choose another operator.    There are lots doing similar deals.

But you are right to be cynical.....

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I have the same feeling about both SFR and Orange. Despite being already the most expensive provider Orange send me an email explaining their 19% price raise because of investments in 4G and fiber, both not available to me. Why should I want to pay for someone else's infrastructure?

SFR has a bad reputation, but apparantly they are now prepared to buy market share with very low prices.

I can live with that for just €15,- /month 'sans engagement', which saves me around €30,- /month compared to Orange. And I can leave at any time if I don't like their offer anymore.

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Well sadly what started off very promisingly indeed has ground - quite literally - to a sticky halt this afternoon.   Having had 3.5 Mbps consistently for the first two days,   this morning was nearer 2.0 Mbps and this afternoon the service is unusable. 

There's just as much 3G signal as ever as shown by the "meter",   but I'm assuming that contention has come into play.   It's Friday,  it's a "grande depart",   and I'm wondering whether this 3G idea isn't as reliable as I'd hoped.

Still have time to cancel the Orange resiliation....

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Forget that last post.   It seems that something happened to the Wifi function from the 3G/4G router,   the connection speed is still perfectly respectable at 2 - 3.5 Mbps.

Phew,  I was thinking I'd backed a right pup,  but apparently not....

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Quick update,  still working successfully,   and I've had 6 Mbps by even more careful positioning of the aerials.

Took it up to some French friends who are in the same boat with terrible ADSL as we are,   they're on higher ground,   got 7 Mbps straight away.   A few minutes later the speed test gave 22 Mbps,   I told them that must be a mistake until I saw that the 4G indicator on the box was lit.   Probably coming from the more distant tower the other side of Hautefort,   where SFR have a 4G presence.

French friends very impressed,   he likes Eurosport (on line) and said it was the first time he'd been able to watch a programme without stuttering.    She found she could watch the videos she needs for her "formation" without pauses.

Took it back home to a "sweet spot" on higher ground where I know from long experience that the 2G signal is at its best.   (Luckily for reasons too long to go into I have a power supply up there,  even though it's 150 m from the main house.   Plugged in,  and using the laptop checked the speed....

74.47 Mbps down,  8.50 Mbps.    Never thought I'd see anything like that in my lifetime in La France Profonde.   Long term I may try and establish a link from up there back to the house,   MIMO or at a pinch ethernet with a repeater,   but to be honest the 3.5 Mbps on 3G at the house is still such a novelty and a pleasure that there may not be much point.   Might just "go up the mountain" when I have something big to download.

What is interesting is that a few folk here (mainly Parisians with second homes) complain about their mobile reception for internet.    I've realised that their problem is that they are "tethering" using a Smartphone in WiFi Hotspot mode.     And it simply doesn't work very well - at least here where admittedly the 3G signal isn't as strong as when they are back home in Paris.   But the dedicated router idea clearly DOES hoover up a better signal than a Smartphone,   as well as being far more convenient in that you can put as many devices on the WiFi network and indeed use the ethernet sockets.

I really feel I've seen the future.....

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