My Australian friend, Stuart, suggested I should write this column about mobile communication. He has been in Monaco for three years already, but still is very unhappy with the quality and price of the local telecommunication services. So, upon his request, I will start with bad news. There is only one communication service provider, the Monaco Telecom, with its signature website www.monaco.mc. I wonder how this website has not become the main page of the Principality… Thus, there is one monopoly provider, which is why everything is pretty pricey and inflexible. The good news is that the support service speaks English, and is available for communication with you 24/7. Sometimes they confess honestly that they deal with an issue, and it takes them a while to solve it, but out of justice this is a rare thing to happen.
While moving to a new place, let the agency know in advance so that they enter into the agreement with Monaco Telecom on your behalf on setting up the Internet in the new place. You will receive a box, which you will most likely be able to set up yourself (but if you won’t, you can call the technicians, who will help for around 60 euro). I did it on my own, and so you will for sure 😀
If you are tired of using roaming, and you are ready to switch to a local mobile number, you can choose: either call the very same Monaco Telecom, or try the French operators, the offices of two of which are favorably located in Beausoleil, across the street from Monaco. If you would like to become a client of the Monaco Telecom, you will have a mobile phone number with an area code +377, and +33 in France.
Now, attention, important information from Stuart 😉 : If your friends send you text messages to the mobile number +377, you will never receive them! With this end, your local number must be written down in a French manner, namely in the international format +33, or in a shorter version, which starts from the numbers 06, or 07. This is the local trick.
In any case, while entering into the contract for getting a mobile phone number, you will be asked to bring the apartment rent or purchase contract, and a document, confirming your identity. If you want a tariff plan, which does not require any prepayment (and which will not turn off out of a sudden, when you need to make an emergent call), you will also need your bank account number from the local French or Monegasque bank.
Mobile communication provided by all companies is relatively expensive. In comparison with Russia, on the average I pay 100 euro per month for my phone with infrequent calls to the motherland, and 25 euro for the phone of my child. Tariff plans with special offers for communication with Russia are not available here, unfortunately.
By the way, while renting or purchasing real estate, check the quality of the cell signal inside a potential building. Since Monaco has a lot of skyscrapers and construction sites, your mobile phone might be out of service in certain places. I heard a lot of stories about this issue, and not a single one about how you can solve it, so good luck!
If you need connection for the period of your vacation, you can get a prepaid sim-card in any tobacco kiosk.
By the way, do you want to know where there is free Wi-Fi spots in Monaco? Two McDonalds, café de Paris, Stars’N’Barns, La Note Bleue, Starbucks (free for the first hour) and a number of other restaurants will let you connect. If you need a password, 90% of them coincide with the name of the establishment.
The photo is from the website www.monaco.mc