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Meribel in resort internet/4g dongle

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi wonderful snowheads,

Can I ask for some help please?

My girlfriend and I are heading out to Meribel for a couple of months this winter and unfortunately will have to do some work while we're out there. She is going to have to regularly use zoom as her work are being amazing and letting her work remotely (we can't afford not to work a bit!). Sadly our apartment doesn't have wifi but apparently does have good signal for operators Bouygues and SFR.

Does anybody know how best to get some reasonable internet connection? I have done some googling but I'm none the wiser.
Would a 4G/5G dongle be easy to buy over there or is this something that I can buy online and have ready to plug in and go?

Or would we be better buying a router and putting a sim card in? Can you buy pre paid sim cards with large amounts of data on?

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated!

BW snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We use one of these.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unlocked-Configuration-Required-Archer-MR400/dp/B0741FFT6F/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=3GP67TGCZMZ6W&dchild=1&keywords=tp+link+archer+mr600&qid=1633857671&sprefix=TPLink+archer%2Caps%2C175&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExR0dJQk9RSEhPNkVJJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTQ5OTY3M0EzN1Q4Qkw1MEhMRCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNzA4NTA0QlhONDdYTTY0TjkwJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ%3D%3D&tag=amz07b-21

It’s good, but not perfect as you'd imagine, and when the fibre optic rollout arrives in our village we'll be getting that instead. Also, don’t forget you probably have a chunk of roamable data on your phones which you can use to soften the blow.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks very much that's really useful - do you just buy a pre paid sim cards then to put in it? Or have some sort of contract?

I've just come across this too - anybody had any experience?

https://www.bouyguestelecom.fr/offres-internet/4g-box
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Francis.S wrote:
Thanks very much that's really useful - do you just buy a pre paid sim cards then to put in it? Or have some sort of contract?

I've just come across this too - anybody had any experience?

https://www.bouyguestelecom.fr/offres-internet/4g-box


We are in Switzerland, and we have an unlimited contract data SIM that costs CHF19 per month. For a short stay I'm sure you'll be better off with pre-paid though. One of the Francophiles will be along shortly with recommendations. Oh, and welcome to snowHeads!
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https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=4819336&highlight=sosh#4819336

Try this thread from page 4 onwards. Gives some useful pointers
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@Francis.S, We are with Bouyges telecom in our places in Agde, I thought they would only provide the 4G router on a long term contract if a phone line or fibre isn't available. I didn't think you could rent them on a short term basis.

In Champagny the tourist office rent out 4G units, it costs about 30 euros a week, maybe they have something similar in Meribel.
If not it is only a 30 minute drive over to Champagny.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
https://www.la-plagne.com/decouvrir-la-plagne/pratique/acces-internet-wifi/hippocket-wifi-la-plagne-champagny-en-vanoise
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I can recommend renting a Hippocketwifi device - did this while working remotely from La Plagne for the season a few years ago and found it to be very easy and just the job.

If you go on the website, you can set it all up and get the thing posted to you in advance.

https://hippocketwifi.com/en/long-term-pocket-wifi/
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@skikendwarrior, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead
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Thanks everybody - much appreciated. The hippo one looks great!

If the boxes use 4g and so do mobile phones I wonder if there's any benefit to getting one, or if she would be better paying for a huge data package on her mobile and hot spotting from her mobile.

hmmmm
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boredsurfin wrote:
@skikendwarrior, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead


Thank you!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Francis.S, you'll find this website very useful for research and deals https://en.selectra.info/broadband-phone-france/providers

Assuming you have an unlocked phone with hotspot or 4G router, then free mobile is likely your best bet. A lot of seasonaires use it (including me) so coverage should be ok. It was fine in Courchevel/La Tania and Meribel Altiport when I was there in the summer. https://mobile.free.fr/

You can get a mobile sim card with data from a machine in the post office (La Poste) as they have a tie up with them. They have standard/micro and nano sims in the machine. I assume there's one in the tourist office (which is also La Poste) in Meribel but if you want to be sure, just call the tourist office and ask them where the nearest one is - they speak English.

Although it's non-contract, it is a PITA to cancel it from auto-renewing so if you're only there for two months, I would buy the 30 day option and when it's about to expire, just buy another one. You'll pay an extra €10 for the second sim but that's it. So 80GB/30 days for €21/month. I think that's as cheap as you'll get.
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@Francis.S, Interesting that your girlfriend is being allowed to work abraod for a while. My employers have just introduced a covid dynmaic working scheme whereby we can work from home or elesewhere for part of the time. Except we were told we could not work abroad for income tax reasons. I'm a bit suspicius of this and would like to know if HMRC and the French taxation people are going to chase it up.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Yeah I think you're right - it's more a combination of paid and unpaid leave but she still needs to do work related bits hence the need for internet.

Thanks for all your responses- much appreciated.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Hey Francis,

We are also doing the season in Méribel interspersed with the odd trip to the UK for work and lots of Zoom.

We had SFR Broadband installed and it absolutely sucked. 4mbps. That went the distance.

We went to Orange in Albertville and sorted out a 4G data only sim with 80gb of data for €45 to slot into a 4G Router (Orange do their own for €100ish, but you can get them much cheaper on amazon). It appears this isn’t going to be anywhere near enough data though as Zoom absolutely spanks the data… we can top up more, but it’s rather expensive.

When we signed up we had to hand over the all important EDF Attestation and a few other bits like passport etc to get things moving along. If you’re renting, you may struggle to get the EDF docs?

Your best bet might be to get a second sim on your UK plan (assuming you have an unlimited plan that is with a network that isn’t going to rob you in terms of roaming in the near future) - EE are good with this - and then slot it into a 4G router from Amazon. The fly in the ointment is once your sim is out of the UK for 90 days some networks start charging for roaming in the EU.

FWIW we’re going to give Orange ADSL a blast due to the ‘unlimited’ data aspect as the guy in the orange store in Albertville told me they get around 10mpbs on my line and SFR are just oversubscribed. I won’t hold my breath that it’s any good though, but at least a 1 hour Zoom call won’t cost twenty quid….!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Francis.S,

We've installed Bouygues boxes in our rentals. Very pleased with the experience (Sallanches shop). In and out in 20 minutes.

Mind you, you might want a French bank account ...
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:
I’m a bit suspicius of this and would like to know if HMRC and the French taxation people are going to chase it up.

Employer needs a French entity to pay income tax and social charges if working from France.It’s a ball ache and bloody expensive to set up which is why most employers say “No!”. For the self employed there are other options such as micro-entrepreneur or depending on your status I know some self employed people who have closed their UK businesses, set up a French SAS and invoice their UK clients through that entity and pay themselves through payroll.

I dare say a blind eye would be turned to the odd business call from the slopes; but if you’re essentially working from France then getting caught could have v bad consequences.

That said, some employers may already have a French part of the business where they can temp assign UK staff (I’m not sure on how that works post Brexit, but teleworking from France has always been an issue with the social charges).

I guess a lot of businesses, if they did have a French entity to pay through would probably want to negotiate a temp salary drop due to the huge social charges French employers have to pay…
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@under a new name, Do you have the 4G boxes or is it ASDL or fibre?
They've recently installed fibre in Agde and we are considering that but I'd prefer the 4G box so we could move them with us when we move from the South up to the mountains.
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@skichampcouk, 4G box, no defined contract length, seem pretty good.
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@skichampcouk, you'll need to get BT to fiddle with them if you move as they are tied to your closest antennae...
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@under a new name, Thanks. It never shows 4G as an option for our address online so worth a trip to the shop. They were very good when we changed over to them, also friends had fibre installed and that was professionally done.
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rjj501 wrote:

Your best bet might be to get a second sim on your UK plan (assuming you have an unlimited plan that is with a network that isn’t going to rob you in terms of roaming in the near future) - EE are good with this - and then slot it into a 4G router from Amazon. The fly in the ointment is once your sim is out of the UK for 90 days some networks start charging for roaming in the EU.

The fly in the ointment is that all UK operators have a fair use policy that caps roaming data at between 12-25GB/month. EE are charging £2/day for roaming data use from January 2022. It's not realistic to use a UK provider for data abroad since Brexit, you need to use a local provider.
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Quote:

The fly in the ointment is that all UK operators have a fair use policy that caps roaming data at between 12-25GB/month. EE are charging £2/day for roaming data use from January 2022. It's not realistic to use a UK provider for data abroad since Brexit, you need to use a local provider.

My UK EE plan (unlimited data) is 60GB 'Europe Zone Fair Use' for up to three consecutive months. From Jan '22 they're introducing the £2 a day as you say - for customers who took out contracts after July 2021 (those of us who have been with EE longer, EE tell us won't be paying the £2 fee), but even for those new to EE, they have also launched the Roam Abroad add-on which is £10 a month (no contract) which allows you to take your plan into the EU zone as you do now. If you have smart benefits on your new EE contract then you can nominate the Roam Abroad add-on as your free benefit meaning you'd get your full fair use (in the case of the EE Unlimited plan: 60GB a month) at no extra cost.

This would work great for people spending up to 90 days in the EU (ie. tourists, without a TdS or Visa), which I got the impression fitted the situation for the OP. For longer termers who spend 6 months plus a year in France year in year out, then I'd be inclined to agree with you on a local provider, but certainly as it stands, the OP could probably get by depending on their network and plan.
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I used Travelerswifi last year. Picked it up and dropped it off at Geneva airport post office on the first and last days of our trip respectively. Probably wasn’t the cheapest but it worked perfectly and the unit was small enough to carry in my pocket so had WiFi wherever we went.
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Thank you everybody, you're amazing.
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If it is just occasional, just use phone as a 4G hotspot from Free.fr card. I'm in France now and am using my phone on a 4G+ signal, Vodafone contract. Plenty fast enough for video.
Having a second SIM card slot in phone would greatly help though, Xiaomi, which I use, often have 2 SIM plus SD card.
Or cheap 2nd hand phone for hotspot.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Possible daft question incoming!! Not being the most tech savvy person, can anyone tell me whether this would work...

I'm a Sky mobile user in the UK and find them really good when at our place in France as they don't charge for roaming nor have a limit on mobile data usage, so I tether my laptop off my phone when there.

If I got another phone sim from them, would it be possible to insert this into a router (e.g. a TP-Link router from Amazon) and then leave this in our place in Thollon so I can connect a wifi camera to it to allow me to keep an eye on the place? Would a phone sim work in the router? And would Sky pull the plug at some point because it's out of the UK permanently?

I realise a French sim from Orange (best signal in Thollon) would probably be better, but they are much more expensive monthly compared to what I can get from Sky.
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@DeuxBieres, Technically yes, but there's usually a roaming data limit (probably OK if just looking at the camera infrequently) and you may be cut off if it's not used in the UK occasionally.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@DeuxBieres, the problem is the acceptable use policies that are in force (moreso since Brexit). The roaming is for travel and so if used for more than 2 months in 4, you will get warnings from your provider and probably charged roaming.

As has been mentioned on other threads look at Sosh (Orange) and Red (SFR) for monthly contracts. Sosh currently has 50GB for €13 and Red 30GB for €10. Both work fine in a TP Link router.

I assume you aim connect to the router/webcam direct rather than have the webcam upload its images to the cloud, otherwise you could burn through your data allowance quite quickly.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks, I hadn't heard of Sosh but they might be worth a go as Orange is definitely the best 4G coverage where we are in Thollon.

Next daft question! I know literally nothing about 4G routers (but TP link seem to be mentioned regularly), but they range from under £30 (as per link below) to over £100 on Amazon. What's the difference between them? Are there any features I do/don't need to look for? I'm not looking to create a large wifi zone (our apartment is only 20 sqm !!) but I do want one that's going to be reliable in keeping its connection to the Ring type wifi cameras.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-Router-Button-Configuration-Required-Black-White/dp/B003WK62OS/ref=sr_1_13?crid=1Q8MM4UK6MHJS&dchild=1&keywords=tp+link+router+4g&qid=1634205625&refinements=p_89%3ATP-Link&rnid=1632651031&s=computers&sr=1-13&tag=amz07b-21
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I have a Smarty data only deal which I use with a Mifi device here in the UK. ( 50Gb for £12 a month *). I can use it in the EU at no extra charge , data just comes out of my allowance. No £2 a day charge. Up to 6 devices tethering. You don't actually need a MiFi as you can tether from your phone anyway.

Monthly contract, can stop any any time

If you go for this PM me as I can send you a referral link and we both get a free month.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Smarty:
12GB/month in EU.
T&Cs - standard 3:
"you are able to use our services for a maximum of 60 continuous days, after which we will suspend your services in line with clause 8.1 i) below."
Might just be long enough??
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@colinstone, Colinstone, thanks for that , I hadn't realised there was a 12Gb cap, though that should be more than enough for us when we are out there. Slightly sneaky, but I guess people will abuse it otherwise. Given that the 1 week signup for internet in our block is €25 , it's still pretty reasonable especially as I use it in the UK all the time.
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