After so many years with them glued to our ears, being stuck without your cell phone sucks. Pay phones are getting harder to find (plus, you’ll catch the herp), and pre-paid cell phones require a night of charging before they’re ready to go.
Looking out for forgetful travelers and those of us who just lose crap a lot, Orange France and Bic have partnered to create the Bic phone, a €49 (about $77) re-chargeable candybar phone preloaded with 60 minutes of talk time. And by 60 minutes, they mean 10 minutes – you don’t get the other 50 until you’ve registered the phone. Once your hour is burned up, you can re-juice via prepaid Mobicarte vouchers obtainable at any Orange retailer.
So, what’s Bic’s part in the deal? Are they making the phone? Nope – one of Alcatel’s manufacturers is. Are they distributing it? Nope – Orange is doing that. Bic is just lending their name to the handset. “It’s just a brand licensing agreement,” says Bic spokesperson Claire Gerard.
You know what comes to mind when I think of Bic? Lighters, pens, and other crap I throw away as soon as it stops working, which is exactly what people will do with these phones once their trip in France is over, or their 60 minutes is up. Re-chargeable or not, these phones became destined for the landfill as soon as they strapped the Bic name on it. Unless the phone is secretly made of soy beans and paper, that’s a lot of plastic and other material going to waste; Orange oughtta at least stuff a pre-paid envelope into the package for the sake of recycling.
Look for the Bic phone at News stands, airports, and in trash cans in France come September.