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Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

Jersey, United...
Level Contributor
25 posts
65 reviews
19 helpful votes
Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

In answer to the many questions about prepaid 3G data for an iPad in France, I have just returned from a trip to France with a 3G iPad and the situation is actually very positive.

Use the SFR website (www.sfr.fr) to find your closest SFR shop (most towns have one) or Google for 'espace SFR [name of town]'.

Print off the following page from the SFR website before you travel (sfr.fr/mobile/…) which shows details of the prepaid iPad 3G data micro SIM.

All you need to do then is show the page to the sales person and point to what you need. Even if you speak French, it's a good idea to have proof that what you want actually exists!

What you want to buy is the 'Kit pret a surfer iPad' ('iPad ready to surf kit'). You will need photographic ID (which they will photocopy in the shop) and a local address (your French hotel address will be fine).

The SIM costs Euros 14.99 (at August 2011) and includes 3 days of 3G data. Ask the sales person to help you install the SIM and check that your data link is working. If you don't speak French, just pantomime what you need.

My SIM fired up immediately and automatically picked up the APN (this is the name of the network (for SFR it's: websfr) if you ever need to add it manually go to Settings, Cellular Data, APN Settings and enter it in the APN box. There is no username or password).

Top-ups are available on a time basis (i.e. per day) or on a volume of data basis (50Mbb 100Mb, 200Mb, 500Mb, 1Gb) Examples of the top-ups are shown at the bottom of the web page mentioned above and I strongly suggest that you buy what you need at the same time as buying your SIM.

You can, in theory, top up online via the SFR website but only with a French credit/debit card, hence my advice to buy your credits in advance at the SFR shop!

Top-ups are also available at newspaper shops (La Presse) and supermarkets. The top-up is just a paper receipt with a 10-digit number that you type in to your iPad.

I have documented my experiences with an iPad in France on my blog (http://blog.utting.org).

You can see how much prepaid credit is left on your iPad by going here: https:/…026_loginInfoConso.do

You can see how to add fresh prepaid credit to your iPad here: …utting.org/2011/08/06/ipad-in-france--the-f…

SFR's 3G service is widely available and, in conjunction with (often free) hotel and cafe wifi, there is no reason to be offline in France. In cafes, the wifi security code may be printed on your receipt, or just as for 'Le code pour le wifi' (pronounced 'weefee').

Happy prepaid surfing!

Nigel.

http://blog.utting.org

Highlands Ranch...
Level Contributor
1 post
6 reviews
4 helpful votes
1. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

Thank you for your timely information. We are heading out in 3 days for France and your info was exactly what I have been seeking about iPAD use and topping off the card.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
7,907 posts
21 reviews
15 helpful votes
2. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

This will help many iPad users!

United States
Level Contributor
3,134 posts
1 review
3 helpful votes
3. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

Great! Didn't use 3G during last trip but now happy will have opportunity in Dec. Thank you.

Riverdale, New York
Level Contributor
3 posts
12 reviews
19 helpful votes
4. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

NOTE: just back from Paris and tried the SFR store, and they told me that they no longer sell or support these cards, since they are "experiencing technical problems" with this service. Since I read that Orange may not offer these any longer (did not try), I went and got a card from a Bouygues store. Tee 10 Euros card got me unlimited data for two days- which is all I needed. They may have other cards, but I did not fully investigate. It worked well for my iPad and in my excellent MiFi (ZTE MF60), though not as fast as it did in London with a 1GB card from Three (3).

Also note - there was nowhere to buy a SIM card on Sunday (when I arrived).

Jersey, United...
Level Contributor
25 posts
65 reviews
19 helpful votes
5. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

Hi Ron,

Interesting update. When I asked for a 500mb topup for my SFR SIM they also told me that they were unavailable. When I asked why the ---- not, and threatened to go to Orange, a 500mb update suddenly became available! It would be a shame if the SFR iPad SIM were no longer on the market, but I'd be tempted to ask at a couple of other SFR shops just to check!

Nigel

Woonsocket
Level Contributor
2 posts
136 reviews
45 helpful votes
6. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

I'm in Paris now. Just bring your 3G iPad & passport to any Orange store. For 8€ they will give you a prepaid 100mb sim for your iPad and put it in for you. No passwords, etc...just turn on cell data and it works. I've been using it all over the city and on our trip out to Fontainebleau. Great service and fast. I will figure out how to recharge the card when I return in August...Orange store staff said to come in and they will help me do it. They did not need my address in Paris. As for the people on the Internet who say you can find free wifi all over the city...I wonder if they have been here before. I travel to Paris often and yes, the wifi in McDonalds is free and you will ocasionally find it free at a few cafés here and there, but it is something you have to actively search out. Why waste your time when you can just spend 8€ at the Orange store.

Virginia
Level Contributor
4 posts
32 reviews
25 helpful votes
7. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

This is brilliant and very much appreciated. Thank you.

Bob Burgess

Virginia
Level Contributor
4 posts
32 reviews
25 helpful votes
8. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

Thank you for this update. I will be in Paris next month for a week and will take your advice.

Virginia
Level Contributor
4 posts
32 reviews
25 helpful votes
9. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

BTW which Orange store did you receive such nice service, certainly not the one near St Madeleine.

Boston
1 post
10. Re: Prepaid French 3G micro-SIM for iPad - it's not a problem!

I just returned from Paris and had success with an SFR SIM basically along the lines of the original post. I went to an SFR store just north of the Luxembourg Gardens. They said they did not have the iPad SIM kit and I should go to a FNAC store which has an SFR store-in-a-store. This particular FNAC store is on Bd Saint-Germain (just west of intersection with Bd Saint-Michel) and can be found on the SFR store locator page. I asked for the "KIT PRÊT À SURFER IPAD" and they asked for 9.90 Euro and a passport - 10 minutes later I was out with a working connection. The SIM self configured in the iPad and it was as idiot-prood as you could hope. Reception was good everywhere I tried to use it.

I only used it for the three included days and did not try the reload although the person at FNAC said it was possible should I need to...