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johnwt1951 (Offline)
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Join Date: 13 Jan 2006
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Default Report on using Orange Mobicarte in France - 16-02-2009, 05:07

I've just spent 3 weeks in France. Lovely. Thanks to the info on these pages and elsewhere I purchased and used a prepaid Orange "mobicarte" - mainly for internet access from my iPhone. Here's a few observations from that experience to help others.

1. At the first Orange shop I went to in Paris the helpful and apparently well informed salesman was all apologetic that the Internet Max deal (9 Euro for 500 MB of data) doesn't apply to prepaid SIMs - only to long term contracts. Hmm! I re-read (and re-translated) all the info I had found and decided that I didn't agree! So I found another helpful salesman in another Orange shop. No problem! He sold me a Mobicarte for 30 Euro (with 5 Euro credit) and an extra 10 Euro credit and gave me all the advice and instruction I needed to get up and going.

2. Setting up Internet Max is easy. Dialling #123# lets you recharge with extra credit. Then you can work through the menu (in french) to purchase the internet max option. Wham - the 9 Euros disappears off your balance and you're ready to go!

3. I can't remember now but I don't think I had to tell my phone to use orange.fr as the APN. I think that happened automatically once I was on the Orange network.

4. Then I was surfing to my heart's content. Good 3G access in all the towns. Slower Edge access in the countryside. Great for maps and weather, etc, etc. Don't know what my total traffic would have been over the 3 weeks but reportedly the 500 MB is a "soft" limit anyway and is not strictly enforced except to prevent blatant abuse. Don't know if that's true.

5. Phone rates are not brilliant with the mobicarte but that wasn't its prime use.

6. What a shame that Apple has done dirty deals with the Telcos and won't allow Skype on their device. I did use the Skype web application "IM+ for Skype" quite a bit. This worked well but is not always cheap because you are paying for two Skype Out calls at once - OK if they are landlines but a bit Exy if they are both mobiles.

7. So Internet Max - great for internet. BUT BEWARE - HERE IS THE STING. The Orange salesman warned me that "email is expensive - better to use webmail (or equivalent) via internet". I didn't quite figure what he was saying. I was pulling email down manually and thought he was probably talking about the heavy use of push email so I wasn't too concerned .... but ... turns out there is a 10 MB limit on email under this internet max deal. After that, email starts eating phone credit. Worse than that, some correspondents report that all outgoing SMTP traffic is charged directly against the phone credit regardless of the 10 MB limit. In any event, email started eating my phone credit at a great rate.

8. No big deal. The safe option is to switch off email and use webmail (or equivalent) instead. Then you are home and hosed and can surf to your heart's content.

9. Validity of the mobicarte is an issue. Credit expires after a month or two depending on amount. I think there is also a 5 Euro per month minimum spend. Not a problem if you are using it continuously or for a short intense period but makes it no good for occasional intermittent use over several months.

10. Overall a good deal - especially for iPhone users or others wanting mobile internet.

I've got my "used" mobicarte (still with 9 Euros of credit) up for sale on ebay.com.au if anyone's interested.
   
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Tags
france, internet data, mobicarte, orange france

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