Using your 3G iPad in France
So this past week, I was in France with my new iPad with 4G LTE. I was worried about getting 3G service beforehand due to a few threads I saw posted here. I've decided that after coming back, I would help out any future travellers who would want 3G service when visiting Paris. Just to let you know, thus applies to all AT&T iPad models and all new 4G models including Verizon and other carriers,
First of all, there are two major carriers in France: Orange and SFR. These two have plently of shops around Paris, so that won't be an issue. In my case, I went with SFR. I would recommend going with them since they seem to have the best deals and the most amount of stores in the Paris area. The one I went to was located on the Champ Ellysse's, about halfway down the street. Before you go, bring a print out of this page. It will help avoid asking for the wrong thing and a huge misunderstanding. Also bring a photo ID, such as a driver's license or passport along with a credit card or some cash. Your iPad is also necessary. When you go in, show the guy your printout paper and he will know what to do. After about 10 minutes of activation, your iPad will be set to use 3G in the entire country. Just to let you know, 2 days of a certain amount of 3G is included and additional days can be added on. I didn't want to go back to the store the entire week, so I added one of the data plans from the bottem left of the print out (mo is supposed to be mb). This extended the 2 days to a whole month and covered my data for the whole trip. When you get back to America, use the micro-SIM ejector tool included with your iPad or use the end of a paper clip. Place it in the small hole on the edge of the top left of the ipad and apply some pressure (don't worry, it won't break). Pop out the tray, pull out the SFR card, and place your old carrier card back in and restart. You should be good to go and it would be as if nothing happened.
- Absolutely print out the sheet. While they can speak English, they aren't the best and it can be a huge barrier
- You DO NOT need a French bank account/address. Some store personnell may tell you otherwise, but show them the paper again. It is not required for prepaid, which is exactly what the iPad is.
- Bring your Passport/Driver's License. While he said a photo ID, he mentioned those two in specific, so I would be safe with either of those two.
- A data plan includes free acces to all public SFR hotspots. You will recieve a notification (in French) including your password when one of these hotspots comes into range. I wasn't able to figure out where to enter it since the website was Frence, but hopefully you can decode it better than me.
- The SIM card with the 200mb data plan totaled to 25 or 35 euros, which is not bad by any means.
- If you choose to continuously recharge every 2 days, the number is only in French, so make sure you have a translater first! I know Orange has recharging booths around the city, but I'm not sure if English is available.
- I don't have any Orange info. available, so feel free to share if you would like.
- When connected back to the American network after changing the card back, it may take a few minutes to find a cell tower. Don't worry if it says searcing for a while. Just give it some time.
- Store your MicroSim card in a safe place. All of your wireless data information is on there and unless you want to deal with the carrier customer service, I'd recommend being carful with it to make sure you don't mess it up
I hope this helped those of you who needed some guidance with travel to France. If you need any clarifications or would like to add information, feel free to comment below. Also, sorry for the spelling/grammar errors. My flight landed a few hours ago so technically it's like 4 am in my head.