Foreign mSims to avoid roaming charges

jonthegeologist

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 8, 2008
58
3
I'm thinking of buying an iPad when they come out in the UK in a few days time. Question is though, when I travel, can I simply get a free mSim in the new country and buy a day or month of data? Would I have to had a credit card from that country or could I use my own?

I travel mostly to the US and to France.
 

Blorzoga

macrumors 68030
May 21, 2010
2,555
65
Using other company's sims

That is a question I have been trying to get an answer to for months. Apple always refers to the iPad as being "unlocked" yet AT&T offers international roaming rates. Logically, one would think that you could simply obtain a mini sim from the provider that has contracted with apple and drop it in you iPad and then be prompted to purchase a month of 3G the same way you are in the us. I hope this is the case but I have not been able to get a definitive answer from apple. I guess we'll have to wait until the international release and see the contracts available from whatever carrier apple works with over there.
 

Blorzoga

macrumors 68030
May 21, 2010
2,555
65
Uk plans

I just checked out the apple uk site and it refers to three carriers that offer iPad plans. Unlike AT&T, orange and o2 actually offer daily rates which I wish AT&T had. Being able to take your iPad out and have 3G access for a day at a a time would be perfect. It would appear that you should be able to get a microsim from one of these carriers and buy their plans while traveling as long as the frequency matches.
 

jonthegeologist

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 8, 2008
58
3
It would appear that you should be able to get a microsim from one of these carriers and buy their plans while traveling as long as the frequency matches.
That's right, but when I'm traveling, I want to use a local mSim since it'll be a lot lot cheaper in data. In the US that means AT&T, in France it'll mean Orange or SFR.

Can I do that? Grab a free Sim, enter credit details and surf?
 

pjgeer

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2007
96
0
Has anyone confirmed that AT&T is going to allow foreign Credit Cards (payment) to buy data allotments while using an AT&T micro sim, what will the cost of the the micro sim be? I heard a replacement micro sim is $15. I really want to know this before I get the 3G vs the Wifi model.

I know that Rogers is charging $10 for a micro Sim here in Canada, but it is 0.20 if added to your iPad for on-line purchase with Apple.

Pj
 

AlecEdworthy

macrumors 6502
May 1, 2007
337
73
Leicestershire, UK
Has anyone confirmed that AT&T is going to allow foreign Credit Cards (payment) to buy data allotments while using an AT&T micro sim, what will the cost of the the micro sim be?
From the sounds of it AT&T are insisting on a US credit card and US billing address. The solution some people have found is to use a pre-paid Mastercard (usually cost face value plus 2.5% or so) and then enter the billing address as the hotel you're staying at (or a friend's address etc). You do however raise an interesting question... How does one get one's hands upon an AT&T micro-SIM card suitable for iPad use and what will the cost be. I do hope someone can answer this question and it turns out to be easily and cheaply.

EDIT: AT&T are selling replacement cards for $15 with free 2 day shipping, no idea if you can order with a foreign credit card though. There are sellers on eBay selling them for $25 (around £18) too.

As for people visiting the UK, from the looks of it the O2 micro-SIM cards will be free (from an O2 store) and you can sign-up on the iPad itself (this is O2 only in the UK) so hopefully visitors to the UK will be able to get their hands on a SIM card and make use of it over here (personally I think O2 would be stupid NOT to permit this). Orange also seem to be making their SIM cards available for free, but you cannot sign-up on the iPad itself and last time I checked you needed to give bank account details (so not so visitor friendly).

Alec
 

jonthegeologist

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 8, 2008
58
3
EDIT: AT&T are selling replacement cards for $15 with free 2 day shipping, no idea if you can order with a foreign credit card though. There are sellers on eBay selling them for $25 (around £18) too.

Alec
Ok, that's clear-ish! Still not sure if I can buy and charge an AT&T card with my UK credit card -- I'll contact AT&T and see.

As for the UK, yes, visitors here can get a free mSim from O2 stores and charge that. Again, unsure if it'll let you use non-UK cards. I'll check that.

Finally, France. Still not much further forward here. Two providers (Orange, SFR) and I think SFR are the ones to go for, but can't be sure how to get hold of a mSim and how to charge it.
 

macmedal

macrumors regular
May 17, 2008
185
17
Britannia
This from the UK Apple Website:

Can I use my iPad while traveling outside the country?
You can connect to Wi-Fi hotspots anywhere in the world. For 3G service, purchase a micro-SIM card and service from a local carrier at your destination, or check with your home carrier regarding international 3G usage.
Yet AT&T seem to be making it as difficult as possible for Visitors to the US to do just that :mad:
 

Pring

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2003
310
0
Finally, France. Still not much further forward here. Two providers (Orange, SFR) and I think SFR are the ones to go for, but can't be sure how to get hold of a mSim and how to charge it.
I'm struggling with that too. SFR seem to be the only ones that provide pre-paid SIMs (3 days for 10 euros, not bad. Apparently 75meg/day cap though) but the website requires French ID to order one.

Presumably they'll have them in stores too and you can get it without an ID? Or do they always require ID to get one?
 

jonthegeologist

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 8, 2008
58
3
You do realize that there is a such thing as a Mini-SIM and a Micro-SIM, so when you say mSim that you are not really specifying an actual product?
Brand, fair point, I had thought mSim was the universal abbreviation for micro-Sim. Either way, we're in an iPad forum section so I hope it was clear we were talking micro-Sims here.

Very frustrating thread. It just seems that the networks are just not that keen on selling mSims to customers for iPads.

I have written to SFR to ask them about ID/French credit cards.
 

brand

macrumors 601
Oct 3, 2006
4,363
395
127.0.0.1
Very frustrating thread. It just seems that the networks are just not that keen on selling mSims to customers for iPads.

I have written to SFR to ask them about ID/French credit cards.
You could always get a Mini-SIM and trim it down to the size of a Micro-SIM. I think this would work, especially since you will be using as a disposable SIM.
 

Cartaphilus

macrumors 6502a
Dec 24, 2007
569
36
Brand, fair point, I had thought mSim was the universal abbreviation for micro-Sim. Either way, we're in an iPad forum section so I hope it was clear we were talking micro-Sims here.

Very frustrating thread. It just seems that the networks are just not that keen on selling mSims to customers for iPads.

I have written to SFR to ask them about ID/French credit cards.
I'm leaving for France at the end of June and will be there for a month with my iPad. I would really appreciate it if you would post the results of your inquiry to SFR.

I looked at the Orange.fr page, and it seems you can buy 2 Gig for €39, and a micro-sim for €1. I was thinking about just walking into an Orange store, but maybe ordering is better? If they require French ID or an chipped credit card, though, it would obviously make things a lot more complicated for me as well. Maybe I'll try an email to Orange or call them. If I learn anything meaningful I'll post it here.
 

John Paul

macrumors member
May 10, 2010
97
0
Washington DC
Ignorant question here but...how does one open up the iPad to replace the card? I haven't tried looking for an opening mechanism but after using my iPad for about two weeks now I can't recall seeing any really obvious way to open it up.

Plus I would imagine that opening it would void the warranty (and AppleCare as well), no?
 

cmaier

macrumors G5
Jul 25, 2007
14,064
8,544
California
Ignorant question here but...how does one open up the iPad to replace the card? I haven't tried looking for an opening mechanism but after using my iPad for about two weeks now I can't recall seeing any really obvious way to open it up.

Plus I would imagine that opening it would void the warranty (and AppleCare as well), no?
Stick a paperclip in the hole.
 

Pring

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2003
310
0
I got a friend to send me an SFR SIM from France but I'm a little worried by something. In the package was this envelope asking me to send in French ID and proof of address within 15 days of 'activation' or they'd cancel the account.

I'm not sure if the SIM was activated when bought or how they time the '15 days'. Obviously I can't send the ID in as I don't have French ID and, annoyingly, it's still 15 days till I go on holiday! So I guess they may have cut me off by then.

It remains to be seen whether it'd actually work if you buy it from store and immediately use it... I would've thought someone would have tried that out by now.
 

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jonthegeologist

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 8, 2008
58
3
If you're off in 15 days, maybe you can test this for us? If it doesn't work, pop in to a store?

I'm on holiday to France in 6 weeks time so would like to know my best plan of action!

J
 

jhanlon

macrumors member
Dec 3, 2008
37
0
In the package was this envelope asking me to send in French ID and proof of address within 15 days of 'activation' or they'd cancel the account.
The form does not actually say that the address reported has to be a FRENCH address. (It assumes that because it is, after all, a French company and a product sold/used in France.
 

mgabe

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2010
5
0
I'm leaving for France at the end of June and will be there for a month with my iPad. I would really appreciate it if you would post the results of your inquiry to SFR.

I looked at the Orange.fr page, and it seems you can buy 2 Gig for €39, and a micro-sim for €1. I was thinking about just walking into an Orange store, but maybe ordering is better? If they require French ID or an chipped credit card, though, it would obviously make things a lot more complicated for me as well. Maybe I'll try an email to Orange or call them. If I learn anything meaningful I'll post it here.

Will be going to southern France in October and would greatly appreciate any information regarding connectivity via Orange. Thus far, haven't been able to get a clear answer!

Thanks in advance!
 

Pring

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2003
310
0
I was able to walk into an SFR shop and pick up an iPad 3 day prepaid SIM. The guy took my UK Driving License as ID but had to type in some fake details such as postcode on their system. I'm not sure if he's meant to do that or if he was just happy to bend the rules but either way I walked out with a SIM and it worked fine.