Roaming in France with an iPad

Discussion in 'iPad' started by the-manxman, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. the-manxman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    #1
    For a while, I've been toying with getting an iPad for use when I'm out and about instead of my MacBook Air. I regularly travel to France, and I'm wondering how I would use my iPad there without paying huge data roaming charges to my home operator.

    With the Air, I simply purchased a French 3G dongle and SIM without a contract, and buy internet access as and when I need it. French mobile operators charge for PAYG 3G in a completely different way to their UK counterparts: instead of buying an allowance of a certain number of MB that you can use over 24 hours or 30 days, you buy a certain amount of time online that you can use over 15 days.

    How on earth would this work with an iPad, which has push email and on which you are in effect permanently connected instead of manually dialling up? And which of the French networks allow the purchase of a microsim without contract, for which data can subsequently be bought? Any French nationals or regular business visitors to the country able to help with this?
     
  2. Cartaphilus macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #3
    If you know someone who will let you use his French credit card you can take advantage of the very reasonable pay-as-you-go plans you'll see on the SFR website poloponies directed you to. If you don't have a French credit card, though, your only option is the 24 hour pass from SFR (none of the other carriers has a comparable plan) which allows you up to 250 meg of data usage. This plan costs nine euros for the first one (which includes the micro-SIM card) and six euros for each additional pass. The store personnel will install the SIM card for you and do the initial activation, but to use the next pass you call a toll-free number and when prompted enter the number for the SIM card and the code printed on your pass. If you're not comfortable in French, you'll probably need someone to help you, or I'm sure that during off-peak hours someone at the SFR store would do it for you.

    Once you're on the cell network, your iPad will work just as it does at home, and email will push just fine. I would suggest you set it for Manual though, to conserve your limited--and expensive--data.

    As you probably know, wifi is widely available for free in France, so I found myself using the passes only when traveling, which made them a practical solution for me.

    Bon voyage!
     
  3. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    It may be expensive, but as someone that travels with his iPad a lot. I can say that the most convenient thing is to by the AT&T roaming data.

    You pay more but its simple and sometimes simplicity trumps economy.

    I have traveled in the UK, Germany, Canada and Mexico thus far. No issues, no setup, no popping in different SIMs etc.
     
  4. poloponies macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #5
    Unless you can expense it or your employer is paying for it, AT&T roaming makes little sense. Popping in a SIM is not that big a deal and will save lots of $$ in the long run.
     
  5. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    No doubt it saves money i was just making the simplicity point and yes I pay for it myself :)
     
  6. JonboyDC macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    #7
    Here's a post from earlier this summer describing my experience with using my iPad in France via SFR. The short story is that coming from the U.S., without a French bank account, I could only get fairly expensive prepaid service. With a French bank account, I could have gotten much more affordable pay-as-you-go service.
     

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