Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 31 seconds
How to set up Orange MobiCarte Internet Max
Back in 2011, I road tested an Orange Mobicarte Internet Max. Mobicarte is a prepaid SIM to which you can add unlimited internet which is called Internet Max.
Getting unlimited prepaid internet on your smartphone is not hard. You just get a prepaid Orange SIM (called Mobicarte), then add some data to it.
- Orange’s prepaid service is called Mobicarte. For 9.90€ you get a SIM card with 5€ of credit. Deals may vary throughout France and online.
- You need to purchase credit (available in many supermarkets), I suggest buying 2 x 10€ of credit.
- Add 1 month of unlimited internet for another 9€ under their InternetMax plan (Australian telcos are you taking notice?) – instructions below.
- If you want native email (for example Mail.app on the iPhone) you need to add email for another 9€ a month.
Note: the daily and weekly Mobicarte Internet Max plans are no longer available on prepaid.
But before you do…
Before you put the SIM in your phone, the first thing to do is to disable 3G and/or data use. Especially if you have an iPhone or other smartphone, your phone may quickly start sucking the credits out of your account at 50 cents/minute while you are setting up your data plan. After disabling data and putting in the SIM, the best way of activating the Internet Max option is by dialing #123# and using the written menu system. It’s all in French, so can be a bit difficult to get through. As of late April 2011, these are the steps to go through:
- Dial #123#
- You get a startup menu showing the credit on your prepaid account. You need enough credit on your account to buy the data plan.
- Choose 2=Menu
- Choose 4=Vos bons plans
- Choose 4=Votre multimedia
- Choose 6=Suite (Next) a couple of times until you see Option Internet Max
- Choose Option Internet Max
- Now you get a description, choose 1=Suite
- Then choose 1=Souscrire (Subscribe).
- Finally, choose 1=Valider (Confirm).
- That should be it. Officially the option may take 48 hours to come into effect, however in reality it can take 3 hours and maybe even less.
Things to watch out for and be aware of
- You MUST disable 3G/data roaming BEFORE putting the SIM in to prevent your credit being used. This happened to me in 2009. I put a Mobiecarte SIM in, sent one Tweet on Twitter, boom, credit gone.
- Internet Max doesn’t include the use of email protocols (SMTP, POP, IMAP). Mail.app on iPhone uses IMAP/POP3, so if you want to use native email, you’ll need to subscribe to “Option Mail” for email (otherwise use Safari to access gmail) which is 9€ a month. Android’s Gmail app uses http, so, you’re sweet.
- MAKE SURE YOUR PHONE IS UNLOCKED FROM YOUR LOCAL NETWORK! (Yes, I had to yell).
- Before going crazy on the internet after subscribing to Internet Max, send a few tweets, or an email, then check your remaining credit. If it has gone down, then the Internet Max Option has not been enabled, so wait a day. If you are able to use Twitter, http email and so on, without depleting your prepaid credit balance, you should be good to go!
- The exact menu system may change from month to month, but you will be able to work it out.
The screen shots below show you what to expect when subscribing to Option Internet Max. The subscription and recharge process is SMS based – you send sms’s and the menu system changes. “Accueil” means welcome literally, but “Home” in the sense of this menu. “Precedent” means previous page.
Recharging is easy. You just dial #123# and recharge with the 14 digit pin on the recharge slip.
If you see the below screen, choose number 1.
Now you’ll enter your recharge code (14 digits).
Where to Get Mobicarte
Before you leave
You can get a Mobicarte Prepaid Data SIM before you leave, loaded with some credit, from the MobiPassport website.
You can also get them on ebay, but be aware that there is a lot of rubbish floating around and it may not work when you arrive.
If you get one from MobiPassport you can be sure they’ll work and be ready to go.
When you arrive
Your best bet when you arrive is to get a Mobicarte Prepaid SIM in-store, then buy some credit and activate it per the steps above.
How to Enable Tethering on iPhone on Orange Mobicarte
VeloNomad reader, coding warrior ninja and all round nice guy Ben, has informed me that tethering on Orange is some sort of nightmare. I confirmed this on my trip in 2011.
Since I am going to want tethering, rather than schlepp around at McDonalds and free Wi-Fi in order to bring you my uber-hilarious video upgrades, I starting doing some sniffing around on how to enable tethering on Orange France; here’s what I found.
- Easy Way: On your iPhone, AFTER enabling internet, navigate to http://tetheringiphone.blackra1n.org/help (via http://blackra1n.org/enable-tethering/). You will be able to choose a MobileConfig file which will enable tethering. If you choose to create your own MobileConfig (this will make sense once you’re on the site on your phone), choose apn = internet, password = password, username = iphone.
- Hard Way: this is only for those who know what they’re doing. Check this post and this post out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I followed these instructions and modified the files but won’t be able to test until I get to France.
The easiest way is probably using the BlackRa1n hack. Be warned it may screw with tethering on your phone or other settings. I tried it for myself, and it made my data connection via the Mobicarte SIM go completely haywire (“No data connection”) which resolved itself of its own accord 1 day later.
Following any of the instructions in the links in this post may invalidate your phone warranty or the data contract. I take zero responsibility for this (I can’t believe I have to say that but I do). If you hack your iPhone or phone via any of the methods above and something goes wrong, it’s totally your responsibility. Cool? Cool!
Make sure you try tethering first. Hacking your phone is a last resort.
More Information on Mobicarte
There are some great pages on Orange’s prepaid mobile internet below:
- Awesome Wiki that shows you EXACTLY what to buy, and how to activate, to get prepaid mobile internet in France.
- Info page for Orange Prepaid Mobile Internet
- Internet Options – click bottom far right panel, then “Mes Bons Plan Mobicarte” – you will need an account in order to subscribe to Internet from here (Orange France official site, in French)
The awesome thing about Orange is you can top up your prepaid SIM with enough credit for Internet, THEN activate it from your phone.
The very excellent Gerry P (check his blog out here) gave me the below info.
Orange FR English help line: 09 69 36 39 00
It’s charged per minute and usually there is a substantial queue to actually talk to someone, but it could be helpful if anyone is having trouble.
The VeloNomad Overseas Mobile Prepaid Information Page has lots more information on Spain, France, Italy and other places.
Note, much of the information in this article is for iPhones because I have an iPhone. If anyone out there has Android info, please email it to me and I’ll add it in. Or, drop it in the comments.
Please note this article was originally written mid 2011, so some of the menu items may have changed.
Wrap Up and More Reading on Overseas Prepaid Internet
Orange France is the easiest and most pain free way to get internet and email on your phone for about €27 for a month.
You can see some of the other articles and other pages on this topic below:
- Overseas prepaid mobile internet information page
- Prepaid mobile internet in France
- SFR Vodafone prepaid mobile internet in France
- Prepaid 3G Internet with Orange Mobicarte
- How to set up Orange Mobicarte Internet Max
- How to avoid a data roaming bill
- How to save money on mobile roaming
- Australian data roaming cap plans
- Mobipassport prepaid internet SIM review
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