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SFR Vodafone Prepaid Mobile Internet

Whilst doing some research for the VeloNomad Overseas Prepaid Mobile Internet information page, I asked VeloNomad reader and lucky-SOB-living-in-France Gerry P if he could duck down to his local SFR (Vodafone France) shop to find out How to Get SFR Vodafone Prepaid Mobile Internet in France.

Basically I wanted to know whether he could post me a prepaid SIM card with data/internet access loaded so when I landed I had internet right away.

Gerry got back to me the next day with the following info. For those of you with iPhones and smartphones and who want unlimited internet on your phones whilst in France, here’s what you need if you want to use Vodafone.

Big thanks to Gerry for sussing this out how to get SFR Vodafone Prepaid Mobile Internet in France

How to Get SFR Vodafone Prepaid Mobile Internet in France

Ok, just left SFR and this is what they told me.

1. You need to get a ‘kit d’access’ when you arrive in France. It’s a SIM/phone number. This is 14.90 Euros.
2. At the same shop you’ll have to get a ‘recharge iPhone’, available from little vending machines in the shops. You can get 20 days for 24 euros, unlimited data plus 10 euros of calls. Then you’ll need to buy one for the extra 10 days to make one month, I guess.

I also asked if I could buy the card now but he told me that it is automatically activated.

Problems with the SFR prepaid data product

We used this particular SFR deal in 2010. Two people in our group got this working, but in my iPhone, the SIM card didn’t work (was corrupt).

Additionally, the recharge needs to be activated via calling a service centre and the service centre only speaks French.

So, contrary to what Gerry was told, you need to have the data activated – it is not automatically active (though this could change at any time).

Your best bet is to get the staff to help activate the data, however, some staff don’t even know about prepaid data.

In Oloron-St-Marie in 2010, only one of the staff knew about it, and only after I explained to him in English what had to happen. The store in St Gaudens where my friend had his activated, wrote a note in French for us to give to other stores. Even with this note, from one SFR employee to another, I still couldn’t get it activated, and even the store manager was clueless.

I also received this email from reader Steve whilst he was on the road in Paris, and I was in the Alps for Etape in 2011.

Hi Tim, Mate, just wondering if you have encountered any problems getting a data plan for an i-Phone 4 since you have arrived in France? We tried 3 stores in Paris and got told this plan did not exist!! If you have had a win could you please let us know! We MUST be doing something wrong, or we have been seduced with the Parisienne “charm”! Will try outside Paris, and will let you know, but look forward to any advice you may have!
Steve! Lies! They’re fibbing. Head to an Orange shop and get a Mobicarte SIM (prepaid) . Check the VeloNomad prepaid data page for instructions how to activate, I am using it right now!

As you can see above, some SFR staff aren’t aware the product exists! If you luck out, my advice is to head to an Orange store and get the Mobicarte solution, which works a treat.

There are also mentions that Vodafone/SFR coverage is patchy, though I experienced very good Vodafone coverage from Strasbourg, into Switzerland, all through the Alpes via Chamonix, down via Alpe D’Huez to Mont Ventoux and also in the Pyrenees around Oloron-Ste-Marie, Pau, the Tourmalet and so on.

Useful French for your shopping trip

So there you go. Land in France, find an SFR, tell them you need a prepaid access kit for your smartphone (in French “J’ai besoin d’un kit d’accès pour mon iphone” [or “smartphone”]) and then get an iPhone recharge from the in-store vending machines (which I’ve seen; they’re very easy to use).

If you need help with the buying of the recharge kit, say “J’ai besoin d’aide avec le kit de recharge internet pour mon iphone”.

Don’t forget to ask if anyone in the shop speaks English when you arrive, it’ll make all this much easier.

  • I need an access kit for my iPhone – “J’ai besoin d’un kit d’accès pour mon iphone”
  • I need some help with the internet recharge kit for my iPhone – “J’ai besoin d’aide avec le kit de recharge internet pour mon iphone”
  • Is there someone here who speaks English? – “Est ce qu’il ya quelqu’un ici qui parlent anglais?
  • Is there someone in the shop who speaks English? – “Est ce qu’il ya quelqu’un dans la boutique qui parle anglais?”

Alternative – Orange Mobicarte

Orange has a prepaid product called Mobicarte, which you can add data to and then enable unlimited internet called Internet Max. Read more about Orange Mobicarte Internet Max with unlimited monthly internet, including where to buy it.

You can get the Orange Mobicarte SIM from Mobipassport.

More Reading

You can see some of the other articles and other pages on this topic below.

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by Tim Marsh

Tim is an ex Melbournite now living near Byron Bay on 10 acres, happily growing mangos, avocados and lots of other stuff, with his wife Kate, son Arthur and adorable Golden Retriever, Whiskey (RIP our 1YO G/R Poppins :( ).

5 comments… add one

  1. I bought a SFR SIM to use for calls and SMS from a a Relay tabac terminal 2E when I landed at Paris CDG airport.

  2. Hi Martin
    Did you add data to it?


  3. No data Tim, SIM only used for SMS and calls. For internet I just used my netbook and free WiFi at my accommodation.

  4. Hi. How can i bye a number and sens me with post? Can anybody help me? I really need a french numer!!!

    1. Hi Nika, please contact me. I have a new product from a third party that will suit.
      I’ve emailed you separately, too.


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