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Advice needed - French data only sim cards

(9 Posts)
MisguidedAngel Sun 09-Apr-17 13:11:53

I am way behind the times when it comes to phones/tablets etc. I live in France and speak French quite well, but since I can't even understand English websites about this sort of thing, I'm lost here.

I have just acquired a mini ipad. I only want it for one thing - to get weather forecasts and emails when I'm out in my boat (I understand this is only possible within mobile phone range). I've been told I need a data only sim card and that I need to get the sim inserted and activated by the supplier.

Any advice? In very simple language please!

tribpot Sun 09-Apr-17 13:23:53

Do you already have a mobile phone that can do data? If yes, you would use the phone's data signal rather than putting a SIM in the iPad.

Assuming no, you would need to buy a SIM card of the right size for the model of iPad you have, details here. It sounds like the easiest option is an Apple SIM, which you can have fitted at a genius bar but otherwise you can insert the card yourself, it's not difficult. The only question is which network has the best coverage for where you want to use it. I'm not sure how great the data coverage is going to be away from land, I would not expect it to be as good as voice coverage - so being able to make a voice call doesn't mean you would have data coverage. You would be better asking some fellow sailors for advice about what network they use.

Janek Sun 09-Apr-17 13:34:50

I agree with Tribpot that if you already have a smartphone with data then turn on your phone's 'hotspot' and connect your iPad's wifi to it (you need to set a password on the phone which you then enter into the iPad).

MisguidedAngel Sun 09-Apr-17 16:15:22

No, I don't have a smart phone. Thanks for the suggestion of an Apple sim, I'll research that - but please, what is a genius bar? I have a horrid feeling that there aren't any here in rural Brittany. re inserting it myself, doesn't the whole thing need setting up after the insertion? My daughter, who unfortunately doesn't live here, told me to get someone else to do it, and she does know me quite well ... But maybe I should woman up.

tribpot Sun 09-Apr-17 17:15:50

A genius bar is the name of an Apple store. Have a look for your nearest one here.

There's no set up as such. You buy a SIM from Apple, a phone company, a supermarket or wherever, and you put it in. If you buy a pay-as-you-go SIM you'll need to set up an account online to manage the SIM (i.e. put more credit on it). If you have it on a contract, I don't think there's anything to do. In either case you wait for it to register itself on the network and that's about it.

I'm sure if you wanted to you could buy a SIM in a phone shop and ask them to insert it for you, and go through the registration steps there and then.

I can't think of any setup that's needed on the iPad itself to recognise and use the SIM. I bought my last phone and SIM separately and I just put the SIM in and that was that.

MisguidedAngel Mon 10-Apr-17 17:25:56

Thanks for your advice and explanations, and for your patience with the technically challenged. There isn't an Apple store anywhere near me, but I'll go to the Orange boutique and get a sim there. I already have a contract with them for internet and phone line.

Janek Tue 11-Apr-17 07:44:05

Are you sure you need a sim - my uncle has an account with sfr for phone and internet at home and when he is out and about he can use some kind of wifi by logging in to his sfr account - could it be that orange do the same?

MisguidedAngel Fri 14-Apr-17 08:11:53

JaneK thanks for your comment. It's true about the wifi, but we want to use it out on our boat, no wifi but within reach of a mobile phone signal, hence the need for a sim. All sorted now.

Tribpot I went to the Orange boutique yesterday, was very happy with the service and came away with a sim and a contract "sans engagement" at €9.99 a month. This may not be the cheapest option, but I'm happy. We can cancel at any time, which is perfect because we spend five months a year in Spain, where we won't need it. We have to pay 12 months a year for our land line and internet at home, so this is a result. Your encouragement helped a lot.

tribpot Fri 14-Apr-17 09:22:09

Great stuff MisguidedAngel, glad you were able to get it sorted.

Incidentally, at some point an Apple SIM might be a good bet for you as it allows for very simple roaming, might be good if you find you want to use the iPad in Spain.

Hope you have fun on the boat!

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