I am again in Paris, meeting my colleague and former Ph.D. advisor Prof. Matthieu Cord at Université Pierre et Marie Curie as part of our ongoing cooperation. And again I’m fighting to keep my iPhone alive without breaking the bank.
If you’ve read my previous post, you know that you can buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card from Orange Telecom called a Mobicarte. It is still available, and many of the previous considerations are still valid, but some things have changed, most of them not for the better.
First, the (big) bad news : the monthly Internet Max for 9€ is no longer available (as you remember, it offered “unlimited” web access for 30 days, actually capped at 500 MB). In its place you now have an Internet Max day pass for 2€, with a cap of 50 MB. Boy, that’s per day, almost seven times more expensive than the previous offer, and even per megabyte, it is more than twice as expensive. It is still, however, more than three times cheaper than the best roaming offer of Vivo Telecom (my Brazilian company), even considering that I have to amortize the price of the Mobicarte itself (about 9€, with 5€ worth of credit) — so I sucked it up and went for it.
Now for the (silver-liningish) good news: the option goes into effect immediately, it doesn’t take the 48h of the monthly pass, so for shorter trips it could potentially be more advantageous. But there is still that 24h delay for the SIM card ID registration to take place, before which options might be refused at all. And POP/SMTP/IMAP traffic is still not comprised on web traffic (be careful with that), so you still have to pay extra 6€ for the — monthly — Option Mail(*). And that option still takes 48h to activate.
It is just one big ugly mess.
The clearly good news is that the Mobicarte now comes in a double mini/micro-SIM format. It comes as a mini-SIM with a micro-SIM inset, and the micro-SIM can be easily detached by hand, so you no longer have to worry about SIM clippers or sharp kitchen knives.
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One day one phone company will say to its users : “You know what — let’s talk the truth — there’s an international holding that owns our operations in 95 countries. So, since, it makes no sense for us to charge from ourselves, we will give you free data roaming in any of those 95 countries. Just don’t get too crazy on the downloads, ok ?”
And then pigs will fly.
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(*) Alternatively you can go to the Settings App and select Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and then Fetch New Data. There you can Disable Push notifications and set data fetching to manual. Remember to go on the Advanced tab (in the end of the screen) and set everything to Manual as well, and that will probably prevent any unwanted POP/SMTP/IMAP traffic.