Finally I solved my Paris Internet Mobile 3G SIM cell phone nightmare poke my eyes out scream at my phone problem. It was remarkably easy, once I knew the magic trick, which I found on the site Pay as you go sim with data wiki (thanks Toby Ruckert – lunch is on me tomorrow.)
Here are the steps (as of 7/6/11) for an unlocked Android phone and a Gmail user.
1. Go to an Orange store. Ask for a Mobicarte. Do not explain anything. Do not show them your cell phone. Just buy a Mobicarte (it’s a SIM card that is Orange’s prepaid plan.) It’ll cost 9€. Then get some additional credits – I got €25 just because I never want to have to go to the Orange store again.
2. Go home and find yourself a safe place to do phone surgery.
3. Insert the SIM card into your phone and turn it on.
4. “Recharge” your phone. Mobicarte comes with 5€ but you need at least 12€ to activate Internet Max. It’s easy to recharge (since you bought the extra 25€). Go to the phone dialer and type #124*phone_number# where phone_number = the magic phone number on the Evoucher Web Services form they give you when you buy the extra credits.
5. Now you want to follow the instructions for Internet Max on the wiki I referred to earlier. The menu options had changed from the wiki – here are the ones I had.
6. Dial #123#
7. You get a startup menu showing the credit on your prepaid account. You need enough credit on your account to buy the data plan.
8. Choose 2=Menu
9. Choose 4=Vos bons plans
10. Choose 3=Votre multimedia
11. Choose 4=Option Internet Max
12. Now you get a description, choose 1=Suite
13. Then choose 1=Souscrire (Subscribe).
14. Finally, choose 1=Valider (Confirm).
15. Turn off your phone and wait a couple of hours. The instructions say two days, but everything seemed to be working fine about an hour later. Scream with delight as you surf the Internet from your phone while watching your email stream in.
16. To figure out your phone number, go to your SMS app. You’ll have a little txt that says something like “Bienvenue chez Orange, votre numero mobicarte est le your_phone_number” where your_phone_number will start with 06. To have someone call you from Skype, they merely type +336 and then the rest of the number. I have no idea how much phone calls actually cost, but I do know that I have free unlimited Internet for the month.
Now, these instructions are for an Android phone with Gmail. If you have an iPhone, or something else, I have no clue if this will work for you. And no, Google Voice will not work in France.