2012 – Paris
Call me crazy, but I went with an Orange Mobicarte because I was told the it is the only pay-as-you-go micro-SIM available for an iPhone. (Getting my iPhone unlocked by AT&T is another horror story waiting to be told – luckily for all of us there is an FCC). Needless to say, service was poor. Texting worked only sometimes, or not at all. And help was never available. So, once again. BEWARE of Orange Mobicarte.
2011 – Lyon
It is with a heavy heart that I find I must criticize something in France. We love to visit France and have met many very nice friends and have had many wonderful experiences. France Telecom’s Mobicarte is NOT one of them.
Instead, the Mobicarte system seems designed for what would be called in the USA “theft of services.” In fact, the entire company seems to breed a culture of theft, especially against those who are not fluent in French. When you go into any Orange store, the attendants are so poorly trained that almost every answer to any question you have is wrong (whether they speak English or not).
Here is a brief overview of my experience with Mobicarte:
In 2010, I brought an unlocked Google Android phone to France and bought a Mobicarte SIM card to allow me to make calls in France at local rates. In addition, I could use the Internet because the phone is a smartphone. I was told in the Orange Mobicarte store on the Grande Rue de la Croix-Rousse that my phone was setup properly and all was well. So, I bought 75 Euros of time for the rest of the trip. Overnight, France Telecom sucked all 75 Euros out of the phone because the phone registers itself on the Internet! The “technician” at the Orange store failed to tell me that for only 12 Euros per month, I could have had Internet “Illimitée” – essentially unlimited Internet access. By not telling me any of this, the good little employee (manager) of the store was able to steal 75 Euros from me. The word in French for thief is “voleur.”
After visiting 5 Orange stores in Lyon, I found one that had a person who could fix my situation and setup the Internet.
Fast-forward to 2011, June, in Lyon. As my Mobicarte number was still within the French system, I foolishly turned it back on… only to discover that the convoluted menu system would not allow me to turn on the Internet service. How crazy can they be? A lot crazy, evidently. Their system seems to have been designed in the 1950s by pickpockets. Oh, well. Next time, I’ll try SFR or one of the others.
France is a beautiful country… France Telecom is an ugly monolith that is helping to destroy France’s reputation across the globe, and especially with the English-speaking community.