Low Cost Mobile Broadband in France – French Orange Mobicarte 3G SIM

After some years of using McDonalds Wifi and local Wifi hotstpots I have finally found a solution to the problem of getting low cost mobile broadband internet while travelling in France. Orange Mobicarte 3G Pay As You Go SIM. This is for mobile phone use but works well with a 3G USB dongle. Internet is available for 3 euros a day, 7 euros a week or 9 euros for a month. The internet package can be purchased from your mobile phone from a simple menu using existing phone credit.

I am using an unlocked Vodafone K3565 usb modem with a high gain 3g aerial. The modem has a connector for an aerial but it is hidden within the case. A little surgery is required to get access to the connector.  Unlocking the 3G USB dongle is straightforward and there is software available to manage the 3G connection which is independent of manufacturer or 3G network.  More details to follow.

Update – February 2012

Mobicarte Sim is working fine. Good coverage in the  South of France and along the Pyrenees. Sometimes need to use an aerial to boost the signal but never without a connection so far. Useful  information  –  the Orange France Mobicarte 3G settings.    APN : orange  User :  orange  Password : orange.  Seems easy enough but connection to the 3G service needs these exact settings  and much time can be wasted guessing the settings or following advice on Google!

Lets Go is the Sim for laptops and usb dongles. There is now an email service to register ID details with Orange France. This is faster and more reliable than the postal system. Usually takes two days to complete. Registration  must be completed before the top up can be added to the Sim.  Lets Go APN : orange.fr  User : orange  Password : orange

Mobicarte and Lets Go Sims can be purchased at Orange Boutiques all over France but if your French is not too good or you are overseas or just need to do it the easy way you can make a purchase here – http://www.thewifishop.net  The Sims ship direct  from France by Lettre Prioritaire. Orange France data top ups are available too.

Orange France 3G Network Coverage

SFR France 3G Network Coverage

Update June 2012

Lets Go Sims are great for travellers wanting 3G on the move in iPads and Tablet PCs, Mifi, USB Dongles and 3G Routers. Top up with Mobicarte vouchers is easy but does not give the best rate for data.

Orange France Lets Go Data Sim top up vouchers. 

One gig valid 7 days, two gig valid 30 days and 3 gig valid 6 months. Prices 10 euros, 20 euros and 35 euros. On sale in most tabacs in France or can be purchased online or by phone with a bank card issued in France.

Full details for Mobicarte vouchers  here

September 2012

With a big trip to France to follow the 2012 Tour de France, we needed to sim cards for two iphones and an ipad. I had lots of questions and David from thewifishop.net was there to answer each one in great detail. Our sim cards arrived in Australia after only 4 days of ordering online. We chose to have them activated and registered so we would be ready to hit the ground running in France.
During our trip we had difficulty in a remote location getting a top up. David was quick to answer our cry for help on email and had us a new mobicarte code within hours.  When we had issues with a borrowed usb sim, even though we didn’t buy from thewifishop.net, David was there to help us out.
If you are considering traveling in France and need anything from  thewifishop.net then you would be mad to buy anywhere else. The service is exceptional.

Tony Laughton

Big thank you to Tony Laughton for this information.

Using  Microsoft Outlook with Orange France

All webmail eg gmail, hotmail is fine with Orange France 3G   but there is some set up needed to use Outlook.  It is necessary to to change your SMTP server to smtp.orange.fr  and use SMTP port 25 to be able to send emails.

April 2013  Top up Orange France Mobicarte Sim

Top up for the Mobicarte Sim is with vouchers from Supermarkets ,Tabacs and other outlets in France.   In Supermarkets the top up vouchers are usually on racks near the tills as you leave the store. Values run from 5 euros up to 100 euros. Each voucher has a 14 digit code – this iis the code to enter into the top up menu on your phone or with a call to 224. There are several codes and numbers on the voucher which looks like a till receipt. The one you need is 14 digits long and usually a little bigger font than the others.  You can use an International Bank Card in Supermarkets, Tabacs and other outlets in France but not to top up online with Orange France. For online top up you need a Bank Card issued in France.

There are three ways to add the top up credit to your Mobicarte Sim  –

1. Call #123# from your phone. This gets into the Orange France menu system. Look for recharge and put in the 14 digit voucher code. This is the easiest way to top up. No need to be in France – the menu system works worldwide.

2. Call 224 from your phone choose Option 2 Mobicarte and enter the 14 digti top up code. The phone call is in French but topping up is easy to do.

3. Online top on the orange.fr website. This needs a Bank Card issued in France. International Cards will not work. The website is not easy to use even for native French speakers.

Orange France Online Top Up for Mobicarte and Lets Go Sims

Top up  Orange France Mobicarte and Lets Go Sims  online with a bank card issued in France using this link – http://mobile-shop.orange.fr/rechargement

Orange France Lets Go Top Up Vouchers.

Currently there are 3 values – 10 euros gives 1 gig valid 7 days,  20 euros for 2 gig valid for one month and 35 euros for 3 gig valid for 6 months. The vouchers are long dated – well into 2015.

Orange France Lets Go top up vouchers are on sale in most Tabacs in France. The credit goes on with a phone call to Orange France from a French landline or mobile.

Easy Top Up for  Orange France Lets Go Sims  here

Use this code   sim125  for 25% off Sim cards and top ups from The Wifi Shop. Next 5 purchases only so be quick!

June 2014

Rates for Data on Orange France  Mobicarte Mobile Phone Sim 

Purchase from phone menu –

  • 1 day   0.90 Euros  10mb
  • 1 day   2.00 Euros  50mb

Buy Vouchers

  •  7 days     5 Euros    150mb
  • 14 days  10 Euros   500mb

 Update 27 July 2015

New rates for data for prepay/pay as you go on Orange France Lets Go and Pret a Surfer Sim cards – 10 euros for 1 gig valid 14 days, 25 euros for 3 gig valid one month and 40 euros for 5 gig valid 6 months. The new top ups are available online and at Orange France boutiques.


15 Responses to “Low Cost Mobile Broadband in France – French Orange Mobicarte 3G SIM”

  1. joanne Says:

    Hi, Can you let me know the website “to register ID details with Orange France” Thank you

  2. Subway man Says:

    You have saved my life! (or at least my wallet!). I’m travelling to sort out my brothers estate in France after he died. Nightmare time. So far used over £100 in roamed data costs. Now have Orange Let’s Go SIM in my MiFi with your settings and works perfectly! Thank you SO much!

  3. Liam Says:

    I can not tell you enough how thankful I am for this article!!! Had so much trouble trying to get my internet working with the Orange France Mobicarte! Merci beaucoup!!

  4. Roger Says:

    well…my experience has not been quite so good. i bought the pass from an orange boutique for use in my huawei mifi device and couldn’t get it to work. they didn’t give me the phone number or password and i had to go to another orange shop to get that. I asked them for help for the apn etc but they said they did not have the technical expertise. at that point i must admit i gave up. the whole thing was too much of a struggle. very disappointed in the level of orange information and support even allowing for the language barrier. I would suggest if you buy one make absolutely sure it works before you leave the shop. If they can’t help you – don’t buy it!!

  5. how to get 3g in france - Page 2 Says:

    […] […]

  6. Dave Says:

    I too purchased a Lets Go prepaid SIM card from an Orange Boutique in Caen but unlike Roger I had no problem activating it. The difference I think was that I put mine in an unlocked Android Smartphone and less than 12 hrs later received a text saying the the card was activated. I used the phone as a Wifi Hotspot without problems. The APN was automatically sent to my phone by Orange. To Use it in a dongle or MiFi requires Generic Huawei software that allows manual input of the APN data. On my phone the APN is “orange” User Name is “orange” and Password is “orange”. (All lower case without the ” marks). I haven’t topped it up yet (that’s February’s Problem!) but if I have difficulties finding or using a “Recharge Lets Go” card I will post again.
    If you visit Portugal the process couldn’t be easiert. Walk into a Vodafone agency, purchase a prepaid Data SIM (At the back of their catalogue) for 14.90euro for 1Gb valid 30 days. If you want to top up register an account with Vodafone Pt and you can then use any credit card to top up. No ID, No Portuguese credit card or bank account required. Other networks also do similar deals eg Optimus Kanguru 1GB SIM 14.90euro and most staff speak good English as well!

  7. oneeyeddog Says:

    Ask David at The Wifi Shop about topping up your Lets Go Sim with a Carte Bleu. He is always ready to help with 3G and Wifi problems.
    Email – david@thewifishop.net

  8. One Eyed Dog Says:

    For information about setting up and using Orange France Mobicarte and Lets Go Sims ask david@thewifishop.net

  9. Eric Says:

    The Orange Mobicarte will not work in all dongles. I tried it an unlocked Vodafone dongle (Huwaei) and although I could enter the correct APN etc I got a message from Orange telling me it’s use was blocked. Same thing happened when I tried in Orange mifi but it worked fine in my phone.

    I’m going back to France in a couple of weeks and hope it will work in my Nexus tablet. Such a pain having to keep swapping the SIM card in my phone.

  10. oneeyeddog Says:

    You need a Lets Go Sim for your tablet. Mobicarte Sims are liable to blocking when used in a tablet, dongle or mifi router

    • Eric Says:

      Back in France and have topped up my Mobicarte and chopped it down to fit my Nexus. So far, so good as is working well. Have also heard Let’s Go is a better choice but come on Orange France, why be so bloody difficult? What’s it to you what I choose to do with the SIM. I’ve paid you for the data. Why be so awkward about letting me use it and don’t even get me started on the POP email surcharge.

  11. graham Says:

    Its A mess I got a 3g usb broadband.. the instructions were a joke
    I had to reinstall 3 times then I had a access point , which was not documentmented as to what that name may be and APN does not work
    its very simple stuff to get a 3g usb device to go. how ever if you do not provide the details in the box its guess work for every one

  12. iPhoneTrip Reviews? - Page 19 - FlyerTalk Forums Says:

    […] You could try popping into an Orange store and getting a Lets Go SIM for 8 Euro and either a 10 or 20 Euro top up that gives you either 1 GB in 7 days or 2 GB in 30 days: https://oneeyeddog.wordpress.com/2011…arte-payg-sim/ […]

    • oneeyeddog Says:

      ok if you are near a store, it is open, they have stock of sims and top ups, they know how to get the sims to work, you speak French etc.I have experienced the wrong side of these issues at Orange France boutiques all over France. The staff are friendly and polite but…..

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