APN Issues While Travelling
May 23, 2011
It is dead simple to jailbreak your iPhone, which allows you to install whatever you like and if you haven't updated your phone with iTunes ever, you may also be able to unlock your iPhone as well which allows you to use it with any carrier.
Recently while on vacation in France I purchased a full sized SIM card from Bouygues Telecom and that worked well for me but their pay as you go plan drained my 25 euro credit within a day in my old iPhone 3G because we were using Google Maps to navigate. So by the time I trimmed down the SIM card to fit as a MicroSIM for my iPhone 4 it was useless.
Since the credit was all used up and their data was far to expensive, I wasn't attached to them and found Orange France I jumped ship. For roughly 8-10 euro you get a SIM or MicroSIM with 5 euro worth of credit on it. You can add more as you see fit. The next step of the process is once Orange verifies you're human (roughly 24-72 hours after you sign up) you can set up the Internet Max plan for 1 month of Internet access for 9 euro. That plan gives you "unlimited" internet up to 500MB which for our two-week visit is more than enough, even if I want to tether.
So, I loaded up my SIM with 25 euro, plus the 5 that came with the card and a bonus 5 for buying 5 so I had 35 euro to last me until I was identified as a human in their system. During this time my internet should have been working an apparently it was sending requests out because my completely depleted again within a day, even though I never successfully viewed a map/tweet/site/email on the device.
I followed the instructions the helpful Orange attendant wrote down for me to register for the Internet Max plan roughly 24 hours after I bought the credit (the last steps of the process won't work if you're not "a human" yet").
- Call #123#
- Reply with 2 (Menu) Reply
- 4 (vos bon plans) Reply
- 4 (votre multimedia) Reply
- 6 (Suite [Next]) Reply
- 3 (option Internet Max) Reply
- 1 (Suite)
- 1 (Souscrire)
- 1 (Valider)
- I can't remember what happened after that but basically, just continue until you're done. At this point you'll either have the plan added or it will say it can't yet.
Once I was pretty sure my Internet Max plan was added, my phone still wasn't working so I knew from previous travels that my problem was the APN settings. Access Point Names on cellular phones tell the phone where to direct traffic to connect to the internet. By default they're provided by your provider to Apple so when you plug in your phone, it just works. If you're jumping on a different network however, you may need to change the APN, as was the case for me.
To change your APN go to http://unlockit.co.nz on your iPhone, using a WiFi connection. Select Continue then Change APN and put in your APN settings. Lots of Googling may be required to find the settings for your provider. For Orange France the APN settings are:
User name: orange
(I'm confirming that as of now, May 2011 that works, so does using: orangenew.fr as the APN)
Once the Unlockit.co.nz profile is installed on your phone, reboot it. Once rebooted try to access a web site and if you're still getting errors about being "not subscribed to a cellular data package" try ejecting the SIM card tray and then re-inserting, without rebooting the phone. That was the clincher for me, once I did that it took seconds to pull up a site and we were on our way!