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And so it begins with Orange — Crazy iPad experience.

After an unbelievably bad experience trying to get an iPad microSIM from Vodafone, I decided to change gears and go for a pre-paid microSIM from Orange, as advertised on their special iPad web page. I visited a local Orange store, bought the microSIM, loaded it with 50€, took it home, installed it in the iPad, and verified that it all worked.

Great! …until I decided to confirm the 50€ balance, and that’s when things started heading south with Orange.

The instructions that came with the card indicate two methods for checking your balance.

The first is to call the free number, 1516. Problem is, you can’t make phone calls from the iPad, and calling from a non-Orange phone returns a “Sorry, this number doesn’t exist.” message. Oh well, on to method two…

The second method involves logging into your account at the Area de Clientes on the website. The new account signup process requires sending an SMS from your Orange phone, requesting a password. Problem is, again, the iPad isn’t a phone; you can’t send an SMS message from it, and, therefore, you can’t request an account password.

So I called Orange, and was told that perhaps I should find an Orange phone, insert my iPad’s card, and send the SMS requesting a password. I pointed out three problems: (1) the password might then be associated with the number of that Orange telephone, and not my iPad, (2) I don’t know offhand where I’m going to find an Orange phone, and (3) it’s unlikely that any Orange mobile phone I find won’t accept the microSIM format. (Update: As mentioned in the comments, my problem (1) obviously isn’t a problem; but the other two are.)

“Oh, yeah, good points.” said the disappointed rep, “Let me pass you to a colleague who specializes in the iPad.”

I was then transferred to the specialist, who said that upon installing my card, I would receive a message from Orange, within some sort of — and I kid you not — “blue halo login and access region,” providing me with instructions how to create an account online.

Blue halo login and access region.

“You are aware we’re talking about an iPad, right?”, I asked. We then spent a few moments together learning about Apple’s new product, and how it’s neither a laptop nor a phone. The specialist concluded that he needed to go talk to another specialist to see how things work with an iPad.

After a few minutes, he returned saying that Orange are excited to report that they are actually developing a new application and service right now, that will allow iPad owners to create accounts in the Orange website Client Area.

He went on to say that they would send my iPad a message as soon as it’s ready. I reminded him that the iPad can’t receive messages, and he said the second best option then, would be to periodically visit the local Orange store, as they’ll surely be informed once the “new service” is available.

Published inRants


  1. Ölbaum Ölbaum

    I think you don’t need to worry about (1): said telephone is not aware of any number other than the one of the SIM card inserted in it, as far as I know. As for (2), a non-simlocked phone should do the trick too. Which leaves you with finding an Orange or non-simlocked phone that takes microSIM cards. Not easy, I know. Ain’t there any Orange shop in your area? I’m pretty sure they have phones, that might be your best bet.

  2. Ölbaum Ölbaum

    (sorry, forgot to check “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”).

  3. Matt Henderson Matt Henderson

    Right, that’s a good point that the phone would obviously be associated with my number, if my SIM were installed.

    Yes, I’ll ultimately end up going to the Orange shop and asking them for help. Crazy, though, that (other than that) there’s no other way to create an account. :/

  4. Dave Dave

    I’ve got the same problem. Did it work out for you?

  5. Ces Ces

    For those still struggling with this issue, there is a specific ‘ipad’ link from the website, the section for new clients needing a ‘contrasena’, and by following this a client account can be easily created.

    Unfortunately it requires Flash to change tariff, which means such changes cannot be made directly from the iPad, but credit on the account etc. can be browsed.

  6. Matt Henderson Matt Henderson

    Thanks Ces — if I understand correct, I’d need to access that link from the iPad directly, in order to establish the account, right? (I tried from Safari on the OS X desktop, and ran into some kind of “we don’t recognize your IP” error.)

  7. Ces Ces

    That’s correct. It must recognize the SIM, and allows you to create a secret code for the account. It immediately knew my name etc from the account created when I purchased the SIM. I’m presently trying to download the Spanish Orange App, to (hopefully) allow me to change tarred directly from the iPad – as I pointed out, online requires Flash. Have you downloaded this, ‘mi orange’ App yet?

    Also, do you know how the daily pre-paid tariff works? Do I get billed 3.50€ each day until I run out of credit? Or does my account only get debited 3.50€ on days I actually use the cellular data?

    And last question, does the credit have an expiry date?

    Today is my first time using, and I couldn’t get much help in the Orange store, due to my poor Spanish and a lengthening queue.


    Hi this is Chris. I am English but live in Granada, southern Spain. Not sure if I am going to help or just create more questions but I wanted to contribute. I own an iPad (1), I recently bought a 20 Euro pre paid micro sim card for my iPAD at a Malaga airport tech shop. It is NOT the 3.5 euro per day charge as I usually find lots of WiFi so just wanted a sim that I could use and recharge when it runs out. I was assured that’s what I had bought.
    I have tried several times to utilise the sim and it has been very unreliable. The guy in shop could not get it to register properly and since then when I activate it the iPAD searches for a carrier and sometimes comes up with Orange and I get a signal in top left, but usually I cannot connect to the internet. I have tried adding the setting I was given in the APN but I still get “not connected to internet”. Obviously this renders the solution useless at the moment but it does look like the card connects to Orange as I get a signal strength indicator top left and Orange E right next to it so I am hoping an Orange shop can help figure out what it needs to connect to the internet. However, down here the term “customer service” rarely exists and you usually do need to have the chat in Spanish which is a challenge. SO a pre paid rechargeable microsim exists, but it did not work on my iPAD 1.

  9. Nick Nick

    I have an iPad with prepaid SIM card. It’s impossible it seems to top up a prepaid card. Talking to online orange advisers is hopeless. Live in UK.

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