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 Orange.es 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.