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How to order free Lebara SIM card from the U.S.?

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Sep 1st, 2012, 04:44 PM
  #1
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How to order free Lebara SIM card from the U.S.?

I know this topic has been done to death, but I have searched and read every thread on the Forum, but I still cannot manage to place an order for a free Lebara SIm card from the States. I have tried both the French and the UK sites, but when I put in my U.S. address, and other information, I get error messages. The UK site postal code and contact telephone number blocks turn red and say what I entered is not a valid UK address. Same thing for the French site.

I'm leaving in less than a month so I need to get this done. What is the secret you clever people have used to go around this?
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Sep 1st, 2012, 04:48 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You will find lebara easy to get upon arrival in both the UK and France. I put my address in and did receive a Lebara card in the United States and others have also reported receiving the card. Under City, write your city, State and zip code. As I remember, that worked for the French card. The English card is so easy to get that I wouldn't bother.
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Sep 1st, 2012, 04:50 PM
  #3
 
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I used the France website, switched to English. If I remember correctly, enter your city/town (space) USA in the "ville" field.

ID didn't used to be required. It's possible they are no longer shipped to USA.
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Sep 1st, 2012, 05:16 PM
  #4
 
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Use this website:

www.lebara.fr

Fill out the form for a free SIM, in the city field put your US city and USA both on the same line. France will be in the country field but you will still receive the SIM you need in the USA. It takes about one week.
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Sep 1st, 2012, 05:19 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 39
The lebara website says the sim card is only available to customers with a French residential address. So if it won't let you order one then if you scroll to the bottom of that same page it has a list of retailers where it is available. I know I plan to fly into CDG in a couple of weeks and the store Relay is on that list (which is also in the CDG airport) so I hope to be able to pick one up after landing at the airport. Maybe that is an option for you?

Another option if you want to have one before you leave is Cellular abroad which sells the Lebara card...but it seems a little expensive to me given that Lebara offers the card for free on their website.

http://www.cellularabroad.com/franceSIMcard.php
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Sep 1st, 2012, 05:42 PM
  #6
 
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So if it won't let you order one

Sure it will. In spite of what the website says, Lebara will indeed send you a free SIM, even to the USA. I have done it myself twice.

What kind of person would order a Lebara SIM from Cellularabroad and pay $69.95 for what the rest of us receive for free?
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Sep 1st, 2012, 06:05 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: May 2003
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It appear that they have changed to requirement on the lebara site to now require an ID[ license, passport, Identity card, birth certificate or residence card and appropriate number be provided.

I am almost positive that this was not required earlier this year when I applied and got my card.

Perhaps this is to assure that the cards only go to French residents.
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Sep 1st, 2012, 06:13 PM
  #8
 
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I have a French Orange SIM that I bought while in Paris in June. Anyone who wants to use it can email me. I'll send it to you and you can top it up when you get there. You'll know the number before you leave.

lisaonkili at yahoo dot com
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Sep 1st, 2012, 06:23 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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It "Might" let you order one, I actually ordered one on line for a past trip and it was shipped to the US, However when I tried to place an order for my upcoming trip (my old one had expired), it said I had met my max (even though it says the max is two and I have only ever order one).

I agree Sarastro that paying for something you can get free is not a great option...but then people pay extra for convenience and peace of mind all the time....otherwise why would people take a taxi when you can take public transportation for a lot less. Hopefully the directions given on the Lebara site will work...if not there is still my first suggestion to pick one up someplace like a Relay store at the airport after landing.
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Sep 1st, 2012, 06:29 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Not sure what airport you are flying into, but if it happens to be CDG Then below is a map of terminal 2A (arrivals) with the location of the relay store.

http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/S...utiques/presse
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Sep 1st, 2012, 07:25 PM
  #11
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Thank all of you for your amazingly prompt and accurate replies.

I managed to order two on the French site. After I entered birth date, passport number, etc., it still gave me problems with my phone number. It wanted another format, so I added a 011 in front of my area code (no spaces in the number), and wham it went through. I soon got an email from Lebara saying I would soon have my SIM cards. We will see, as I failed to add the USA on the address line.

I'll report back on my success.

Thanks again!
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 07:53 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 37
I ordered our Lebara cards about 2 weeks ago and they arrived one week later. I filled the order out as mentioned above with my city and USA on the same line. At first I was declined because I was sent cards last year for that trip but they arrived after we left so we couldn’t use them. I filled out the form again using my wife’s name but the same address info and within minutes an email arrived saying they were “in the mail”.

I just checked their site and the form now contains 2 lines asking for identification information which wasn’t there a few weeks ago; more about that later.

In earlier threads it was mentioned that during the registration process a security code would be sent to the phone, even when the phone was in the USA, that is needed to register. I got only text messages saying something like “welcome” when registering the SIMs. I then tried to set up the “My Lebara” account and that is when the forms asked me for the security code I thought I was supposed to get earlier. I gave up, thinking I would call the next day during office hours. The next day I began setting up the My Lebara account again and as I was, a text arrived on the phone with the code. The code is only good for 15 minutes so have the phone you are setting up for My Lebara on and loaded with their SIM at the time. The setup pre-filled the form with the information I had put in for the order. Since the city, state, USA, and zip were sort of wrong I attempted to manually fill them in. It didn’t like that. I unchecked the box and it reinserted the scrambled info and was happy. That is when I got to the questions about identification. I first put in my passport number but that was rejected. I then tried my California driver’s license number, which worked. I completed the My Lebara account adding my CapOne card for payment then loaded 20 Euros and everything worked. I repeated the process for my wife’s phone and we are now ready to leave for our month long trip on Wednesday.

If you read the User Manuel pdf they ask that you mail them a copy of the ID you used to register. I emailed them and they sent me a number to fax it in: 011 33 1 73 04 73 45.

If all of this is too much bother or it doesn’t work for you I found a site that sells the Lebara cards for $20 each (about 16 Euros, they are 10 when you get to France) preloaded with 7.50 Euros credit. The cards are shipped from North Carolina 1st class mail for $4.95 for 1 or 2 cards. Aerobile http://www.aerobile.com/eshop/france...dit-p-174.html
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 10:30 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Can you get a Lebara SIM for free, in person in France without a French address? Or could we use the rental apartment's address? Where can they be purchased? What are the phone call rates for calls within France to French phone numbers?

We have used Roam Simple SIMs in the past, but Lebara seems to gave fans here, so I am interested.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 10:54 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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You´re over-analyzing simple mobile phone service.

French law requires mobile phone providers to obtain identification from those establishing service. Unless you plan on curling up in a sleeping bag under Pont Neuf during your Paris stay, you have an address. Give them your hotel address, your apartment address, or any address you might want to give them. Lebara does not really care. The service you are requesting is pre paid anyway, they are not going to run a credit check on you. They are just fulfilling the government requirements.

Phone rates are changing constantly. Here are Lebara´s as of today:

* 0.01€ per minute to the USA plus a 0.15€ connection fee
* 0.00€ per minute to other Lebara numbers in France. That´s right, free
* 0.15€ per minute to other mobile phones in France plus a 0.15€ connection fee
* 0.15€ per minute to land lines in France plus a 0.15€ connection fee
* 0.15€ per minute to other mobile phones in France plus a 0.15€ connection fee

SMS (text) fees

* 0.10€ within France
* 0.15€ international

Low cost and ease of use is why Lebara is so popular among many of us who contribute to Fodors and travel to France often but in France, Lebara SIMs are only sold at magazine stores or tabacs.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 11:19 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,830
OK, so I have the unlock code from Verizon for my phone. They said that I cannot unlock the phone until I am IN France. Is that true? It seems like folks insert their Lebara cards while still in US to top up the account.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 11:21 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I ordered a Lebara sim on its FR. website about 3 weeks ago.

After reading some of the knowledgeable accounts by Fodories in the week following, I decided to give up on the idea that it would be mailed to me here in the USA.

A few days later, it arrived (envelope stated air mail from the UK).

Since Lebara isn't active in the USA, I assume that I can't activate it until I land in CDG. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll go to Klieghj's airport store and buy another.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 11:26 AM
  #17
 
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They said that I cannot unlock the phone until I am IN France. Is that true?

Not really true. What Verizon is probably referring to is that you cannot necessarily confirm that your phone is unlocked until it functions normally with a SIM, other than the Verizon SIM. Interestingly, Verizon uses the CDMA format which does not use SIMs.

Are you sure you have a GSM phone capable of operating on the 900/1800 mHz bands used in Europe?
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 11:34 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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I assume that I can't activate it until I land in CDG.

Your assumptions are incorrect.

Many of us have activated Lebara SIMs from the USA. The SIMs work perfectly well on the T-Mobile network. Just be sure your phone is capable of operating on the 850/1900 mHz bands used in North America (and Brazil).

If you have problems, you can try again in France. The Lebara help lines can offer you all of the assistance you need when in France but, the personal only speak French (unless you just happen to find someone who speaks English). Sometimes hotel staff can call for you to solve issues.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 12:01 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: May 2003
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OK I did it!

My phone indeed is a quad band and has GSM capabilities.

I unlocked the phone. Changed it to GSM. Took out the Verizon SIM card. Inserted the Lebara SIM card. Activated the SIM card on Lebara site. Got the security code sent to the phone via text from Lebara to use to register for an account. Just waiting on an email to confirm the set up of my Lebara account.

Then the only thing will be that I can switch it back to Verizon! It is now showing T Mobile as service provider.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 12:32 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Thank you for the help thus far.

How does the "purchase" of a Lebara SIM at a Tabac work? Do you get the SIM itself at no cost--like the on-line purchase from the US--and buy some number of euros worth of use?

What is the advantage of buying it ahead of time before leaving the US?

Are they readily available for purchase outside Paris, for example when we arrive in Arles!
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