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

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

Old May 25th, 2015, 07:33 AM
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Old May 25th, 2015, 07:38 AM
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Here is a "guess" as to why you didn't receive your SIM.

The last two address lines on the envelope my SIM was in, read:

94402 California
France

I'm guessing that most UK or French Post Offices or Lebara clerical workers know that California (Californie in French) is in the USA, and they directed the envelope in "that" direction. If it read:

10210 Rhode Island
France

It might not have been so recognizable.

I'm not surprised that you had little/no luck with Lebara customer service. We've dealt with Air France, SNCF, Budget rent-a-car, and France Telecom and received service "similar" to what you experienced.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 25th, 2015, 07:40 AM
  #103  
 
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I've had two free SIMS from Lebara mailed to my home in the US. Unfortunately the first one arrived after we left for France, but we used the second one in 2013. Don't remember exactly how I filled in the form, but it came addressed like this:

M. (First Name)(Last Name)
4 (Street) Pobox XX
(zip) (town) Usa
France

Like Stu, I don't think I put France in the address.

The instructions for use that came with the SIM indicated that it could be registered and recharged online. It also said that the SIM was already activated and only needed to be recharged. When we landed at CDG, I went into the Relay store by the RER station and bought a recharge "ticket" for €5 (the minimum amount you can buy), inserted the SIM into my phone, entered the code from the ticket and had service for 30 days. I never went online to register. My phone is a tiny clamshell (eBay under $20). We used the phone maybe ten times for in-country calls and a few texts during the trip, and never got close to using up the €5. I hope this all works again for our trip in September.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 10:03 AM
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>>Since you do not know what it cost them - how can you be sure that they did not incur international rates?<<

I can't be sure of anything without proper knowledge of an individual's calling plan, and as we know, plans vary.

>>Did they dial a 001 before your area code?<<

I was told by T-Mobile that because my SIM will be on the Orange network (it automatically switched because T-Mobile uses GSM), local callers did not need to treat my U.S. cell number as an international call. They did not have to dial 001 before my area code. In fact, I had several unexpected calls from the U.S., and those callers simply dialed my number as if I was home, and those calls came through without any problem. I was surprised and impressed with the quality of those calls. But I do not know what those U.S. callers were charged for making those calls. Maybe I will eventually find out.

I'm not 100% sure about the how or why my T-Mobile PrePaid SIM acted the way it did. Since T-Mobile was my plan B on this trip, and it's the first time I tried this, the whole experience was sort of a trial by doing.

>>Worth a try<< is up to the user. I spent quite a bit of time (2 attempts) researching and paying attention to this process, and following it by the day. Then there were the lengthy emails to the two customer service reps. I'm not retired, so in the end, the effort was not worth it for me. I never received what I was told I would receive.

I have no answers as to why Lebara's internet application process is successful for some U.S. residents and not others. Lebara would not answer that question directly. I filled out both applications properly, and I know this because I received two Order Confirmation emails from Lebara. I can only assume that if you're a former customer (from years past perhaps), that may give you a leg up, but it's just an assumption.

The situation that pertains to me goes above and beyond the internet application process, because I contacted Lebara Customer Service directly, which Sarastro seems content to ignore.

When 7 business days had passed on my 2nd attempt, I had a colleague's French wife call the Lebara France customer service number on my behalf. She failed to get through because she did not understand the French word for hashtag, and they require it to move forward in the phone prompts. In the meantime, I sent an email to customer service on Lebara's English language page, and I included a copy of my Confirmation Order email with all those details. From that moment on, I was communicating with two actual Lebara employees from a UK address, and one woman had a title with the company. When a Customer Relations Administrator writes and tells you that she will personally mail the SIM to me, and it doesn't show, then all you're left with is an empty hand. No one is willing to say what exactly went wrong. All they say is that they don't guarantee international deliveries. IMO, that's terrible customer service, and I will never again attempt to do business with Lebara.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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<i>I have no answers as to why Lebara's internet application process is successful for some U.S. residents and not others. Lebara would not answer that question directly.</i>

Lebara makes absolutely no claim that they will send a SIM to anyone in the USA at no charge, in spite of what some well-meaning front line employee may have told you. They in fact have a written waring clearly stating that they will only send SIMs to addresses in France.

If you really wanted a Lebara SIM, you could have purchased one in France where they are widely available for 10€.

<i>I was told by T-Mobile that because my SIM will be on the Orange network (it automatically switched because T-Mobile uses GSM), local callers did not need to treat my U.S. cell number as an international call. They did not have to dial 001 before my area code.</i>

What do you mean by <i>local callers</i>? If you are in France using a T-Mobile SIM, callers from the USA will dial your number as they normally would. You will pay T-Mobile somewhere between $.99 and $1.29 per call to your phone. Callers from within France will indeed be required to call 001 before they dial your area code and local exchange. Even if you are only across the street, French callers will incur an international charge to call you (though many of us have free international calling).

All French numbers, mobile or land line, when locally dialed, begin with a ¨0¨ and a digit; 01 are lines in Paris, 02 are lines in the Northwest, 03 are lines in the Northeast, 04 are lines in the Southwest, 05 are numbers in the Southeast, 06 and 07 are mobile numbers, 08 are toll free numbers, and 09 are VoIP numbers.

If your phone number is not in that format, no one in France will be able to call you without first dialing 00, the international phone number prefix. There are no other successful dialing possibilities.

What T-Mobile actually explained to you, and what you ultimately understood, are very likely two completely different things.

What I don´t understand is how any of this the fault of Lebara? You did not receive a free SIM. OK, move on with life. Lebara does not owe you anything and certainly, unless you have something tangible, does not deserve to be the object of a rant.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 01:34 PM
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<<If you really wanted a Lebara SIM, you could have purchased one in France where they are widely available for 10€.>>

Sarastro, I spent a couple of hours in Paris a few years ago trying to buy a Lebara SIM. Starting with the Relay store at CDG and continuing through places at the Gare du Lyon, the Gare St.-Lazare, and several tabacs in those areas, I was always told that even though they sold the recharge tickets, they did not sell the SIMs. I have later heard that they are much more available in shops in neighborhoods where there are a lot of immigrants or people who need to call other countries. That would make sense, but I would still like to know where, precisely, one can buy a Lebara SIM in Paris. I found this page at lebara.fr , but under the heading "Acheter dans un magasin" the box where they say they have listed numerous stores is empty.

http://www.lebara.fr/view/content/pl...articleId=1692

I guess the site knows I'm not in France so no information is given there? Anyway, I'd love to know a place or two where, if I don't get one in the mail, I could go buy one.

Thanks for your informative contributions here.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 01:59 PM
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Sarastro, your opinion is your opinion. I shared my experience as it happened. I don't wish to be judged in your court of opinion, since you seem convinced that you know how this all works, and you're wrong.

>>Lebara makes absolutely no claim that they will send a SIM to anyone in the USA at no charge<<

But a Lebara representative with an executive title did make the claim in writing that she would send one to me. I didn't care about the "no charge." You're completely missing the point.

>>If you really wanted a Lebara SIM, you could have purchased one in France<<

Again, you've completely missed the point. I specifically did not want to search for a SIM after I landed in France. That was not an option. I needed my phone to work the minute I landed. What is it about that simple business need that you don't understand?

>>If you are in France using a T-Mobile SIM, callers from the USA will dial your number as they normally would. You will pay T-Mobile somewhere between $.99 and $1.29 per call to your phone. Callers from within France will indeed be required to call 001 before they dial your area code and local exchange. Even if you are only across the street, French callers will incur an international charge to call you (though many of us have free international calling).<<

Most of what you have written is not true in my case, which leads me to believe that you don't fully know what you are talking about, even though you believe you do. Business people in France who called me told me they did not need to call 001 before dialing my number to reach me. And T-Mobile customer service also told me before I left that French callers would not need to dial 001 once I was on the Orange Network.

If you fail to see where Lebara's customer service failed me and fails others, then I can't help you with that blind spot.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 04:01 PM
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<i> I would still like to know where, precisely, one can buy a Lebara SIM in Paris</i>

There is a phone store at the Métro 1 entrance at Gare de Lyon that usually has a stack of Lebara SIMs for sell at 10€ which includes 5€ of talk time. Immigrant neighborhoods do have a number of pre paid SIM outlets but so do the tourist neighborhoods such as le Marais and the Latin Quarter.

However, if you are planning to use data, Lebara uses the Bouygues network and Lebara SIMs will not receive the 2100mhz signal that is otherwise available. This means that you will receive data no faster than 2G (what T-Mobile users receive) as 3G in Europe uses the 2100mhz frequency (assuming your phone has 2100 mhz reception capability).

Lycamobile also uses the Bouygues network but Lycamobile SIMs should receive the 2100 mhz, 3G, signal. You should get faster downloads with Lycamobile which is otherwise very much the same as Lebara.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 12:13 PM
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Update FYI...

I received my two Lebara SIMs today. I can't remember exactly how I entered my address online (what went into each field), but it was something like this:

My name [and my wife's name for the second SIM]
My Street Address
12345 [my zip] West Chester Pennsylvanie [note spelling]
France

(I can't remember whether or not I put "USA" after Pennsylvanie.)

Both of them arrived. They were sent from the UK, not France. Note that they came to the US, even though I put "France" in the address.

Now, I need to figure out how to activate them. We're not going to Paris for another couple of months, so I have time to figure it out.

I'd love to activate before I leave (which was possible with my GiffGaff UK SIMs), but I'm not sure you can do that with French SIMs without an ID. I seem to recall needing my passport to activate a SIM last time I was in Paris.

Maybe there's a place in CDG where I can do it.

Any advice would be helpful.

Thanks.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 12:57 PM
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My wife activated ours on-line using the PC. She added money also. We called our land line & it worked. We head out tomorrow.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 03:20 PM
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Stu...

How did you call if you are not in France? Does this SIM work in the US?

(I see your current location is the Bay Area...I am in the Philadelphia area.]

SS
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 03:46 PM
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Yep - it worked from the US.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 12:58 AM
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Thanks, Stu...

I'll give it a try a few days before we leave -- later in the summer.

(...Is there any downside to trying it now -- months before we actually need it -- i.e., is there an expiration time on the money you load onto it?)

Bon Voyage.

Also, if you know it works in the Bay Area, maybe I'll try it there -- will be in Berkeley in a few weeks.

SS
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 02:28 AM
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<i> is there an expiration time on the money you load onto it?</i>

Yes there is and the time is dependent upon how large the charge amount was. I would not activate it until just before you travel.

Lebara SIMs will work anywhere in the world that has GSM service. I have used them both in the USA and Japan.
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 04:25 AM
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Sarastro...thanks for the info...I'll wait to activate it.

SS
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 07:42 AM
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I'm making an educated guess here - I bet that your SIM phone number will expire in n months unless you activate it and perhaps add some $$$.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 09:53 AM
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Stu...

Hmmm...it's a quandry.

I went to the activation page and started the process just to see how it would work. It asks for name/address, etc. I'll use the info I gave when I ordered the SIM (though I can't remember exactly how I listed the zip and city, or whether I put "France" or "USA" ion the "country" field.)

-- any help with is appreciated, Stu --

I assume the SIM needs to be in the phone...is that right?

Also, does it accept PayPal or must I use my credit card (for which I'll need to alert the issuing bank of a overseas charge.)

SS
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 10:02 AM
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Taxi picks us up in 30 mins to take us to SFO then France - so I don't have time to re-acquaint myself with the procedure. My wife had to wrassle quite a bit to get it activated, and so did a friend 2 weeks ago. Just give it a try.

I don't think you have to have the SIM in to activate it. I think activating it is just to give word to Lebara that you are "alive" and they shouldn't give the phone # to anyone else real soon. You'll have to place the SIM in to "accept" minutes and then call your land line at home. As I recall, we didn't have to dial 1-areacode before dialing our land line.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 10:12 AM
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According to this information on the Lebara site, your SIM card will be inactivated after 80 days with no call or SMS activity. The 80 days are counted from your last call or SMS.

http://www.lebara.fr/view/content/pl...articleId=1608
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 10:37 AM
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When I got my SIM in 2013, the instructions from Lebara said "Votre carte SIM est déjà activée, insérez-la dans votre mobile débloqué." (Your SIM card is already activated, insert it into your unblocked mobile.) I took this to mean that I didn't need to activate it so I didn't. Was this correct? Don't really know. It didn't occur to me then that what they were really saying was that if the card was already activated....

When we arrived in Paris, I inserted it in the phone, bought a Lebara recharge ticket from the Relay at CDG, entered the code numbers from the ticket and began using the phone. I made a few local calls and texts over the next two weeks and never used up the €5 I loaded it with.

Bon voyage, Stu!
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