This caught me by surprise. I called Orange to check to make sure both my mobile phone and my iPad SIM were enabled for European roaming. The phone is fine, but roaming cannot be enabled on the iPad SIM card, due to the fact that the iPad doesn’t have support for SMS text messages. Well, the iPad does sort of support the reception of text messages, but you certainly can’t create them.
The problem comes in that SIM card updates are usually deployed by text message, and this is required to allow the operator to enable roaming on the phone. Why the SIM card isn’t roaming enable when shipped is a separate issue, especially as the iPad settings screen contains a toggle for roaming enable/disable.
Also, I read elsewhere that mobile operators in Europe are obligated to send a text message to the user when connecting to a non-native network, so that the user is aware that roaming charges will apply.
But either way according to Orange, I can’t use the 3G support outside of the UK, or enable the new T-Mobile roaming option for the UK. Somehow they intend to enable this in the next 4-6 weeks, which begs the question of how they Åµill update the SIM cards?
I would assume that I could put the SIM card in another phone in order to receive the text message, but they didn’t seem to suggest it as an option. Of course another suggestion would be for Apple to provide SMS support on the iPad – for some reason they seem to be completely against the idea of anyone using the iPad for anything other than data.
It matters not, my very helpful French neighbour has helped out by getting a French SFR SIM card so I will have that available, and I may well still have Wifi nearby whilst away.