Good news for mobile Internet use in France! Orange France has started to offer the same small screen Internet add-ons for prepaid and postpaid users. In addition to the ‘Découverte Multimédia’ option, which includes 5 MB worth of data for €3.-, Orange now also offers the ‘Internet Max’ add-on for €9.- a month to prepaid users.
What one can do with it: The offer includes mobile phone based web browsing and sending/receiving eMail from/to any POP/IMAP/SMTP server. Email transfers are limited to 10 MB a month.
What one can NOT do with it: The fine print states that Orange reserves the right to throttle transmission speeds if use exceeds 200 MB a month. The offer also excludes ‘peer-to-peer’, VoIP, and ‘newsgroups’ (whatever that is). Furthermore, the use of the mobile phone as a PC modem is not allowed. I am not sure if instant messaging is possible and whether only specific TCP ports are open for communication as the T&C’s don’t mention that specifically. To me, that looks like some sort of deep packet inspection is performed in the network. Should be fun play around with the option a bit to see what’s enforced in practice.
Despite the limitations I generally think this is good news since the price and availability with prepaid SIMs opens the mobile Internet to a wider audience. For the details, have a look on the Prepaid Wireless Internet Wiki.