Finally have 3Pay prepaid midband on my iPad

Jan 7th, 2011   12:23 am

My mission was to get Three prepaid midband (3G internet isn’t broadband, no matter who tries to tell you it is). I chose Three, because they has better 3G coverage for when I visit Inagh, and for their “Like Home” roaming service (which, I believe, works for prepaid as well) which will mean cheap data whilst roaming in some countries.

There are 2 issues potential customers of 3Pay for iPad face.

Firstly, Three claim you can’t get prepaid MicroSIMs (the smaller SIM card that goes in to an iPhone 4 and iPad), and that they only exist for post-pay, monthly contract users. As of the time of writing, their website mentions they’re “coming soon” (and has done for a number of months now, and their phone support people told me twice in the last 2 days that they don’t exist and that there is no immediate release plans for them. I came across a thread on where a Three representative claims 3Stores had them. A quick trip to Liffey Valley 3Store (note, the actual Three shop, not a reseller of Three services), and a short time later I’d one in my hand, promisingly labelled “MICRO SIM 3PAY BROADBAND[sic]”. I was told there was 1GB data included (no sign of how to get this, or any credit on the account). I also provided details to register, which I had to bizarrely handwrite, but registration doesn’t appear to have happened (I had to fill in the details on the MyThree website). So, ignore the 3 website, and ignore what 3 tell you on the phone. Go to a 3Store and you can get a prepaid MicroSIM.

The second problem many will face is registering on the MyThree website, so you can top up and buy daily/weekly/monthly passes for your “broadband”, you’ll need to be able to receive an SMS with your newly create password (or, for future reference, to retrieve a forgotten password). The iPad, of course, has no such SMS facility. So, you’ll need to find a device capable of receiving an SMS that will accept your new Three MicroSIM. Given that the most common device is an iPhone 4, and that most of these are locked to their network, you’ll need to find an unlocked iPhone 4, or an iPhone 4 from Three. Alternatively, you can hack together, or buy, a MicroSIM to SIM adaptor. In my case, I made an adaptor and used a newly-unlocked 3G modem from o2 to both test the Three network and receive their SMS.

So, once you can overcome those 2 hurdles, you should be able to enjoy Three’s network on your iPad, with 3Pay.

Feel free to contact me if you think I can answer any questions on any of this!