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Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

Calgary, Canada
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Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

Just returned from my Western Mediterranean cruise through the various ports/cities of Italy, utilizing WIND (Italy) Sim card on my unlocked Telus (Cdn) Samsung Galaxy.

1. Arriving Venice, and found the first local TIM dealer east of the Railway Station but it would not honor me the €10 Tim card as mentioned in the various Italian forums, offering stead a €30 deal. Walked away.

2. Got lost in the nearby Grand Canal in the dark but found a WIND store that offered me a 20€ deal (own Italian #; 1G; 250m talking; 250 Text for a month; 5€ credit); paid in cash showing my driver ID.

Got confirmation/instruction Txt 9AM next morning to activate the card

** The 3G internet worked well in Italy, even on my many train/bus trips, allowing tethering

** Voice Call also got through to reach the Cdn Embassy after hours recorded msg.

** did not try Txting Italian #,

but Txt to Wife (in trip with me) Cdn # phone: sent; but not received;

same for my son in Canada not receiving many Txt msg sent to him.

3. Received many Txt Msgs WIND sent me in Italian for the balance of trip (Montenegro, Greece, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Barcelona) offering me some kind deals that I did not understand and maybe have failed to take advantage of. (Nonetheless, the Florence WIND store informed me my plan would cost .19 per kilo( 190 Per MB) outside Italy.)

4. While waiting for the confirmation and trying the free wifi in the Venice Cruise Port, I found a Vodafone store giving away a limited number of SIM cards (€10 value) for the day which my other shipmate was happy to have and has enjoyed during the the cruise.

Wingham, Ontario
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1. Re: Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

Thanks for your informative post. I am trying to figure out what I will do for a SIM on my upcoming Italy land trip and then Western Med. cruise. I was hoping to have some data available so I can use my unlocked Samsung Galaxy's GPS feature. We arrive at Fiumicino airport and heading north with rental car to Orbetello. I'd like to purchase SIM at the airport but am wondering if this is a good place to make this purchase. Any comments????

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

I have not dealt with airport SIM card retailers, but you could use Google Map from home prior to departure locating the TIM, WIND, and Vodafone dealers in your vicinity of landing and planned path.

I have searched hi and lo, and read many related threads in the various Italy forums, but still unable to nail the 10€ TIM deal described. I now think maybe each store deals this separately that you will find your deal somewhat different from others.

As activation process takes some time to complete (my WIND over night; shipmate Vodafone, 6 hrs); you may want to get clear instructions/trouble shooting guide/ your phone # / balance status check/ conditions, rates etc before leaving the store; or locating the next store few hours away in your way. (Vodafone does not list Phone # on the Sim card, you need the assistance of the store computer to find it).

We were quite lucky of the excellent weather of our cruise (all the forecasted rain/cool temp did not fan out) . Wish the same for you.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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3. Re: Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

TIM now (as of November 4th) offers packages that include talk time, text messages, and internet. The SIM card still costs only 10 euros, but you can't get a weekly data plan with them, as you used to. The new plans cost 19 euros to activate, and, with the cost of the SIM card itself, that would bring you up to the 30-euro (or 29 to be exact) cost that you mention. The cheapest plan (TIM Special Full Edizione Limitata) costs 10 euros a month, which is pretty good; it's less than I used to pay for internet alone. The "Special" and "Limited Edition" in the name make me fear that this plan won't be available for long. The next cheapest plan costs 15 euros per month. All of the plans, as a matter of fact, say they can be activated only until December 1st, 2013. I have no idea what will be available for new clients after that. I'll try to explain the new plans below, but keep in mind that these plans may not last.

The "Small" plan includes 200 minutes of talk time and 200 text messages, which is far more than the average tourist would need in a month. It also includes 1 gb of data per month, which is sufficient for most people, especially if you use wifi instead whenever it's available. All of the new plans include automatically TIM in Viaggio Full, which allow you to make calls within Europe and the USA for 16 cents a minute, with a 16-cent connection charge. This is only slightly more than the tariff for calls within Italy, so there would be no need to get new SIM cards in other countries. It also includes an internet plan, for Europe and the USA, that allows you 25 megabytes of 3G data per day, for €3, which is charged only on the days you actually use the 3G services.

For customers who are not Italian citizens, you can still get the TIM International New plan, which allows you to call to countries outside Italy at very low rates. This costs €5 to activate. This plan is described in English here:

international.tim.it/en/…

For visitors to Italy, the initial cost of setting up these plans is a bit of a hurdle, especially for a short trip, but it's probably still better than roaming with your home plan; you should check the costs of roaming in Europe, and whether there are plans that reduce the cost, before you leave home. If you plan to use data services, getting an Italian SIM card will almost certainly save you money, because data roaming plans tend to have ridiculously high costs. By the way, I read that TMobile in the US was removing all foreign roaming costs. I don't know how they're going to charge for data roaming. Their service in the US is pretty bad; I bought a TMobile SIM card on a recent trip to the US and found it almost useless.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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4. Re: Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

There is no shop at Fiumicino airport in the international arrivals area that sells SIM cards for national services. Beware the kiosks at the airport that sell "international" SIM cards. These are a colossal rip-off, and many people have reported that in spite of their high cost, they didn't work at all.

For those who will be taking the Leonardo Express train into central Rome, you can get SIM cards at Termini station. There are several providers, including a TIM shop in the main concourse at the train level, and at least one other provider has a shop on the lower level.

If you're renting a car at the airport, this won't help you; I suggest you get your SIM card in Orbetello. Ask at your hotel where you can find a shop. The TIM planI describe above, with TIM in VIaggio Full would probably be a good plan for you, as you could use it in the other countries you visit on your cruise. The costs I mention above are only for Europe and the US. If your cruise visits Turkey or North Africa, the costs will be higher. I know that the 3G service is 5 euros a day, rather than 3 euros, in most of the rest of the world, and gives only 5 or 10 mb per day, depending on the country. That would be enough to check your email, and do a little light browsing, but not much else.

United States
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5. Re: Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

In our recent experience with Vodafone, it took 3 days for the service to become active.

TAB

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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6. Re: Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

When I recently signed up for the new TIM plan, the fine print said it would be activated within 48 hours, but it was actually activated in less than eight hours.

7. Re: Smart Phone Sim Card Usatge in Italy Oct 28- Nov 5, 2013

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