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Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

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Bengaluru, India
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Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

Hi - I am traveling from India to Rome next week. I am told I can't buy a sim card without having NI number. Is there any other option to buy a local sim for data usage and international calling? Lyca mobile is a good option but needs NI number!!! :(

Secondly, i will have 1.5 days to tour Rome. What would be the best places to see? Not keen on spending lot of money though..

Thanks!

Nikit

Le Marche, Italy
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1. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

What is an NI number? You need an Italian codice fiscale, which is a taxpayer number, but it can be calculated easily from your name, and date and place of birth. (It doesn't mean you'll have to pay taxes in Italy!)

You need to bring along your passport, which will have to be photocopied.

It wouldn't be worth buying a SIM card for 1 1/2 days in Rome, so I assume you're going to spend some time in other parts of Italy.

I can't possibly tell you what you should see in such a short time. You'll have to make some difficult choices, because you don't have enough time to see more than a few things. What you should include and what you should skip would depend on your interests.

Bengaluru, India
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2. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

I will be in Rome for 7 days.. time for tourism in Rome is only 1.5 days and i wont be visiting any other part of Italy.

Are you suggesting i should / can get an Italian codice fiscale?

Le Marche, Italy
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3. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

Yes, whenever a foreigner buys an Italian SIM card, they just calculate a codice fiscale for them at the phone store. Remember that you must bring your passport to the store.

TIM, Italy's largest phone provider, has an offer at the moment for visitors called TIM Welcome. It's good for one month and can't be renewed, so it wouldn't be suitable for long-term visitors. Also, it can only be activated on a new SIM card, so you couldn't use a SIM card you had bought on a previous visit to Italy.

TIM Welcome costs €20 (plus €10 for the SIM card) and includes 2 gb of data and 200 minutes of calls within Italy AND to numbers outside of Italy (all of Europe, UK, USA, and Australia, for instance). It should cover all your needs except for text messages. With all that data, you could use some other service for the text messages, or you could add a little more credit to the SIM card to cover the cost of the texts.

www.international.tim.it/en/tim-welcome

Edited: 17 May 2014, 10:27
San Antonio, Texas
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4. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

I just got back from three weeks in Italy. I got a 3 data only SIM card in Milan for 15 euros (5 euros for the SIM card) ... 3 gig of data only. I did not sign up for any voice service.

1. The guy at the 3 store did not speak English, but he filled out all the required (passport needed) paperwork, installed and tested my card in my phone before left the store. I made sure I paid in cash to prevent any surprise charges.

2. The card worked perfectly everywhere we went. There were no roaming, and as soon as we crossed the border into Switzerland it stopped working, except for lots of text messages from 3 in Italian, asking me if I wanted service extended.

3. I used the Magic Jack app on my Android phone to make free calls back to the USA and Canada. Sometimes I used the free WIFI at the hotel and sometimes the 3 data service. All worked very well.

4. For calls inside Europe, I used the Skype app on my Android phone, which costs (you have to set up an account) me a couple of cents a call.

5. Both apps used the contact list in my phone, and when I selected a number to call, a menu came up asking which service I wanted to use. Make sure you don't check the default option, so it will ask the question for each call.

6. I used the data card a lot with Google maps and Tripadvisor to find things. We never got lost.

7. We forwarded our cell phone numbers to our Magic Jack home phone number and when I had the app active on (eats the battery too fast) my phone, It rang in Italy. If the call was not answered, the voicemail was forwarded to my Email, and the Email light came on, on my cell phone Magic Jack app. This all worked perfectly.

Just make sure you have an unlocked GSM (AT&T or T-Mobile) phone, as phones from Sprint and Verizon use CDMA technology, which does not work in Europe. AT&T and T-Mobile will unlock your phone for free if it is off contract. When you get back, just put your original USA SIM chip back in your phone, and everything works ... really easy.

Hope this helps.

Le Marche, Italy
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5. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

Thank you so much for the report, Mel. People who are comfortable with installing apps really don't need any voice or SMS service. A good data connection and the right app will take care of everything.

baton Rouge
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6. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

Is it feasable to buy Italian SIM card in USA rather than in Italy, Will it work in Italy.

Also I am told that Italian Sim Card will not work until it is registered, so buying in USA may not work

Houston, TX
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7. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

Wow, Mel, thank you! I confess that I will have to reread (and reread) your post, then, a google it all to understand what to do. I thought I was covered with a WIND Italian SIM card for iPad and my simple Italian old fashioned flip phone, but you've given us all some great options that are so much better. Grazie.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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8. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

I don't know of any way to buy an Italian SIM card in the US.

Saginaw, Michigan
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9. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

Hi there,

Does anyone know if i can order an Italian SIM card in advance so that I can know the number before i arrive in Italy?

Also, i would be traveling for several weeks in Europe to several countries. I know that my local provider in the USA will be charging me a fortune for it, but i wanted to know if there are any local EU SIM cards that have reasonable rates in UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

Le Marche, Italy
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10. Re: Italy Sim Card & Travel Options

Which country will you visit first? It's not easy to answer any of your questions without knowing that. Since the EU has capped roaming fees within Europe, it's usually best to buy a SIM card in the first country you visit and use it the entire time you're in Europe.

Another thing we need to know is whether you'll use the phone just for calls and texts, or if you'll want to use it to connect to the internet using the cell network.

I can tell you that there's no way I know of to get an Italian SIM card in advance legally. There's a company that will "rent" you a SIM card to get around Italy's strict traceability laws, but I'm pretty sure that's not legal. so I won't recommend it until I'm sure. Other countries in Europe have different laws, and maybe you can get their SIM cards before you go.