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Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Chicago, Illinois
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Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

I would really like to order an Italian SIM card and have it shipped to the states so I can test it to make sure it works properly prior to traveling to Italy. Has anyone ever done this? I want to be able to use all my apps as well (Google maps, etc) so I need the data plan as well I believe. Does anyone have any insight or advice on this or know where I can purchase online? Thank you in advance!

49 replies to this topic
Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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1. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Many apps will work without an internet connection, and most others will work with either wifi or data services. Why don't you turn off your data services to see which apps work without them?

If you have apps that need data services, and you need to use them out on the street, you would need a SIM card, but if not, and if your hotel has wifi, you could use most apps without a SIM card.

Google maps will allow you to download and save maps when you have a wifi connection and use them later when you don't. You would have to turn on GPS to find your current location, but that doesn't require a SIM card.

I don't know of any way to get a SIM card mailed to you, but how would you test it, anyway? You'd be using international roaming, which would cost a fortune unless you had set up a roaming plan.

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Brightroam is a company that offers SIM cards from North America. Their prices are good and shipping is minimal. The nice thing about using their SIM card is that you know your European phone # before departing. I have used them and have been pleased with their service.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Thank you both for your replies! I will definitely check out which apps use data and also check out Brightroam. Thanks!

Lexington, Kentucky
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4. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

We just use an international data plan. Most of the major carriers allow you to sign up and then cancel once your trip is over. With Verizon it's about $25. It was easier for us just to do that.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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5. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Brightroam's cost for data is very high. You'd pay $79 for 400 mb of data, which would be plenty for a week, but it's much more expensive than a data plan bought with a SIM card in Italy. That's on top of the cost of the SIM card, which is $11.95.

The $25 data plan for Verizon gives you only 100 mb of data, which might be too little for you. See if you can determine how much data you use in a typical week. Your provider should have an app or website should have that information. You might use a little more when traveling, but it will give you an idea.

Several Italian providers have plans that are useful for travelers. TIM has a plan called TIM Welcome, which costs €20, in addition to the €10 cost of a SIM card. This gives you €5 of initial credit (which you might use to send text messages), plus 200 minutes of talk time to any place in Europe or the USA, plus 2 gb of data (40 times as much as Verizon gives you and 5 times as much as Brightroam gives you). (Of course, you may not need nearly that much data. I rarely use more than about 700 mb in a month.)

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

Vodafone has a plan called International 250, which gives you 250 minutes to a number of countries, including the US, for €9.90 a month, but it doesn't include internet. Their website is very difficult to decipher, so I didn't manage to find an all-in-one price. They have the most lavish TV commercials of all the Italian providers, but they can't seem to put together a decent web site.

Anyway, TIM and Vodafone are the main Italian providers. Wind and 3 are smaller providers that may have attractive plans.

Tre (or 3), for example, has an international plan for €5 a month, on top of the €30 cost of the SIM card. This gives you €30 of initial credit (far more than most people would use in a month) as well as 1 gb of data and a varying number of minutes of talk time, depending on the country you want to call. You can see the number of minutes you get here:

tre.it/opzioni/estero/all-in-international

If you don't want to make any calls, just use mobile data, you should be able to get cheaper plans.

Lafayette...
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6. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Don't buy one online - and no need to get one in advance.

My wife and I went into a TIM store and bought 2 nano-sims for our unlocked US iPhone 5's - the sims less than €30/ea and were good for 13 months - they came with 1GB of data and a €15 credit towards calls and messages. The fellow at the store installed them for us and we were on our way in 10 minutes. The phones took about 90 minutes to become active on the network. I brought 2 small plastic cases marked with our initials to store our old Verizon nano-sims.

The experience was excellent. We found that we could use the local phone number to register for free WIFI on the trains (they require an Italian phone number) and we had excellent service all over Northern Italy. After 2 weeks, we each used about 300MB of the 1GB, found that iMessages were free and other SMS messages were about E0.22/ea. All your apps will work just as they did before.

TIM sent us each about 15 SMS messages after going active - we saved them, ran them through Google Translate - some were ads but some are important with account info as well as your login name and password for the account management page on the internet. Save them if you want to manage your account on-line. The web page is in Italian but easily run through Google-Translate.

I brought a paperclip to open the sim door and swapped the old nano-sims back in at the airport on the way home. Turn the phone off and back on and you are ready to reconnect to your old network when you land. Overall, a fabulous option that lets you use your iPhone as you would at home for a nominal cost vs roaming charges.

Note - the nano-sims only fit in the phone's slide drawer one way - do not force them - or lose them - the parts are small and fairly delicate.

Edited: 25 July 2014, 22:40
New York City, New...
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7. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Interested, if you did get LTE-4G on your US iPhone 5S. Some of the more popular LTE bands in Europe (like 2600) are not supported by US iPhone 5S models.

Lafayette...
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270 posts
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8. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Igor, we were on 3G - as you noted, our iPhone 5 doesn't have the European frequencies - but the service was consistently great and we never noticed a slowdown for mapping, reading review, buying tickets or any of the other things we used it for.

kochav yair,israel
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9. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

Thanks for useful post - do you happen to know if there is a store to buy SIMs at Rome Fiumicino Airport....at Terminal 3 ?

Boston...
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10. Re: Italian SIM Card for iphone 5

HI All,

I think I decided to go with this option witourist.com. Prices are good and if you have a smart phone you can use all sorts of apps to make calls and have wifi where ever you are.

No experience yet, but just thought I'd share the link

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