Getting a mobile connection
Mobiles are important part of Italian lifestyle, and there are many providers available. In order to get a mobile connection in Italy you will need an Italian tax number which is required for both prepaid SIM cards and mobile contracts.
The mobile provider TIM leads the market in the country, followed by Vodafone, Wind, and Tre. Each company offers a broad range of voice and data packages, and you should compare prices and conditions carefully before entering into a contract.
Phones purchased in other European countries can be used in Italy. The most popular way for foreigners to get an Italian mobile line is by inserting a SIM card into their current phone.
If you plan on buying an Italian SIM card, you should know which kind of mobile you have and what frequencies it supports. If you don’t know the frequency, contact your phone provider before coming to Italy because your phone may not be compatible with your new SIM card.
SIM card or mobile contract?
Like in most countries, you can either get prepaid SIM card or mobile contract. The latter is a permanent contract at a fixed monthly rate and usually comes with a minimum contract length between 12 and 24 months. In case of cancellation, you will have to pay heavy fines.
If you choose prepaid SIM card it must be regularly recharged with additional credit vouchers. Recharges can be done at grocery stores, tobacconists, bars, magazine shops, ATMs or at your own provider’s Internet website or customer service lines. Switching providers is easy if you have a prepaid plan as numbers can be ported. To get a prepaid SIM card or a contract, you will need: identification document, a document indicating your address and tax number.
If you only stay in Italy for a short time and don’t have an Italian tax number, your only options are to rent an Italian mobile or to use your mobile connection from home and pay high roaming charges.