Advice needed: Traveling to Italy w/ unlocked iPhone 4. Which SIM to get?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by BostonApple, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. BostonApple macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2008
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Any help would be appreciated.

    I am trying to find a pre-paid Micro SIM that I will be able to use while traveling in Italy with my unlocked iPhone 4. I don't really care which network it's on, I just want to have pre-paid data and minutes.

    If anyone can help me out with this and point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it! I just don't want to be stuck paying crazy international rates through AT&T.

    Thanks! :confused::confused::confused:
  2. meettyrone macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2010

    hey im the same! im from australia.

    i will be traveling to Italy, Greece and a few other western Europe countries soon. i was wondering if i can get a prepaid ''micro sim' for my iphone4. so i can do international data roaming.

    my friend told me alot of euro countries only allow their own country credit card to purchase sim card. (apparently its the only way to link up credit card for security purpose...?) in australia, we use any type/countries credit card to purchase a prepaid sim. no problems.

    i was given an T-mobile UK 'normal' sim. and it wouldnt let me top up unless im using a UK credit card. im currently about to ask my UK friend to purchase credit for me. but that means i'll need to use my OLD iphone 3G in europe. (too slow).

    if i can find out any italian mobile companies offer 'prepaid micro sim' and can definitely purchase with any 'international credit card', that'll be perfect! so i can just rock up and get it.

    any help would be great!!!
    thanks in advance
  3. Insilin1i macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Well I'm not sure about Italy but hopefully its similar to Portugal. I walked into vodafone in Portugal asked for the Vitamina 91 iPhone SMS which comes with 500 MBs. There we charge phones with cash, you walk into vodafone say you want to charge your phone, you give them your number and give them the euros and you get a text.
  4. Jusfer macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2010
    USA Intermountain West
    In Italy, bring your unlocked iPhone with you to a TIM store or another larger provider and ask for a pre-paid SIM. That's all there's to it.

    BTW, the nice thing in Italy is that you only pay for the minutes you call. Incoming calls are free :)
  5. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Whenever I needed to top up in London, I just went to the post office or grocery store and got extra credits. I would imagine it's the same situation in Italy.
    If necessary, buy a micro sim cutter and bring it with you. Unless you're an ultralight traveler, the weight won't be that big of an issue.
  6. BostonApple thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2008
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Thank you. I am using a tim sim but I can't activate cellular network.

    Carrier is showing as TIM but cellular network is unavailable. Do I need to change a setting? Thank you!!
  7. mpossoff macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2010
  8. innominato5090 macrumors 6502


    Sep 4, 2009
    both TIM, Vodafone and 3 (also known as H3G or three Italy) has prepaid plans and micro-SIMs
    calls rates are between 8-18 cents per minute, depending if you have to pay per second or if the calls are anticipately billed every minute.
    Data costs 3-5€ per week, and you have something between 500MB and 3GB

    3 has the cheaper plans by far, anyway his network is 3G only and doesn't have a perfect coverage. for text and calls it goes on TIM edge network without fees. data roaming instead is quite pricy (0.60€ per MB) but, since 3 is one of the official carriers here for the iPhone, it could be easily turned off via data roaming switch into the (be sure to install the latest carrier updates when you'll pop in your sim)

    Feel free to ask more questions, prepaid plans are very popular here in Italy, so there are a lot of them (and they're quite complicated, too!)

  9. mpossoff macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2010
    We'll be traveling to France, does France offer the same types of plans?

  10. RED™ macrumors regular


    Nov 18, 2008
    Near German Black Forest
    As illuminato already pointed, pre-paid plans are great in Italy.

    On my vacation this year I used a TIM Pre-paid card, I paid 2€/week for my data plan (TIMxSMARTPHONE), which includes 250MB of traffic, plus I called customer service and they gave me the option called "TUTTO COMPRESO SMS PROMO", with 60 SMS and 60 minutes to use for all italian carriers (3€ per week). You can cancel all options as you desire.

    Effectively, I spent about 15 Euro for the basic options). And TIM has great coverage so if I were you, I'd choose TIM.
  11. BostonTraveler macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2010
    Global Micro SIM

    As far as I know, the only company offering a prepaid global Micro SIM for the iPhone 4 and iPad 3G is OneSimCard. Here's a link to the specific page: Global Micro SIM.
  12. CherieGlanville macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2011
    Taking up for offer to answer more questions ...

    Hi Luca from Cherie in Australia
    I found your post really helpful - thankyou. I've since found that 3(tre) and Vodafone both have shops at Rome Airport, so we'll get a pre-paid microsim when we arrive.
    You mentioned the plans are quite complicated so was wondering if you could offer any advice on them. we'll be pretty tired after the flight so would rather know ahead of time what to buy, rather than having to compare lots of plans at the aiport.
    We'll be in italy for 1 month. we'll only use the phone to make or confirm reservations. We may use data to check train timetables.
    Any suggestions? Any help would be most appreciated. Grazia molto!
  13. zardor13 macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2011
    Brisbane,Qld, Australia
    Prepaid Tim pay as you go miscrosim cards Italy

    Forget airports, shops exist only in Departure Teminals and not accessible upon arrival. Go to any of the many telefono shop, show passport, ask for pay as you go Microsim for iPad, simple, for under € 30 (includes cost of sim which never expires) plus 5 Gb data, you should operation in 30 minutes, sim comes with mobile number, can be used to send texts and make overseas calls (not sure of rates. Place sim in an iPhone, tether to a MacBook Air or Pro, create wireless using Airport & everyone call share. We have 3 iPads, 3 iPods, 2 iPhones all working off one tethered iPhone connected to MacBook Air, magic!! Cash only, no credit cards accepted so you cannot run a giant bill, they text you when running low, go to telfono shop, quote mobile number & pay for top up, terrific idea, cheapest data I have ever seen. TIM works best in Sorrento & Amalfi Coast, cheers
  14. edatmpa macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2010
    TIM prepaid SIM in Italy

    I recently traveled to Rome, Naples and Sicily in Sept 2011. I bought TIM prepaid SIM with an Internet plan. The SIM, activation cost and 1GB of data download, cost me 34EU. With a 10EU refill I got 5 GB more and a one month extension for usage. 10 days of usage traveling and using it for email, surfing and, very importantly, GPS and map application put me at about 1GB. TIM service varies between 3G and Edge, but mostly 3G. The coverage was very good. Almost no blank spots outdoor. Indoor signal is usually not very good. I was able to use it almost continuously on the train from Rome to Napoli (except when in tunnels). With good signal and 3G I was able to use Skype with very clear sound. If you are traveling to Rome, it is likely that your first destination is the Termini train station in central Rome. You can buy your prepaid SIM there. You will need your passport as required by Italy law. The TIM shop is on the 2nd floor towards the front of the terminal. They will activate it immediately and put it in your iPhone for you. It will work immediately. If you are visiting Italy on your own, it is an indispensable tool. You will be able to travel without getting lost using the GPS and Google map. Otherwise it is a guarantee that you will get lost. You will also be able to find good restaurants and tourist destinations near you using same. Be aware that Rome and Naples and other tourist destination in Italy are full of thieves eyeing your wallet and iPhone. If you do not have a run-in with them, you will be in the minority. I had 2 encounters in 10 days. One, a purse snatching from a motorcycle attempt on the street of Naples. Two, an attempt to steal a backpack that someone just momentarily put down at a train station in a group of 10 friends!
  15. fbutera macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2012
    iPhone 3G

    I still have an iPhone 3G sitting in a drawer, now de-activated, after upgrading to the 4S. Could I take the 3G to Europe and get a new SIM card as described above and not bother messing with my new phone?

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