Traveling to Rome - Details for buying a microsim needed

robby818

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 2, 2007
583
5
I will be traveling to Rome for a few days and want to use my U.S. iPad while I am there. I am researching options and it looks like there are two Providers who sell microsim cards that will work with the iPad- Vodafone and Tre (3).

If anyone has experience with using either Vodafone or Tre Italia, I'd appreciate hearing some advice...

1. Which one should I go with? Vodafone or Tre?

2. Where's the best place to buy a microsim card? Airport?

3. Vodaphone sells a €2/day card, but is it true that you need to start by buying a €30 card to top up? Does the Tre card work the same way? Tre is cheaper at €5 for 3 GB/month, but does Tre require that one tops up at €30 first too?

4. Settings on the iPad?

Operator: – Vodafone Omnitel
GPRS APN: – web.omnitel.it
Username: – {blank}
Password: – {blank}


I'll post about my experience, include some pics for future travelers. Grazie tanto!
 

mcdj

macrumors G3
Jul 10, 2007
8,905
4,096
NYC
can't tell you about Tre, and not sure what Vodafone's policy in Italy is, but I can tell you that I traveled to England in June and had hoped to get a prepaid microsim from one of the carriers for my iPad. EVERY one of them required a UK billing address and an ID with a UK address...02, Voda, and Orange.
 

Ciclismo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2010
824
64
Germany
can't tell you about Tre, and not sure what Vodafone's policy in Italy is, but I can tell you that I traveled to England in June and had hoped to get a prepaid microsim from one of the carriers for my iPad. EVERY one of them required a UK billing address and an ID with a UK address...02, Voda, and Orange.
Same goes for Italy. You will need a local to buy you a SIM card, even (or especially) for Prepay. This goes for all the providers a.f.a.I.k. I think it is an attempt to avoid having criminals gain an advantage through disposable phones.
 

robby818

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 2, 2007
583
5
Same goes for Italy. You will need a local to buy you a SIM card, even (or especially) for Prepay. This goes for all the providers a.f.a.I.k. I think it is an attempt to avoid having criminals gain an advantage through disposable phones.
Wow, that is interesting. I read that you must show a passport but no residency requirements, in fact they do not even need credit card info. if you buy a pre-paid card.
 

Ciclismo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2010
824
64
Germany
Wow, that is interesting. I read that you must show a passport but no residency requirements, in fact they do not even need credit card info. if you buy a pre-paid card.
My experience (in two different stores, in two different cities, 12 months apart) was that even an EU passport wasn't enough. If my fiancee hadn't been there with her "Carta d'identità" then I would've left empty handed. They wanted proof that the purchaser has a valid address in Italy.

edit: You also need to present a "Codice Fiscale" certificate - a little card that you get when you register for an Italian tax number.
 

colmaclean

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,656
190
Berlin
This goes for all the providers a.f.a.I.k. I think it is an attempt to avoid having criminals gain an advantage through disposable phones.
Funnily enough, it will also earn providers a lot more money through forcing users to pay international roaming fees if they want data.
 

robby818

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 2, 2007
583
5
I used Vodafon and Tre. Vodafone is cost a little bit more, but connection is really better.
That's what I suspected. Thanks for confirming.

As for the residency requirements, I am glad I posted my question here. I googled "ipad in italy" and many posts seem to say that it is quite easy to do, but those posts may be out of date. I will look for a Vodafone kiosk at the Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) Airport but if it doesn't work out then I guess I won't have internet access while in Rome. If I do get it working then I have another reason to love the iPad. It's really great to have one while on vacations in the U.S.
 

Ciclismo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2010
824
64
Germany
That's what I suspected. Thanks for confirming.

As for the residency requirements, I am glad I posted my question here. I googled "ipad in italy" and many posts seem to say that it is quite easy to do, but those posts may be out of date. I will look for a Vodafone kiosk at the Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) Airport but if it doesn't work out then I guess I won't have internet access while in Rome. If I do get it working then I have another reason to love the iPad. It's really great to have one while on vacations in the U.S.
I think it may be easier at the airport. Just have your passport to hand, as well as a copy of a booking confirmation for a hotel so that they could use that as a proof of address. Otherwise you might have to rent a SIM cad (dunno if that is actually an option).
 

robby818

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 2, 2007
583
5
I think it may be easier at the airport. Just have your passport to hand, as well as a copy of a booking confirmation for a hotel so that they could use that as a proof of address. Otherwise you might have to rent a SIM cad (dunno if that is actually an option).
Yep, I'll post about my experience here. I am glad that the iPad was released in Europe last month, it might make things easier.
 

chaleyer

macrumors newbie
Jun 28, 2010
26
8
Sydney, Oz
Hi robby818, just wondering how your trip went and if you were successful in getting a sim for the pad. I'll be there in five weeks and am hoping that it will be a straightforward transaction.
 

robby818

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 2, 2007
583
5
Hi robby818, just wondering how your trip went and if you were successful in getting a sim for the pad. I'll be there in five weeks and am hoping that it will be a straightforward transaction.
My trip is not until early September. I did find more details including locating a Vodafone store near the Spanish Steps that sells microsims. This is w/i walking distance of my hotel. I looked it up on Google street view. Vodafone has a better reputation for service (like Verizon here) so I am going with Vodafone.

Vodafone Gestioni Spa‎, Via Del Corso, 417, 00186 Roma (RM), Italy - 06 6833664‎

As for the residency requirements, I think they may have relaxed these considerably. Supposedly, a tourist just needs a passport. I will have my hotel address handy just in case.

I learned that my hotel has free wifi so I may not even bother getting a microsim card depending on how likely I am to carry around my iPad. I am there to see the country after all. :)
 

chaleyer

macrumors newbie
Jun 28, 2010
26
8
Sydney, Oz
Good tip re Vodafone, as I was going to investigate TIM.
I hit Florence on Oct 1st, but will be in Chianti and Cinque Terre for 11 days, so expect to want to use Wikihood and similar for tips in some areas.
I look forward to hearing how you go and that you have a great trip.
Thanks
 
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