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Home Italy Travel Blog How to Get a SIM Card in Italy

How to Get a SIM Card in Italy

written by Mickey Iacono-Walsh December 2, 2019
how to get a sim card in italy

Today, it is easier than ever before to have your phone up and running when you land in Europe. Here is our guide to how to get a SIM card in Italy.


Traveling to Italy?

 When you arrive in Italy, you will want to eat. And eating bad pizza is the biggest sin you can commit when  in the bel paese, so we got you covered with our ultimate guide to Pizza in Italy.  

Once your belly is full, you will want to do some exploring, so check out our Three Rome tours for the perfect dose of the Eternal City. 

Option 1: Use Your Own Phone with your US Network

Up until a few years ago, it was either impossible or incredibly expensive to use your phone in Italy without getting an Italian SIM Card. Roaming charges could turn into hundreds of dollars and the service would be shaky at best.

Now though, the major four US cell phone providers have partnered with Italian companies to have American phones work abroad. Below is the breakdown by provider of how to use your phone in Italy:

Verizon and AT&T:

verizon sim card

Verizon and AT&T allow you to use your phone abroad for $10 a day per line. This option is ideal as it works for most countries in Europe. If you are traveling to multiple countries, your phone will automatically connect.

To unlock your phone internationally, you should reach out to your provider before you leave, ideally at least a few days before. Here is how you can reach out to Verizon and AT&T.

Verizon International Plan or (800) 711-8300

AT&T International Day Pass or (800)-335-4685

Sprint:

sprint sim cards

 

 

Most Sprint plans include international coverage if you have a smartphone. Beware though, that Sprint abroad does have reduced internet speed.

T-Mobile:

t mobile sim card

 

Of the four main carriers, T-Mobile is a multinational company based in Germany. The main perk of this is that with T-Mobile, your phone will connect automatically in Europe without additional charge.

Option 2: Get an Italy SIM Card

italian sim card

Many phones today are luckily sold “unlocked.” When locked, it means that if you buy your phone through your provider, the phone will only tend to work with a SIM card from that provider. Example: Bought your phone through Verizon? Without unlocking your phone, your phone will only tend to take Verizon SIM cards. But, Verizon does not exist in Italy. So, what do you do?

If your phone was made before 2015, check with your carrier to make sure that your phone is unlocked or how it can be unlocked.

Choosing the Right Plan

The following providers are most popular in Italy, especially with pay as you go sim deals: Vodafone, TIM, WIND and 3 (Three).  You’ll be able to find all of these shops in any big city such as Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, etc. What’s important to note is that you will need to bring a form of I.D. with you, preferably a passport, when buying a local SIM in Italy.

The Roman Guy has a ton of experience organizing SIM cards for visitors in Italy. According to our Italy Trip Planning Department, our number one provider for SIM cards is TIM. They are easy to work with and you can usually find someone in their stores that speaks English and is willing to help.

TIM offers a wide range of deals too, which means they have something for everyone. You can find their stores in any major city in Italy and can even buy their SIM cards online!

Topping Up

Once you’ve purchased your pay-as-you-go SIM, you can top it up on the go. Topping up your SIM card essentially means adding more data after you have used it up. You can do this by downloading the provider’s app, or going to one of their stores and doing it in person.

If you are visiting for up to two weeks, we recommend using your American plan abroad. If you are staying more than a couple weeks, the SIM Card could save a good amount of money. For Sprint and T-Mobile, keep your US plan as you do not need to worry about additional charges.


I Want More Italy!

  • If you want us to arrange the entertainment in Rome (and beyond!), contact our Trip Planning Team to coordinate an unforgettable Italian experience.
  • Check out our YouTube video and step-by-step guide about how to do Rome in a Day. If you’d rather let us guide you, check out our Rome tours.
  • Not sure where to stay in Rome? Read this guide!
  • Follow our adventures in Italy on FacebookInstagram and YouTube. Then, comment and tell us what you want us to cover next.

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6 comments

Debbie Steves November 13, 2018 at 3:45 am

My son will be studying abroad in Rome’s SJU campus. We are planning to visit him in March and would like any suggestions you may have for staying at an Air B n B near the University. Are you able to assist with that?

Reply
Kayla Schorr November 14, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Ciao Debbie! That’s awesome. We’d love to welcome you on one of our Rome tours while you’re here! Rome’s SJU campus is located in Prati, which is very close to the Vatican. If booking an Airbnb, as long as you’re in close proximity to the Vatican, you’re in the right neighborhood!

Reply
Don September 15, 2019 at 9:30 pm

Hello, we are planning os being in Sicily for 10 days in late October. After reading up on various plans, I’m leaning toward Vodaphone, as they have the best coverage, and we are driving all over by ourselves. There are four of us, and rather than waste the better part of two hours in a store, it seems that some are saying I can buy the SIM cards online and register them also online. Is this possible with Vodaphone?

Reply
Kayla Schorr September 20, 2019 at 8:07 pm

Ciao Don! Thanks for checking out our blog. This should definitely be possible with Vodaphone. Hope you have a lovely trip!

Reply
Marry Walker December 12, 2019 at 1:07 pm

Was beginning to wonder if my question was dumb until I found this page where I easily got my answer (and more) to:“Why would I need an iPad Pro with cellular when I have my phone hotspot?”I will definitely be getting the cellular on the new IPAD.

Reply
Jaimie Susson December 26, 2019 at 1:51 pm

Thanks for reading Marry! We are glad you found our blog useful!

Reply

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