Posts filed under ‘Cell phones’
Staying in touch with family and work is important when we travel. For Italian travelers, there are a number of options available.
First, the cell phone basics:
- Approximately half of American cell phones will work in Italy. Check with your carrier or search the specs for your phone online to make sure your phone has the correct 900/1800 bands to be used internationally.
- If your cell phone will work in Italy, you can either choose to pay roaming charges with your current provider (which can be expensive), or you can rent or purchase an Italy SIM card and put it into your UNLOCKED cell phone.
- To unlock your cell phone, contact your provider. In virtually all cases, US carriers will provide you with the unlock code as long as you have been a customer for at least 60 days.
Italian SIM Cards
There are two Italian SIM cards currently being sold in the US and Canadian markets – TIM and Uno Mobile (Vodafone). Here are the main differences between the two:
- The Uno Mobile SIM card is already registered (no passport information required), has English prompts and customer service. The rates are as follows; free incoming, 0.09 Euros per minute for calls within Italy and 0.35 Euros per minute calling to the US or Canada.
- The TIM service offers free incoming calls, 0.55 to call to North America and local calls vary depending on the “profile” you get. Furthermore, you need to scan your passport in order to activate your SIM card.
As the Uno Mobile SIM card was created for the English-speaking traveler to Italy, it much more convenient than other services and less expensive to use. It is available online through CellularAbroad.
Renting/Buying an Italian cell phone
If you travel to Italy frequently or if you plan to be in Italy for more than 30 days, purchasing an Italian cell phone from CellularAbroad bundled with a prepaid SIM card is an economical option for staying in touch locally and internationally.
- Cell phone instructions, prompts, and live customer service are all in English.
- Incoming calls and voicemail are free.
- Minutes can be added to the phone four different ways: prior to departure from the U.S.; by contacting CellularAbroad from Italy; by texting a code on the phone; or at various storefront locations in Italy.
Whether you decide to purchase or rent a phone, you can receive it via UPS prior to departure and it will be ready for immediate use upon arrival in Italy; the cost of the purchase/rental includes one initial call credit voucher worth 28 international minutes or 112 local minutes.
Another great new option for staying connected while traveling is renting an Italy MiFi device through CellularAbroad. This device provides mobile WiFi access nearly everywhere you go in Italy and unlimited data. If you’re an iPhone user and wish to use your phone in Italy, Italy MiFi will save you money in excess data charges! The device can be used with up to five devices–ideal if you’re renting a villa with friends and family. The MiFi is slightly smaller than a cell phone and has a rechargeable battery life of approximately 4 hours.
- The MiFi allows you to use your iPhone for surfing, roaming, and posting unlimited photos.
- Avoid paying for wireless anywhere you’re staying, or having to coordinate with the hotel front desk to set up access.
Photo courtesy of ElvertBarnes@Flickr