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Smart Phone for 4 months in Florence

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I am sure that the experienced folks here must be tired of answering questions about mobile phone usage in Europe, but I was not able to find an answer to my question when I did a search. My daughter will be studying in Florence for the spring semester. Our provider is Verizon and she has an iPhone 4s. Of course, that means that the phone is "locked." We are not worried about her ability to contact home. She will take the phone anyway, turn off the data, and use Viber to contact us when she has a wifi connection. We did this when she was in Turkey and Spain last summer and it was fine.

However, on the ground in Italy she is looking for actual smart phone capabilities. Will she be best served to wait until arrival in Florence and buy a smart phone and a "pay as you go" plan? Or should we buy an unlocked smart phone from ebay and have her buy a card (would that still be a SIM card or is it something else when data is involved?) in Florence? I don't know if it will be especially easy or cheap for a foreigner to buy a smart phone and data plan in Italy, but they are not exactly giving away unlocked smart phones on ebay, either. So, any suggestions are much appreciated!

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