Buying Wind or Tim sim card

Sep 16th, 2016, 11:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 71
Buying Wind or Tim sim card

I am driving from Nice to Alba on a Sunday, and want to get a sim card for my 8 days in Italy. Do you want where can I get a sim card form either Wind or Tim? I prefer Wind's Italy Tourist Pass, but Tim is OK too.

Do the wireless companies sell the tourist sim card in supermarkets, tabacconists, and newsstands?

Orange France offers the Orange Holiday for 40 Euro, and is able to use in Italy. However, it only has 1GB data. My whole vacation is 15 days, with 7 days in France and 8 in Italy. What will be the best plan to get connected? Thank you.
atam is offline  
Sep 17th, 2016, 12:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,321
No. Because of the need to register your ID (take your passport) before activation (this is required by Italian government), you can only buy a SIM card in a shop run by one of the network providers such as a WIND or TIM shop, other specialist phone shops or larger electrical retailers who are agents for various networks. So it will be difficult on a Sunday when network shops are closed (except perhaps at an airport) and most other stores as well.
Alec is offline  
Sep 17th, 2016, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,527
Some supermarkets do sell SIM cards, often their own brands, but it might not be easy to find one open on a Sunday.

1 gb is not really a small amount. It would be sufficient for me for a 15-day holiday. I use the data for internet browsing, mapping, and email, mostly. Some activities, such as uploading multiple photos to social networks, I do only when I have a wifi connection. I also make sure to turn off automatic updates of software.

If you find you've used more than half of it in the first week, you might still have enough left to last until Monday, when it will be easier to find a vendor. Any place that sells phones (small appliance shops, electronics shops, and many camera shops, as well as phone stores) will also sell SIM cards.

Wind's Italy Tourist Pass costs €20, in addition to €10 for the SIM card. TIM's TIM for Visitors plan costs the same, but has more data (4gb instead of 2gb). Vodafone Holiday likewise costs €20, and has 2gb. All three should be sufficient as far as data goes, but if you'll be in rural areas, I would choose TIM or Vodafone, because Wind has spottier coverage outside major towns.
bvlenci is offline  
Sep 17th, 2016, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Roaming rates for data are supposed to be capped at some point in 2017 in the eu. Is there any information yet on just what the rates will be? It just may be possible, for example, to buy and activate a British sim card, easily done on ebay without any registration nonsense and have it up and running in advance of a trip say to Italy (I ask this because British sim cards are easy to get and inexpensive on ebay). Also one could hope that t mobile, for example, will repeat for Americans the same promotion they ran this summer with unlimited high speed data in Europe but I'm not holding my breath.
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2016, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,527
The EU were supposed to have already capped data roaming rates by now, but they caved into the pressure of the telecom companies. I'm not holding my breath. Even if they do cap rates, it's likely that data roaming will still have some sort of limit, such as a limit on the quantity of data. I wouldn't consider buying a British SIM card for use only in France and Italy.

xyz, have you actually used British SIM cards bought on EBay? I ask because we were in Northern Ireland this summer and bought (in a store) both Vodafone and EE SIM cards. I didn't find it at all easy to get them up and running, and I'm a bit of a techie.

Part of the problem is that cell reception was awful in rural northern Ireland. But the process of topping up online (without a UK credit card) and setting up an actual plan was not at all straightforward. I had to create an account online, log in and choose my plan, paying for it with Paypal, then they had to send me a code by SMS to the phone which I had to enter into the web site within 20 minutes in order to activate the plan.

The hilarious thing was, because of the terrible cell reception, four different times I got as far as choosing the plan, but failed to get the SMS within 20 minutes. I finally got it set up, but I certainly wouldn't call it a snap.

Just understanding what was and wasn't included with the various PAYG plans was a bit of an enterprise as well. The best data plans seemed to require some sort of contract.
bvlenci is offline  
Sep 17th, 2016, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Hi bvlenci...I just threw it out as an idea that may be viable in the future, let me stress that. It is not an option right now.

However, British sim cards, at least for Americans, are the easiest to deal with. Leaving aside the reception in rural areas of Britain (which I know is a problem with some carriers), we are sort of discussing using them for roaming which would of course depend on the network you are roaming on, right?

Yes, I bought before last summer's trip to Europe a vodafone UK sim card on ebay. Cost 99p with 50p for postage (understand if I wait till I get to the UK, it would be free but £1.45 is no big deal. At that time, I set up an account with with no problem. I wanted to know my number before I left. At that point in time, vodafone uk would only allow top ups using a credit card with a uk postal code, something that is quite frankly ridiculous. However, I found this web site which allows me to top up any UK sim card for an additional 99p surcharge (they send you via email the top up code). Since then, however, I have discovered vodafone uk now takes paypal for topping up. I then a couple of days before I left had everything up and running. Arrived in the UK, turned on my phoone and voila it registered on vodafone. Used it for roaming on my Mediterranean cruise although no caps yet on data roaming. For calls outside the eu, I had to use workarounds which I won't describe here. No registration and I would assume if data rates in the eu are capped, this might be a good deal. Ebay vendors have almost all the UK sim cards available for 99p
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2016, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Just to finish the thoughts, right now as you know the whole industry is in a state of change. For Americans, for example, at this point in time probably tmobile USA is an excellent alternative. Unlimited text messages for free, calls for 20¢ US and lots of data albeit slow included with many of their grandfathered plans and now with their new plan. If your hotel has wifi, the data of course becomes no problem. This past summer, they ran a promotion and stopped slowing down the data. Whether they will repeat that in the future or it will become standard, who knows. But while you can certainly with a little research and/or technical knowledge do better than 20¢/minute for calls, it is certainly not exorbitant and for some, it is the simplest way to do it and may be viable for many Americans, even with the slow speeds if, and yes it's a big if, tmobile is a viable alternative where they live
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2016, 12:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,458
A few points to consider.

1. You can find places to buy sim cards on a Sunday. Generally in the commercial centres (malls) or ipermarkets most of which are open in Italy on Sunday. Sometimes an ipermarket will sell sim cards for all the main mobile companies - TIM, Wind, Vodafone and 3. However, if you find a commercial centre with a dedicated shop this might be better as then you can more easily get certain add-ons such as extra data etc.
2. You sim is not immediately activated but works within 24 hours. If you purchase it on the Sunday it is more than likely it will be working on Monday morning.
3. Obviously you should hook up to free wifi - hotel, certain bars, certain stations etc but I always look for a package with a decent amount of GB. Use data connections to make calls either via Skype (including Skype out) and Whatsapp.
4. Make sure you turn off those apps which consume data in the background. If your car does not have a navigation system you can use Google maps with turn by turn verbal indications. However, this can be quite heavy on data so only use it right at the end to find your hotel or other destination.
5. Roaming rates for 2017 - the EU set out their plans recently and as bvlenci said they were more restrictive than originally envisaged due to pressure from the telecoms. This caused an uproar with consumer bodies across the continent so revised plans are to be expected.
nochblad is offline  
Sep 18th, 2016, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,527
A slight modification of Nochblad's post. You can now get turn-by-turn directions with Google maps by downloading in advance the map you'll need using a wifi connection. At one time, you could download the map, but not get turn-by-turn directions, but that's changed.
bvlenci is offline  
Sep 19th, 2016, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 0
I would stay away from TIM. My husband paid for a visitors plan last Thursday at the Rome airport and it still hasn't been activated. On Sunday we went to the TIM at Termini Station and he assured us it would be activated that day. That didn't happen. We are in Sorrento and the local TIM claims he can't activate it. I'm calling the TIM at the airport tomorrow and telling them to activate it immediately or I will advise my credit card company to stop payment. Apparently each TIM is individually owned so they are not willing to help if you don't buy it from them
MBreezy53 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2016, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,292
Ive used TIM muliple times and had no issue with activation. Why didnt your phone get activated when you bought the card? I would advise making sure its working before you leave the store as TIM will send you a series of texts immediately. I just bought a TIM sim last week in southern Italy and before I could finish paying the texts were coming in.

FWIW - Ive used the TIM store in Roma Termini several times with no problems. They are a hassle to reach if you have luggage because they are upstairs (no elevator that of).

The only issue I ever had wit TIM was years ago in Orvieto. The sim did not activate and the shop was closed (small town store with limited hours) when I went back to see about it. I was heading to Florence and got it activated there.
kybourbon is offline  
Sep 20th, 2016, 02:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 0
We were told at the airport that it would take at least 2 hours to activate. When we went to Termini, they were telling people that the system was down so they couldn't activate the cards for a few hours. Next time we'll definitely know better. Thanks for the info.
MBreezy53 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2016, 04:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,527
I'm sorry for your problem, but it seems to be an isolated incident that could happen with any of the phone companies. Many people, including family members of mine, have used the TIM for Visitors plan with no problem at all.

Wind has very spotty service where we live, and in many other rural areas, but it's probably all right in major cities. Vodafone and TIM both have excellent nationwide coverage.
bvlenci is offline  
Sep 21st, 2016, 12:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,205
Mmmmmmm Tim Sims.......
Blueeyedcod is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:30 PM.