Cell phones in Italy

Apr 29th, 2003, 07:03 PM
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Cell phones in Italy

Hello all - I've been struggling with this question for a long time. I am traveling to Italy in late May for 2 weeks. We will be doing a lot of driving, so we want to get a cell phone for both safety and convinience.

When we were in France last year we figured we'll just buy a pay as you go cell phone there, but by the time we found a retail store, didn't speak the language, and had a hard time understanding if I had to wait 2 weeks for the phone to be activated and what not, we ended up not getting one.

I have AT&T wireless in the US, and there is a phone (Siemens S46) that 'should' work in Italy, but I just read a review that the phone has to be unlocked to put in a prepaid card. So I'd rather stay away from that.

We're flying into Milan, if that's of any relevance.

Please help me figure this phone thing out.

Thanks in advance,
PabloG is offline  
Apr 29th, 2003, 07:39 PM
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I need this info as well.
julierose is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 03:18 PM
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julierose, if you hear anything please post it here. I will do the same.

PabloG is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 03:44 PM
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Type "cell phone" and/or "mobile phone" (European terminology) into the text box at the top of this page to pull up MANY prior threads on this subject with tons of specific information.

Although this recent thread is re the UK, it references options that would apply throughout Europe, and there is a link to a second thread as well. Read both:

Lesli is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 03:47 PM
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Even better, "cell phone AND italy":

Lesli is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 04:52 PM
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When we were in Florence for a few weeks in March, I followed someone's advice (Rex or Bob the Navigator, can't recall, sorry guys) and purchased a cell phone. With my fractured Italian, I entered a camera store, which I knew didn't sell phones, but figured they might help me. Dove posso comprare un Cell Phone?? The kind gentleman directed me to a large electronics store nearby, and we did the deal. I indicated that I needed a battery already charged, and we did a 30 euro prepay worth of time. No contract needed. It was total about 100 euro. And now I have a phone to use on subsequent trips. It worked very well. I immediately called someone at home and gave them the number. They called me immediately back, and so we felt really good that we could be contacted by the folks at home, and used the phone to make reservations etc. Most folks in the cities do speak some English, enough to get the message across. Good Luck!
Peggyann is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 01:37 AM
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Here is my two cents: buy a dual-band phone in the US and get your AA&T plan extended to cover roaming international. With rebates, you can buy a Nokia tri-band for about $87. You will then have a phone that works in the US and everywhere in Europe and Asia (except Japan). AT&T charges something like &3 a month for roaming international, and you can cancel at any time, so you can just get if for the months you are travelling. The costs per minute is not really that high, and if you only want it for emergencies and convenience I think it is worth it.

It is very hard to get a phone unlocked by a US carrier (I live in Europe and have tried.)
Cicerone is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 03:58 AM
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Actually, T-mobile in the US is very loose with unlocking phones bought from them for internationaluse. You can get an almost free T68i and after having the account for a couple of weeks, they will provie te unlock code.

T-mobile international roaming is relatively inexpensive. No monthly charge, $.29 to call Western Europe from the US (even to mobiles believe it or not) and $.99/minute to make and to receive calls in Western Europe to and from the US.

However, with unlocked phones it opens up a myriad of possibilities.

My advice is once you will be in a country for at least a week and don't just want the phone for emergencies, you buy a prepaid plan. To activate the plan, all you need do is switch the little SIM card which takes all of about 5 seconds. The advantage, the big advantage, is that calls you receive in Western Europe are free (like costs nothing, 0). Depending on the country it might not be so cheap to call North America although I know England has very cheap plans and I have read Italy does too. There are ways around this called international call back which can be free to set up where you call a number in the US but hang up before it is answered (no charg). Within 15 seconds, the company's computer calls you back on your European mobile (no charge of course) and you dial the number. You pay at a rate comparable to making a call to a mobile from the US. Sounds complicated but it works and it works well.

The big advantage is you can be reached 24/7 at no charge you; the disadvantage is diseminating your mobile number to the world of friends. You can call them, give them your number and have them call you back...you can e-mail them with your number etc. The advantage of going the roaming route wth say T-mobile is you retain your US mobile number.

The other advantage as soon as you come home, you switch the SIM card back and you're back on T-mobile. Also, if you return to the same country within a year or 6 months, you have a local mobile phone. Or you can retain your number indefinitely, at least in England, by making one call every 6 months to your voice mail.

It is neat having a local mobile when travelling in Europe. You can call to make restaurant reservations and whatever else you need to do; make and meet new friends and call them back or have them call you.

Ah 21st century technology,I love it.
xyz123 is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 06:37 AM
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Any suggestions from anyone for a son who is gonna study in Italy (Turin) for the next year? Thanks-
dutyfree is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 08:22 AM
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Well done xyz123! I couldn't have said it better myself. We will be doing a lot of calling on this trip, so we decided to purchase an international triband. $79.00. We'll pick up our SIMs in Limerick. Don't buy your SIMs in the US. They are very expensive here. I know when you get them in Ireland, you get enough rebates to make it free.

wojazz3 is offline  

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