eSIM vs SIM cards at FCO/Roma Termini?

Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 08:08 PM
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eSIM vs SIM cards at FCO/Roma Termini?

Hi,

I'm deciding between bringing my phone (not eSim compatible) and another phone (eSim compatible) to Europe with me. Both are unlocked. I'm leaning toward just bringing my phone and getting a physical sim at FCO/Roma Termini since prices don't seem to be THAT different between eSim and sim. I've read the prices can be significantly different between booths at Termini and FCO, though.

I'll primarily be using my data to navigate, so I don't anticipate using a lot (traveling for 25 days). Typically in a billing cycle I use 10-12GB, but that's because I have unlimited in the U.S. and I use my phone a lot. I think I can get away with using maybe 5GB + topping up since I can use wifi to make international calls/send pictures through Facebook Messenger.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any recent experiences with any of the SIM providers (from what I read, TIM, Windtre, and Vodafone - Iliad won't work for me since I'm also going to 3 other EU countries). The latest reviews I could find were glaringly negative and apparently sometimes didn't even work at all, but I do understand that most people who have a good experience don't bother leaving reviews.

Thanks for any input!
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 12:57 AM
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I think at the moment TIM is the only one offering a tourist package with roaming. Wind wasn't offering roaming and Vodafone seems to have killed off their tourist offer.

The normal non tourist SIMs are more and more requiring longer term commitments from buyers. But you could see if anybody would sell you one.

The shops at Termini are I think all company stores.
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
I think at the moment TIM is the only one offering a tourist package with roaming. Wind wasn't offering roaming and Vodafone seems to have killed off their tourist offer.

The normal non tourist SIMs are more and more requiring longer term commitments from buyers. But you could see if anybody would sell you one.

The shops at Termini are I think all company stores.

We got a TIM sim in Palermo in April, valid for a month, I believe it had 70GB data, way more than we used. Free calls and texting calls, some amount of international calls too. We paid €30-35, don’t remember exactly. We had no problems at all and used the sim in Greece too.

I was told this is the only tourist package with international roaming, which we needed because of our subsequent travel to Greece.
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 02:02 AM
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The tourist package is 15GB. But if the OP is using Google maps they can download the maps before leaving home. Just directions take almost no data.
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
The tourist package is 15GB. But if the OP is using Google maps they can download the maps before leaving home. Just directions take almost no data.
What we got had way too much data, much more than what we needed or used. Not sure if it was a tourist sim as a lot of paperwork was involved, which then had to be uploaded to some (government?) site, took almost an hour before the sim was activated.

I remember 70 because initially I thought they were saying €70, then the agent explained it was 70GB

Last edited by geetika; Jun 24th, 2022 at 02:29 AM.
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 03:38 AM
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https://www.tim.it/en/landline-mobil...ly/tim-tourist

That's the tourist package.

If it took an hour my guess is it wasn't a company store but a third party reseller. Electronics shops for example. Usually the company stores have quicker activatations .
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
https://www.tim.it/en/landline-mobil...ly/tim-tourist

That's the tourist package.

If it took an hour my guess is it wasn't a company store but a third party reseller. Electronics shops for example. Usually the company stores have quicker activatations .
It was the TIM store in Palermo, but their system was extremely slow and it took for ever to upload the documents.

At Athens airport we got a Vodafone sim for my nephew and it was done in 10-15 minutes
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 05:37 AM
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Pack a lot of patience when you go to the TIM store in Roma Termini. Take a number and wait for your turn.

The agents and the customers who were already talking to agents seemed to take their time to discuss various things (in Italian, so I did not understand what was taking them so long) to make a decision.

Of course, you may be lucky to walk in at a time when there is an agent free to help you right away.
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 08:29 AM
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I used an e-sim which I bought weeks before my trip to France and I don't think I'll ever go back to buying a sim card again. I don't know what the situation is in Italy regarding options you can buy in advance, but I loved having that sorted out before my flight, and only having to go to my setting to go live with my Orange holiday sim.
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by twk View Post
I used an e-sim which I bought weeks before my trip to France and I don't think I'll ever go back to buying a sim card again. I don't know what the situation is in Italy regarding options you can buy in advance, but I loved having that sorted out before my flight, and only having to go to my setting to go live with my Orange holiday sim.
twk, how did you get the e-sim for France, did it have roaming? I’ll need a sim for our week in Paris in August, followed by a Norway fjords cruise out of Amsterdam. Need to start researching this, but would appreciate your tips in the meantime. Thanks 😊
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 12:33 PM
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I used an Orange sim for France, but I think this one for Europe might be better if you are doing multiple countries:

Orange E-SIM
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 09:57 AM
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Unless something has changed very recently, a SIM card bought in one European country has to be valid in all EU countries with no additional charges. In other words, if you buy a SIM card with 50 GB of data in Italy, you can use that data throughout the EU. There's no need for roaming plans now for travel within the EU.

In fact, I don't see why an Idiad plan wouldn't be required to hold to the same conditions.

I know TIM has an "International" add-on for new customers only who are foreign citizens, which allows you to make calls and send texts to your home country (if it's included in the plan) at reasonable rates. I think this add-on is free.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by twk View Post
I used an Orange sim for France, but I think this one for Europe might be better if you are doing multiple countries:

Orange E-SIM
Thanks twk, will look into this, appreciate your input 👍
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
Unless something has changed very recently, a SIM card bought in one European country has to be valid in all EU countries with no additional charges. In other words, if you buy a SIM card with 50 GB of data in Italy, you can use that data throughout the EU. There's no need for roaming plans now for travel within the EU.
.
EU roaming rules don't apply to tourists. The fair use provision requires the buyer to normally use the SIM in their home country.
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
In fact, I don't see why an Idiad plan wouldn't be required to hold to the same conditions.

I know TIM has an "International" add-on for new customers only who are foreign citizens, which allows you to make calls and send texts to your home country (if it's included in the plan) at reasonable rates. I think this add-on is free.
bvlenci, for whatever reason we were told neither Iliad nor Vodafone would work, so we didn’t even bother to check. I couldn’t find a kiosk or store selling sims at Palermo airport, Relay didn’t have them, so I just went to the TIM store in town.

You’re right, TIM gave some free international calls and texts, though with whatsapp you calling internationally is both easy and free 😃
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Old Jun 27th, 2022, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
EU roaming rules don't apply to tourists. The fair use provision requires the buyer to normally use the SIM in their home country.
I believe "home country" means the home country of the network that sold the SIM card and plan. I know some people were buying SIM cards in countries with reasonably priced plans, with the intention of using them in a different country. There is therefore a limit to how long you can continue to use a phone plan outside the country where it was bought.

When a non-EU national buys a SIM card and prepaid data plan in the EU, how would the provider distinguish a tourist from a recent immigrant or someone with a work or study visa? When my daughters visit me, they usually buy a prepaid Italian plan, not a plan for tourists. They have to show their passports, but they've never asked whether they are European residents or short-term visitors. In order to enforce roaming charges outside of Italy, they would have to flag that plan as belonging to a temporary visitor.

If I'm mistaken about this, I'd like to see some official explanation of the policy.
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Old Jun 27th, 2022, 08:58 AM
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Wind.it used to have the information their website but they're now including roaming so it's been removed.

They do things like this to stop tourists buying normal offers

https://www.windtre.it/all-inclusive...e-5g-easy-pay/

Per tutti i nuovi Clienti, l’Offerta prevede un costo di attivazione di 49,99€: il Cliente può scegliere se pagare in un’unica soluzione oppure versare una quota di 6,99€ all’attivazione e 24 rate mensili di 1,80€. In tal caso verrà riconosciuto uno sconto sul costo mensile dell’Offerta di importo pari alla rata del costo di attivazione per tutto il periodo di rateizzazione, a condizione che l’Offerta rimanga attiva per la durata della rateizzazione di 24 mesi. In caso di recesso anticipato, prima dei 24 mesi, sarà addebitata la restante parte del costo di attivazione per i soli mesi di mancata permanenza, a rate o in unica soluzione, secondo la scelta effettuata dal cliente.
You're getting a two year plan not something a tourist is going to want.

Okay found this

Condizioni generali di contratto per il servizio mobile prepagato - Per il consumatore - Vodafone

In particolare, il Cliente dovrà: 1) dimostrare di avere legami stabili con l’Italia (c.d. “stable links”) qualora richiesto; 2) essere presente prevalentemente sul territorio nazionale anziché in altri Stati Membri dell’Unione; 3) effettuare traffico nazionale in misura prevalente rispetto al consumo in roaming.
Yes they can monitor you for the four months but tourist plans start out with the idea you don't have stable links to Italy. That's why it's a tourist plan.

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