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susan4 Feb 7th, 2004 02:02 PM

question re: cell phones
My husband and I are leaving for Italy in a few days. My daughter purchased a cell phone in England last summer. If we bring it with, could someone please tell me what it would cost to get the "card" or whatever we need to make it work in Italy. We are only going to be there for 9 days and will not be driving, so a cell phone is not a must.
Also, does each country have their own "card" for the cell phones, or will the Italian one work in France, etc. Thank you for any help.

Alec Feb 7th, 2004 02:20 PM

Your daughter's phone is most probably with a pay-as-you-go plan, and locked to the original service provider. It means it won't accept SIM card from any other operators, including Italian. You have to get it unlocked (many phone shops do it for around 15 euro) and then it will take a local SIM. Most UK PAYG plans can in fact be used in Italy, but it will be much more expensive (as all calls are routed via UK) and you won't be able to recharge it (top up) while in Italy. You can buy a PAYG phone in Italy (around 60-100 euro). Or just stick to calling cards.

susan4 Feb 7th, 2004 02:30 PM

What does a Sim card cost? My daughter bought the phone with the intention of using it in Australia this summer. I think she paid extra to get one that was unlocked.

xyz123 Feb 7th, 2004 02:40 PM

There are several questions that have to be dealt with...

The first is if the phone is locked. If it was bought in the UK from a pre paid provider, it most likely is. If it is a recent Nokia phone, by doing a web site you will find there exists somethng called a DT-4 calculator which will give you the unlock code provided you know which carrier it is locked to. Other makes can be unlocked by mobile phone stores in Europe as this is an every day thing.

So if it is unlocked, you can just go into a phone store in Italy and buy a SIM card. Different companies have different policies. If you read Italian, you can go to some of the italian cell phone service providers such as Vodafone Italy and read up on their tariffs. I am not familiar with Italian tariffs.

Sometimes, you can make a deal with the phone store to unlock the phone for you if they really want to sell you the SIM card pack. Otherwise, they might tell you no can do to try to have you buy a phone (which may or may not be locked) along with the SIM card.

Since you are leaving in a few days, it looks like you will have to deal with all of this in Italy.

It's certainly worth a try. The phone store will try to help you. Unlocking a phone should run about €10 - €20 as a guess.

xyz123 Feb 7th, 2004 02:44 PM

Take a look at where you can eventually get into a forum where if you put the IMEI number of the phone and the cmpany it is locked to, provided it is a fairly new Nokia, there is a web site that will provide for free the unlocking code.

Alec Feb 7th, 2004 02:52 PM

As others have said, if your phone is unlocked you can just drop an Italian SIM. SIM card costs around 30-40 euro, most of which you'll get back in call credit. If your Italian isn't good, buy it in a phone shop and get the staff to activate it for you.

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