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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 09:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 251

Yes, another posting about the cell phones in Italy . . .

Is there anywhere at the Rome Airport that I can Purchase a TIM SIM card for a GSM cell phone.

I have explored this cell phone thing to death and before getting gouged by the rental phones and mailed to you SIM cards I may just purchase one when I get to the airport in ROME.

What does a TIM SIM card cost and how may minutes does in include? What is the cost per minute to make a call to an Italian phone number? How about from Italy to the US? I understand you can add minutes if needed.

Is there a difference between the service at TIM and the service at VODAPHONE and the cost per minute at each?

How long does it take to activate either of these?

moo is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2009, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,437
I couldn't find one when I was there in September. I asked several places and was told only in departure area. In addition, the TIM store in Termini was out of cards.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Feb 15th, 2009, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,378
There are TIM, Vodafone and 3 phone stores at Fiumicino airport, but I think they are all airside for departure, so inaccessible for those arriving there.
TIM SIM card is called 'Prepagata', and costs 10 euro with 5 euro call credit.
Activating shouldn't take more than a few minutes. The store has to take down your passport details to generate (unofficial) fiscal code (codice fiscale) and then have to make one chargeable call to activate it.
TIM has myriads of PAYG options, but the basic tariff costs 0.30 euro per min to call a number in Italy. And if you activate 'Welcome Home' option (ask the store to do it while you are there), calls to US will cost 0.19 euro set-up fee plus 0.30 euro/min. Normal rate is very expensive at around 2 euro/min (+ set-up fee).
Vodafone has similar tariffs, but like TIM, has a bewildering range of options to make direct comparison difficult. WIND is another operator with similar service, and tends to be a little cheaper than TIM.
You have to go into a TIM, Vodafone or other telecom (cellphone) store to buy and activate a SIM.
Alec is online now  
Old Feb 16th, 2009, 06:31 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 34
I also looked at the airport. No luck. I bought one at theTIM store at the train station. It is on the second floor of the retail section, across from a McDonalds or Burger King, if I remember.

I bought a 10 Euro recharge at a tabacco shop but the directions were all in Italian. I had to have a person in a shop activate it for me. I believe their is an English set of directions if you know the code, but I didn't have it with me so I was at the mercy of the kindness of stangers.

The SIM worked well. A great part of using the SIM is being able to receive calls free. I could call my husband in the US and let it ring just once or twice. Then he called me back using low-cost MCI telephone card and we could talk without using my TIM minutes.
Drowden is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2009, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 512
just an FYI - I have never been able to find someone to issue me a new SI with an "(unofficial) fiscal code." - even in a town where they know me (have had to go back to my house to get my codice fiscale) - I do not believe they are supposed to allow it and you really do need a fiscal code and passport to purchase a SIM in Italy. Honestly, I would pay the few extra $ and purchase over the internet before you go if you really know you will need one - it could save the hassle of going to every cell phone shop to try and find a clerk who is willing to overlook the need for a codice fiscale (tax ID#) your local consulate before your trip and apply for a fiscal code. You do not need to be an Italian resident and some consulates will have the forms available on their websites and email you your number.
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2009, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Go to

At the bottom of the page on Italian national operators, you will find instructions for generating the codice fiscale...

The web is run by an Italian person si I assume he knows what he's talking about
xyz123 is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2009, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 512
I have been told in the past they are not accurate and you ware not supposed to use that method...I don't know anything about the generated ones at all though, so who knows...maybe they work fine (?) I can tell you though that I just tried it and my generated one did not come out the same as my actual one (have no idea if this would matter just for a SIM though!)
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
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