What is this Tim phone that I have?

Old Aug 27th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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What is this Tim phone that I have?

OK, I'm electronically challenged. Several years ago we bought a mobile phone and minutes package in Italy on the spur of the moment when we were desperately trying to track lost luggage. It says "TIM" on the outside of the phone. After reading some of the forums here, I think that the little bitty black thing in the inside is a SIM card with a "TIM" logo. This SIM and TIM stuff is new to me. Not being able to read the instructions with the phone because they are in Italian, whenever we needed more minutes we scrounged around for a phone store where we could buy minutes. We would prevail on the salesperson to add them for us because we had no idea of what to do. This could be a real adventure because we stick to small towns and there are not many stores there. If memory serves me correctly, the cards in the tabacchi stores wouldn't work on our phone. Is this because of the brand of our SIM card or did we just not understand what to do? It would be much easier to have another way to add minutes without having to find a store that carries these cards. Also does anyone know the rate from Italy to the US for these cards and if incoming calls are charged. We just buy the cards, but really don't understand how much we are paying per minute. We're going back next month to Italy and would appreciate some light on this.
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Old Aug 27th, 2007, 08:49 PM
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Cellphone networks that use GSM standards (like ATT and T-Mobile in the USA) use a SIM card to identify your phone (and implicitly you and your subscription plan) to the network. TIM is a GSM network in Italy. I've no experience with them myself, but the following link will get you started on their current prepaid plans: http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/italia/tim.html

SIM cards from other networks probably won't work in your phone (it'll be "locked" to TIM because they subsidized its price). I think your best bet is to find a store with the TIM logo and ask them to add minutes. There's a chance the SIM card may have expired through lack of use -- in which case buy a new one: they are only 10 euros with 5 euros of talk time included, but you may need a Codice Fiscale. See
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Old Aug 28th, 2007, 12:36 AM
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Most Italian phones, contract and PAYG, are sold unlocked. Some are locked, usually the latest, hi-tec handsets. I doubt if your older TIM phone is locked - check by inserting another SIM card. If it says something like 'SIM invalid' or 'Enter code', it's locked.
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Old Aug 28th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Thanks for the info. Maybe I should buy a different SIM card for the phone if it is unlocked. Which SIM cards seem to be sold the most?
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Old Aug 28th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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In Italy, the big 3 are TIM, WIND and Vodafone IT...pretty much the same.
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