Where to buy a SIM card in Florence?

Old Jun 8th, 2004, 03:25 PM
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Where to buy a SIM card in Florence?

I have a European cell phone which currently has a French Sim card. Apparently the fees even for incoming calls are quite high, if I use the phone "as is" with the French sim card in Italy. So I guess I need to buy a SIM card when I get to Italy. So can someone suggest a good place to get one in Florence and about how much I should expect to pay.

And am I correct that once I buy an Italian Sim card I can get incoming calls (from the US) for free while I am in Italy? That is the deal in France (free incoming calls while in France, but fees if you take the phone to another country).

I have to admit I always wondered what was wrong with people that they couldn't understand how these things work, it seems like there are massive numbers of questions about cell phone use in Europe. Well, I've now found out first hand how incredible complex it is.
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Old Jun 8th, 2004, 11:13 PM
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Isabel,

Although I have not bought a SIM card in Italy, I have bought a German SIM card for my old US world phone.

The first thing you need to check is if your phone is 'locked.' If you bought your phone for a really low price or if it was free when you bought a plan, then most likely the phone is locked. This means that only the SIM card currently in your phone will work. There are computer programs for unlocking phones available, but I hear they can break or mess up the phone.

If your phone is not locked, then getting an Italian SIM card should be no problem. Any mobile phone store, which are peppered throughout any big city, would be able to set you up. In Germany, I paid about 40 or 50 Euro, which included about 20 Euro of free air time.

Really, the only down sides to changing SIM Cards is you get an additional phone number and you have to keep track of your other SIM, so that you're not stuck with the Italian phone number when you go to France. SIM cards are very small (approx less than 1/4 inch by 1 inch), and I still carry my US SIM card in my wallet, so I won't lose it.

So long as the service provider of your SIM card has incoming free calls, then you will benefit from this feature as well.
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Old Jun 9th, 2004, 02:12 AM
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Thanks Riffic, but how do I tell if the phone if unlocked? Can I tell ahead of time or do I have to wait till I get there and ask them at the Italian store where I try to buy the SIM card?
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Old Jun 9th, 2004, 02:32 AM
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Isabel..

I ansered your question on the locking on another thread. If you are in the US or Canada right now, simply find somebody using a GSM carrier and insert the SIM card. If the phone is locked, the phone will not boot up you will get a message to the effect the wrong SIM card is in it. If the phone is unlocked, the phone may not register if the frequencies are wrong but you won't get such a message.

Ah the misinformation people throw out. Unlocking a phone will not harm a phone in the slightest. As I pointed out in other threads, if it is a Nokia phone, there are lots of web sites where you can download for free, a calculator that can figure out the unlocking code. At present, although people are working on it, such calculators have not yet been found for locked phones of manufacturers such as Motorola, Siemens, Ericsson, Sony Ericsson. I suppose there is a universal unlock code for each model which hackers are working on but as of now that means you can go to most mobile phone operators and they can unlock it for you.

Now there is a procedure called flashing a phone which will change the software embeded in the phone to make services available that some carriers wish you not to have (such as internet access). Done improperly that can damage a mobile phone.

The other caveat about unlocking a mobile phone...if you enter the wrong unlocking code more than 3 times, the phone will not be able to be unlocked by use of an unlocking code but rather you will need to do it with a cable and a software programme through your PC. Much more costly too but the phone will still work with the SIM card of the carrier which locked it in the first place.

Incidentally, a law suit has been filed in the US trying to enjoin mobile companies from locking their phones or at least requiring them after a certain amount of time to provide unlocking codes for free.

At present, for the most part T mobile is very loose with unlocking codes and will furnish an unlocking code for phones it locks after a brief period. Many of the world phones Cingular sells on its GSM network are unlocked to begin with and apparently they do issue unlocking codes after a certain amount of time on their network.

The louses are AT&T WS which adamantly refuses to issue unlocking codes for phones it sells no matter how long you've been a customer. What a bunch of a--holes.

Foreign carriers? Depends on the company and the country.
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Old Jun 9th, 2004, 11:08 AM
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dmlove
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Further question regarding Italy - I have an unlocked tri-band phone. Am I better off buying a sim card for Italy here for $89, including free incoming calls and 40 euros worth of outgoing calls, or are the deals significantly better if I buy the sim card in Italy?
 
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