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Would it be less expensive to buy a SIM card for Italy?

Would it be less expensive to buy a SIM card for Italy?

Old Jul 25th, 2014, 09:18 AM
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Would it be less expensive to buy a SIM card for Italy?

I have an IPhone 4S and am no longer under contract so I can get it unlocked. I want to use my phone primarily to keep up with the group with whom I'm traveling. I can get an AT&T package for $30.00 for 30 minutes, etc. but incoming calls and voicemails could eat that up.
Would a SIM card be a better choice?
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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You need a SIM card, whether it is from AT&T or from someone else. So a SIM card or not is not a relevant question.

Which SIM card? That requires your usage needs and constraints. If you are a type where you or your partner can make no calls less than 30 minutes long, then you need a heavy duty local SIM solution. On the lighter usage side, there are many options with various trade-offs based on your unmentioned usage needs.
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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what are your plans for data use? AT&T really sticks it to you for data. even a few times using the GPS/maps can cost you dearly. Not sure about Italy, but generally most European rates are better than US rates and a LOT better than our 'travel' rates.
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 11:46 AM
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You probably couldn't get anything for much less than $30, but if 30 minutes won't be enough, you may end up spending more than that.

You might find a way to keep up with your group while conserving the $30. For example, maybe it would be cheaper to send text messages, if you can get your group to agree to it. Does your AT&T package includes texts? Or you could set up a system of signals that would communicate crucial information without answering a call: for instance, two rings could mean, "We'll meet you back at the hotel."

Do you have any need to use data services? If so, an Italian SIM card would almost certainly be cheaper than an AT&T data package. If you don't need to use data services, make sure to disable data roaming and keep data services turned off.

TIM, the biggest cell provider in Italy, has a package deal for tourists, with an Italian SIM card (€10 including a €5 initial credit), plus a plan called TIM Welcome for €20, which gives you 250 minutes of calls to to anywhere in Italy or a number of other countries, including the USA, plus 2 gb of data. The total cost would be €30, which is about $40. This would cost more than the AT&T plan you mentioned, but it would also give you a lot more. It doesn't include text messages, but you could use the €5 initial credit to send text messages. Or with all that data, you could use Face Time on your iPhone, or install What's App.
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 12:11 PM
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I should have mentioned this plan, which might interest you if you don't need data:

http://www.international.tim.it/en/o...nal?country=US

It costs nothing to activate if you're a new customer (€5 otherwise), and it gives you very low rates for calls to US numbers. Even if you won't be calling home at all, some others in your group may be using US international plans and calling them would incur high rates if you don't have some sort of provision for international calls. If you activate this plan, you will also need a base plan for calls to Italian numbers. I think the TIM Zero Scatti plan is best, especially if most of your Italian calls will be short.

If you don't need data at all, then the SIM card will cost you €10, and you might want to add €5 or €10 of additional credit to cover the cost of calls and texts.
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