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Would an Italian SIM card work in France

I know this is random, but I am hoping someone might know.

Last year we were in Italy and purchased a SIM card that we didn't use. (We purchased two thinking we would need both, but we didn't even burn through the first one). I recently read that recently the laws changed and now there are no roaming fees within Europe if you are using a European provider. Does that mean I could use the Italian SIM card in France? Am I better off get a French SIM card?

Thanks to everyone on this forum for all the help!!

Posted by
1356 posts

The SIM card is good in France but you need to find out if the contract has expired. If so, you could reload the card.

Posted by
5133 posts

Some European SIM cards don't allow roaming at all and won't work in France. The EU regulations state that mobile companies can't charge EXTRA for roaming within the EU, not that they have to allow it. The policy varies by the mobile company and the country they operate in.

But, you probably have nothing to lose by trying the unused Italian SIM when you get there. If it works, great. If not, buy a French SIM.

Posted by
2167 posts

A SIM card purchased in Italy will work fine on any GSM network anywhere in the world. That´s the beauty of the GSM protocol. However I assume it would be possible for a provider to configure their SIMs such that they only functioned within the providers own service area though I am not familiar with any company which does this.

Additionally, you must also have a paid subscription or service with the company from which your SIM was originally purchased. If you can recharge this Italian SIM, you can theoretically use it anywhere. Recharging an Italian SIM from France may not be easy.

Many prepaid SIMs become inactive (obsolete) if they are not used on a continuous basis. Most likely, the SIM you purchase last year and used is now of no value. A SIM you purchased a year ago, the second SIM, may still be usable if it were never activated. You can purchase a new, French SIM for as little as 10€ at many magazine stores or tabacs.

Roaming charges for EU customers traveling among EU countries have been eliminated. However, I have never been clear on how this relatively new rule applies to prepaid accounts. I have heard both that roaming charges are still in effect for prepaid accounts and that roaming charges are eliminated for all types of accounts. I would ask my service provider for details.

Posted by
6904 posts

When I bought an Orange sim card in France I assumed it would work with Orange all over Europe but I could not reload it in Spain. You had to have a French credit card to load it on line and the Orange stores could/would not load it in Spain because while it was 'Orange' , it was a 'different' company. If you want to use it in another country I'd load it up before moving on if you determine that it allows use across countries.

Posted by
1187 posts

You can re-ep Orange with an American card using recharge dot com, while there is a convenience fee, it is convenient. I always use it before I leave so that I arrive with credit

Posted by
1562 posts

I had the same question on using Italian Sim in france next week. It’s a prepaid Vodafone Sim, and we recharged on the 21st. I’ll message vodafone too see if data plan works outside of Italy and post response.

Not sure if other sim companies react to US credit cards like Vodafine does- they do not accept US credit cards. However, here’s the work around. If your Sim allows payment by Pay pal, select that option. You want to make sure you do NOT sign into your paypal account if you have one. So use a different email than your paypal account so you dont get redirected. In this case paypal acts only as a credit card processor, no extra fees and close to current exchanevrate. By paying this way we did not have to go to the local tabacchi to pay.

Posted by
11996 posts

I had an Orange card for two of my French trips. On one trip I took the cable car from Mt. Blanc to the Italian side. A notice popped up on my phone screen about rates and rules for using my phone in Italy. I didn't pay much attention because I wasn't planning to use it but I gather I could have used it if I wanted to.

I typically keep my trips to one country and purchase a SIM card when I get there. To date I haven't had luck trying to get a card from my previous trip to work, even if it was under a year old.

Posted by
5133 posts

The "life" of a SIM card after the first time you use it varies greatly - depends on the carrier and the country. My Dutch Vodafone SIM used to be valid for a whole year after last use or credit top-up. Now it's only six months. I bought it last spring on eBay and topped it up and used it again this spring in Portugal. But it will expire in a few weeks now unless I send a text message (probably about $1USD with the expensive roaming in the US) or top it up with more credit. I guess I'll wait til the day it expires and send the text - I have 5 euros left on the card. Not sure when I will be going back to Europe to use it again...

Posted by
1562 posts

Providing an update from my earlier post. The Italian SIM card in my husbands phone works just fine in France. If I need internet access on my ipad when on the move with now wifi, we use the hotspit on the phone with the SIM card.