cell phone use in Italy

I've decided against using my own cell phone with an Italian SIM card - I want to use an Italian phone, prepaid, for traveling. I've seen so many negative reviews; this site leans toward Cellular abroad. I was about to order but with the additional insurance and shipping it is more expensive to rent from them than to purchase elsewhere; and to purchase from them far higher than others. What do other travelers advise?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
22158 posts

Barb, What type of cell phone are you using? Buying a SIM card in Italy and using it with your present phone will also provide you with "prepaid, for traveling" (provided your cell phone is a quad-band model). Renting a phone is often one of the most expensive options. It would be cheaper just to buy a phone from one of the travel phone firms or buy when you arrive in Italy. I've never had the impression that this site "leans towards Cellular Abroad". If you'd like to have a look at some of the other travel phone providers to compare prices, check the websites for Roam Simple, Telestial, Mobal, EuroBuzz, Max Roam or One SIM (there are others). I've been using one a SIM from one of the travel phone firms for the last few years, and so far it's worked well (although more expensive when data is required). They offer a basic SIM card (voice & text only) for $9, so that's a very reasonable cost. I prefer to use post-paid billing (calls charged to a credit card) rather than pre-paid, as there are no worries about topping-up or running out of minutes at an inopportune time. Happy travels!

Posted by James
HENDERSON, Nevada, United States
69 posts

Curious why you don't just use your own phone with an international plan. That is must easier-we have done that the last 2 times in Italy.

Posted by Marie
Northbrook, Illinois, USA
213 posts

I just paid our cell phone bill for our trip to Italy last month. I highly recommend the ease of using your own phone over there. Just remember to turn off the "roam" feature or you can rack up the charges. All I did was log in to ATT, select "add a service" and a start date and voila, all set to head to Italy. It's always sounded more attractive than using an Italian phone...just my two cents. Here you go... We use ATT and have iPhones (not sure what you would have.) We brought two iPhones, but only put data on one phone - we used the other one in the WiFi hotels we were in and that's free. The prices below are for the rate plan we have in place - if you have ATT I can't guarantee you would have the same ones (maybe you have a better rate!) We have done this before when traveling overseas 1) International Long distance plan ($30) 2) 200 text messages (in case the house sitter needs us) and 3) International data plan ($30).

Posted by Barb
Villa Park
2 posts

I thank you all for your prompt and helpful replies! To answer your question(s)about not using my own phone, I am nervous about 1)the fact that my carrier, T-Mobile, gave me an unlock code that I can't try until I put the new SIM card in, with the warning that if I'm unsuccessful unlocking in three tries my own phone is permanently locked; and 2)I'm afraid of racking up hundreds of dollars in overcharges I wasn't expecting. With time running out, I ordered a relatively highly-rated unlocked phone and a Telestial Passport SIM card on Amazon for around $50. Hope it works for me! Thanks again!