I've got a T-Mobil phone. Can I just buy and pop in a SIM card when I get to Italy and use it? Do they sell inexpensive use & lose phones? I also have a cell phone I bought in China....again, will it work in Italy if I just buy a SIM card? Thanks....Mike
To answer your questions:
No, you will have to have it unlocked and it has to be a quadband.
Yes, for 39 euro you can get a phone, SIM, and 5 euro talk time.
If it worked in China it will work in Italy. A SIM with 5 euro talk time will cost 10 euro.
I had pretty much the same questions. Here is a link to the replies I received. Hopefully this is as helpful to you as it was to me. Based on the feedback from other travelers, it sounds like it is as simple as getting the GSM phone unlocked and getting a new SIM card from an Italian provider when you get over there:
If that link doesn't work, navigate through the postings for one titled Cell Phone.
Mike, your T-Mobile phone will work in Italy without having to get a different SIM card. Call the T-Mobile customer service number from your cell phone (a free call!) and have them set up international roaming on your phone. Then you just use your phone like you would in the US, although you'll have to get some dialing instructions from T-Mobile. I can't remember if you can dial a US number like you're calling from the US or if you have to do it like you're calling from Italy. And the same for Italian numbers.
To save money, buy a prepaid AT&T calling card here in the U.S. call the 800 # on the back of the card before you go to get the international access # and your set. Your cell phone will cost way to much because it will be on Roam and you will have a very large bill when you get home. Trust me, this happened to a friend of mine. Do the phone card, it's very easy and you won't have to worry about how much your bill will be when you get back!!!!
We also have T-mobile, and to use our phone in Italy we just had to contact T-mobile and have our phones/accounts set up for us to use it in Europe. We didn't need a sim card as our phones are tri-band and already work in Europe.
My T-Mobil phone will work in Europe. Generally I think it's a good option for limited phone use. If you are going to be using it a lot, there are better local options. I'm not sure what the magic cutoff is. When you call T-Mobil to set it up, ask the cost per minute in Italy. That will get you started.
In order to determine if you can use your phone in Italy, you'll first need to determine if it's a quad-band model. A tri-band will also work, but this will depend on the "mix" of frequencies it's equipped with. If you're planning on using a SIM card from an Italian network, you'll also have to ensure that the phone is "SIM unlocked". Finally, be sure to check that the Charger provided with the phone is designed for use on "world" electrical systems.
A bit more information would be helpful. For example, what phone model are you using? Are you on a contract plan with T-Mobile or PAYG? If on a contract, you might consider just using roaming with T-M, provided you'll only be using the phone sparingly for voice calls. I find that using text/SMS to keep in touch with family back home is the most cost effective method.
Be sure to check other posts on this Forum. Some have reported that Italian SIM's require a "codice fiscale" or something to purchase? I just use roaming.
I just purchased an international phone from Mobal. The phone comes with sim card and an entire set of international adaptor plugs included. The phone and phone number are mine from now til the end of time. The phone works in most areas of the world, with the exception of the US. It was super easy to set up. The whole package only cost $49.They charge $1.50 a minute for both incoming and outgoing calls but this phone is for emergencies only. It doesn't get any easier than this. It would have been a big hassle to set up my domestic phone for Italy and they charge almost as much in roaming charges.
I have Cingular and it was a cinch to use my phone in Italy.
One quick call to Cingular and I had the int'l roaming enabled. My cost were $1.29/min incoming and outgoing calls, text messages 50 cents. For $5.99/mos you can change the rate to $.99/min, and you can add/remove this feature anytime. I had my familiar US number so people that needed to reach me didn't have to learn some new number or make an international call. And I didn't have to carry some other phone but had my usual phone with all the numbers I need programmed into the address book.
I would bet T-Mobile has very similar rates. Buying a local SIM or intl'l phone may be better for some people depending on their needs, but I've been happy in most places just using my US phone.