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Italy SIM activation time?

I'm considering the TIM or Wind tourist SIM cards when I'm in Italy in October.........Can anyone tell me how long activation takes (before I can use the data)?

Also, any experiences with either SIM would be appreciated. I've heard that the TIM outlet at Fiumicino airport is (strangely) not very helpful to tourists, and buying a card in the city is often better, but my plan is to board a train out of Rome as soon as I can once I reach Termini station and I'd like to be able to use my phone on that 3 hour trip. Buy it at Termini before getting my ticket to Padua?

Posted by
5999 posts

A man at the TIM Store in Polignano a Mare set mine up when we were staying there, our first stop on a month long trip, and it worked right away.
I had a glitch with the SIM a few weeks later and went to a TIM store in Sicily and they fixed it immediately.

Posted by
138 posts

In May I bypassed the stand at FCO with one person working and used the Termini second floor TIM outlet. I had prepaid on the website before leaving the US. It was midday, they had 6 stations staffed, I waited about 90 seconds for my turn, the staff member was quick and efficient, spoke English and I was ready to go in about 10 minutes and everything worked at that time.

Posted by
2528 posts

I have used the TIM counter at FCO on two recent trips to Italy and have been satisfied with helpful and friendly service by English speaking staff. To simplify things, I had prepaid and presented my voucher and the transaction was fast with no problems. Clerks always switched out my US sim for the new one and made sure settings on my phone were ok. On both occasions it took less than 15 minutes for the card to activate. I found TIM service to be excellent all over Italy from Trieste to the Skyway Monte Bianco to Sardinia to Sicily. I’ve never heard that the store at FCO was not helpful to tourists.

Posted by
230 posts

I'm considering the same situation and have a couple of questions along these lines as well.

I will be in Europe for two months (arriving in Rome) so I do want to get a SIM card. I see you can buy European SIM cards on Amazon. My friend who is an FA who flies weekly into Rome told me that it is easy to get one at the airport there but maybe it is easier to already have it before I go. Has anyone bought one before going to Europe?

Also, these are probably dumb questions, but I just want to make sure: can I still use all the apps on my phone with a European SIM card? (WhatsAPP, travel apps, maps, GPS, that kind of thing.) What kind of data usage is usually available with those providers, and is it a better deal than just using my own provider with an international data plan? (I have AT&T.)

Posted by
245 posts

Thanks everyone for your responses so far; this is a kind and helpful travel forum. Lisalu910, you will still be able to use your apps, but you will have a different phone number (I have not bought a SIM in Italy before, but I have in Portugal and NZ for data use).