At first you can buy a cheap mobile phone with an included italian sim card or, alternatively, you must own an unlocked cellphone able to supports these frequencies: GSM 900 and GSM 1800; or an iPad. In Italy you can purchase/ rent an Italian SIM card for your cellphone during your travel there. In this case you won’t be exposed at roaming high costs. You can purchase your italian sim card prior your departure or once arrived in Italy. You can buy a PAYG ( pay as you go ) sim card or, alternatively, buy a contract; the first option is far better, in my opinion, when your staying is short. There is also a english speaking customer service ready to answer all your question. The SIM registration is mandatory for the Italian government prior to its activation. You can register it , with your valid passport, as soon as you have purchased it .
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If you choose to purchase youe SIM before your trip it will be a bit more expensive but it is surely convenient; while purchasing it in Italy requires an ID as a valid passport or a european Id card. The PAYG SIM cards can be more easy to use than contracts, since their top-ups can be found within supermarkets, bars and coffeeshops or tobacconists. Many ATMs give also the chanche to add credit from an ATM card by inserting the phone number in a guided on-screen procedure.
Inside many cell phone stores you can buy a SIM card from multiple service providers, and you can also buy a cheap unlocked cellphone to which you can add a SIM from any of the companies represented.
Unless you speak Italian, with italian providers, you could have some problems to navigate through the options of the cellphone, such as checking your call credit, adding talk time, or accessing voicemail. You can ask the dealer where you buy the SIM card or the cellphone to add it for you.
A SIM card credit generally lasts for 12 months. You can in any moment add additional time on to the SIM card, and this action resets the time deadline for another 12-months. If you don’t recharge your SIM card during the 12-months period… it will expire and the phone number will be deleted. You will have to purchase another SIM card.
In Italy there are four major GSM network operators and some resellers such as Italian Postal Service and the CoopAdriatica supermarket chains which, too, sell SIM cards:
All the regulatory requirements are obtainable at www.italycellphone.com