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Italy

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BasicsEdit

There are four network providers operating in Italy:

  • TIM
  • Vodafone
  • Wind
  • 3 (Tre)

In recent years MVNO's have started up competing with the network providers on their networks. The three biggest MVNOs 2014 by customer numbers CoopVoce, PosteMobile and FastWeb are listed.

2G up to EDGE is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G UMTS on 900 and 2100 MHz. LTE/4G is on 1800 Mhz only, has started on all providers and is available to prepaid costumers mainly in the cites: TIM followed by Vodafone has the best coverage at higher prices, while 3 and Wind are still patchy but giving better rates.

To purchase a prepaid (= ricaricabile) SIM card a photo ID (e.g. a passport) is necessary in Italy. You can get them in the shops of the providers where they will be registered as well. Often (but not always) you are asked for a "codice fiscale" (fiscal code), a number which is required in Italy for many online purchases and identification. As a non-Italian you probably don't know yours, but even foreigners have one of this 16-digit code in Italy. It can be created easliy online: [How to create a codice fiscale]. Just fill in your name, birth date, sex and the italian name for your home country.

Top-ups can be bought at many more places like tobacconists, supermarkets, newsagents or even bars and coffeeshops.

TIMEdit

Tim-amplia-subsidios
TIM owned by Telecom Italia is still the biggest operator in the country. They have the best coverage competing with Vodafone: all of the country is covered by 2G, most of it by 3G but 4G/LTE is available in 2558 municipalities. TIM 4G coverage

The prepaid SIM card costs 10 EUR with 5 EUR credit in their stores Store Locator . Sometimes they charge an activation fee for new custormers of 3 EUR for booking a package.

Voice and data SIMEdit

Package Price Domestic minutes Domest. SMS Data Volume Max. Speed Validity Period
Special Start 19 € 600 600 1 GB LTE 30 days
Special Limited 15 € 200 200 500 MB LTE 30 days
Tutti Compreso Unlimited 10 € Unlimited Unlimited 500 MB 42.2 Mbps 7 days

Beyond the included volume, speed will be reduced to 32 Kbps, Since end of 2013 all the internet options with TIM can only be activated and deactivated online or by calling 40916 or 119.

Data only SIM Edit

Data package Price Data Volume Max. Speed Validity Period
Internet Start 10 € 2 GB 21.1 Mbps 1 month
Internet Large 20 € 5 GB 42.2 Mbps 1 month
Internet 4G 30 € 10 GB LTE 1 month

All 3G packages can be opened for 4G/LTE for 5 EUR per month. The first month is free. Activation by sending a free text containing 4GPLUS ON or PRO 4GPLUS to 40916.

EU Roaming offer Edit

TIM Inviaggio Pass: 300 minutes voice, 300 SMS and 500 MB data in one week in all countries of Europe and USA on all voice & data SIMs for 15 EUR. This option can be activated by texting "TIMPASS ON" to 40916. This is one of the cheapest roaming options in Europe right now.

Internet settingsEdit

APN: ibox.tim.it

SIM card rental Edit

On the website http://rentalstayconnected.com/ you can rent a TIM SIM card for your stay in Italy. It has 2 GB (some users report 4 GB) of data included in up to 4G speed. The first four days are charged with 4 € / day, from the 5th rental day it's 1 € / day. This card can be delivered to your accomodation in Italy for free and must be returned by mail. It's an option if you don't like to buy a SIM card on your own. They also rent pocket Wifis aka Mifi or Mobile Hotspot routers with a TIM SIM card, For details consult their website.

3 (= tre)Edit

3-brand

3 or Tre is Italy's smallest network, but it has already covered 4521 (of more than 8100) municipalties by high-speed 3G (up to 42mbps) reaching 87 % of population. In 2014 they were given frequencies in the 900 Mhz band to reach another 1441 municipalities at a reduced bandwith (21 Mbps instead of 42 Mbps). So 3G coverage is still limited in the countryside but can be quite fast in the cities. They have national free roaming on TIM network for calls and texts, but not for data (for costly 60 cent per MB - see Technical Settings). Tre 3G/4G coverage map.

4G/LTE reaches already about 32% of population in 280 municipalities growing fast and available for prepaid and a surcharge. Make a network scan, if you want to use it at a particular place.

Voice and data SIM Edit

Their prepaid base tariff without addons is called "Power10". Default data rate is 20 cent per 10MB (10 cent per minute, 10 cent per sms).

Online or by phone you can buy the only data add on called "Super Internet" giving you 3 GB high speed data per month up to 42.2 Mbps on 3G for 5 EUR.

But there is a big catch: a 100 MB per day limit. If you use more than 100 MB in one calender day, the default data rate will be charged extra. The daily limit does not apply if you ask for a data-only SIM (see below).

This can be added by the 4G add on for speeds up to 100 Mbps for another 1 EUR per month (promoted until the end of 2014 at least). For coverage see above.

Package Price Domestic minutes Domest. SMS Data Volume Max. Speed Validity Period
ALL-IN 200 9 € 200 200 2 GB 42.2 Mbps 30 days
ALL-IN 400 10 € 400 400 2 GB 42.2 Mbps 30 days
ALL-IN 800 14 € 800 800 2 GB 42.2 Mbps 30 days


Data only SIM Edit

Their data only SIM is aimed at tablets and USB dongles and comes in 2 base rates:

  • Super Web Time: 0.90 € per hour on 3 network, 0.60 € per MB in national roaming on TIM
  • Super Web New: 0.50 € per 100 MB on 3 network, 0.60 € per MB in national roaming on TIM

Because of the high roaming costs, disable automatic network selection (see Technical Settings). These packages can be booked on the data-only SIM :

Package Price Data Volume Validity Period
SuperInternet 5 € 3 GB 1 month
SuperWeb.day 1 € unlimited 4 hours in one day
SuperWeb.week 3 € unlimited 15 hours in one week
SuperWeb 100 15 € unlimiiited 100 hours in one month

Unlike the package on the voice and data SIM, SuperInternet doesn't have a daily cap. Although tethering is not contractually allowed, it works without surcharge.

AvailabilityEdit

  • online to be sent to an Italian address
  • in 3stores (store locator)
  • SIM card is free and comes with 20 EUR credit

SIM sizesEdit

  • combined mini-/micro-SIMs are available (nanoSIM on request)
  • nano SIMs are available too

Technical settingsEdit

  • APN: tre.it
  • Take care: Due to the roaming agreement with TIM ensure you have data roaming disabled or select 3G-only mode (for iOS users: make a manual network selection for "3 ITA" and lock on it). By automatic selection you risk roaming on TIM. This gives you a better coverage, but can lead to high surcharges for data unless you can disable data roaming (see rates).

Vodafone Edit

Vodafone

Vodafone is Italy's second network. 4G/LTE covers already 2440 municipalities or 72 % of the population and is available for a surchage: Vodafone 4G map.

Their SIM is free, but you have to top up right away and book a package. Store Locator

Voice and data SIMEdit

Vodafone sells different prepaid SIM lines on which you can book data:

  • "Scegli Voce": with 500 domestic minutes and 100 MB data for 10 EUR per month
  • "Tutti 250 international": with 250 international minutes for 9.90 per month
  • "Vodafone al secondo" without base rate
  • "Vodafone 15" without base rate

On the "Vodafone al secondo" and "15" you can only use their default data rate (see below).

On "Scegli Voce" and "Tutti 250 intern." you can book the following data packs:

  • 300 MB per month, 3G only, for 2 EUR
  • 1 GB per month, 4G, for 5 EUR
  • 2 GB per moth, 4G, for 10 EUR

Activation and deactivation can be made online or by calling 42071, Base rate and package will autonew.

Default data rate Edit

This rate is charged when no add-on is booked and its the only rate for "al secondo" and "15" lines: 4 EUR per day for a maximum of 500 MB, beyond that per 100 MB extra 2 EUR are charged additionally.

Data-only SIMEdit

Data package Price Data volume Max. speed Validity Period
Internet Fly 20 € 7 GB 3G 1 month
Internet 4G 30 € 15 GB

4G

1 month

Speed up to 43.2 MB/s in 3G, up to 100 MB/s in 4G (on Internet 4G).Tethering will cost 5 € per day. Take care to buy a prepaid (= ricaricabile) not contract (= abbonamento) SIM.

AvailabilityEdit

Technical infoEdit

  • mini-, micro-, nano-SIM available
  • VoIP allowed
  • Tethering not allowed (and for 5 EUR extra on data SIMs)
  • APN: mobile.vodafone.it

Wind Edit

Wind
Wind has a big variety of volume based packages. It sells a lot of rates including domestic calls, texts and internet at very good rates, but their network is limited compared to TIM and Vodafone

Wind is the only provider in Italy giving out 4G/LTE up to 150 Mbps without a surcharge. However their LTE network is limited to about 100 cities so far, which are mentioned here: Wind Coverage Checker

Voice and data SIMEdit

They sell a lot of different tariff lines for voice. Only two don't have a monthly base rate: "Wind 1" has lower voice rates, but default data rate is 0.24 EUR/MB. "Wind al secondo" has higher voice rates but the daily rate for data (see below).

To all voice SIMs these data packages can be added online on your Wind account:

  • Internet No stop: 1 GB, 1 month, 5 EUR, up to LTE speed
  • Internet No stop large: 2 GB, 1 month, 7.50 EUR, up to LTE speed

Overuse will be charged with the respective default rate.

Data only SIM Edit

The default rate for all prepaid cards of wind is the daily rate of 4 €. You get max. 500 MB at high speed, then throttled to 32 kbps on one calendar day (0.00-23:59 hrs). These packs can be added:

  • Open Internet: 30 days, 3 GB, 9 €
  • Open Internet: 30 days, 6 GB, 14 €
  • Open Internet: 30 days, 12 GB, 19 €

The packages can be booked by texting 3GB SI, 6GB SI or 12GB SI to 4033. They can be renewed ahead of time by texting RESTART <pack size> SI to 4033. Otherwise speed will be throttled to 32 Kbps. Packages renew automatically and can be stopped by texting <pack size> NO to 4033.

The SIM card activation costs 5 € in WIND shops Wind Store Locator . Top up cards can be purchased in tabacchi stores to the values of 5€, 10€, 15€, etc. Text "Saldo" to 4155 to get balance and "Dati" to get data credit.

Technical specificationsEdit

  • APN: internet.wind
  • Tethering is allowed
  • VoIP is  officially not allowed, but not blocked.

coop voceEdit

Coop VOCE
coop voce is a MVNO using the good TIM network. It is sold by Italy's biggest supermarket chain "coop" in all their stores nationwide: coop store locator

The SIM card is sold for 5 EUR with 250 national minutes. Choose one tariif without base rate like "superfacile" or "veloce" coop. Topups can be made at coop shops or online after registration even with foreign credit cards in increments of 5 EUR.

Data packagesEdit

  • Web 1 GB senza limiti: 8 EUR, 1 GB, 1 month, activation: SI 1 GB
  • Web 2 GB senza limiti: 10 EUR, 2 GB, 1 month, activation: SI 2 GB
  • Web 5 GB senza limiti: 14 EUR, 5 GB, 1 month, activation: SI 5 GB
  • Web No limiti: 18 EUR, 10 GB, 1 month , activation: SI NO LIMITI
  • Web 30 ore: 12 EUR, 30 hours, activation: SI 30 ORE

For activation, simply text code to 4243688. Check data credit by texting INTERNET to 4243688. When you have used all data, you can buy another package ahead of time by calling 188. Each package will automatically renew after one month, if there is credit. If not, the pack will be terminated.

The SIM stays valid for 25 months. APN: web.coopvoce.it

poste mobileEdit

Poste Mobile
poste mobile is the MVNO of Italian Mail (Posteitaliane) which used to operate on Vodafone. In January of 2014 they switched over to the Wind network.

This SIM can be bought theoretically in every postal office in Italy and the postal agencies called "ki point" for no activation fee (price = credit) but they are probably easier to find in the central post offices where they have a phone corner. List

Anyway, all post offices and agencies accept top ups or you can do that online after registration using a credit card.

Data packagesEdit

  • Tarifa base gionaliera = daily base rate: this is the default rate when no other package is booked. 250 MB for 2.52 EUR per calender day (0.00-23.59 hrs).
  • Mobile 1Giga: 1 GB, 1 month, 7.50 EUR, activation: text SI GIGA to 4071160
  • Mobile 3Giga: 3 GB, 1 month, 16 EUR, activation: text SI 3GB to 4071160
  • Internet 100 ore, 100 hours in 1 month, 19 EUR, text SI 100ORE to 4071160
  • Internet 30 ore, 30 hours in 1 month, 9.90 EUR, text SI 30 ORE to 4071160

Overuse is charged by 0.55 cent per KB. All packages will renew autonatically after 1 month, unless stopped by texting NO <package name> to 4071160.

APN: internet.postemobile.it

Fastweb Edit

Fastweb

Fastweb is an Italian MVNO specialising in Triple Play and Broadband Services. It has been bought by Swisscom. In Italy it operates on the network of 3 (Tre) in 3G and TIM in 2G.

Their SIM card is sold at their sales outlets: Fastnet Store Locator. There you can reload too.

Default data rate is 0.20 € on 3G (Tre) and 0.30 € on 2G (TIM). These packs can be added:

  • Sprintweb: 1 GB, 1 month, 5 EUR
  • GigaWeb: 5 GB per month, for 3 months, total 30 EUR (for all three months)

Note: Speed will be throttled to 64 kbps beyond data limit. The packages are only on the 3G network of Tre, not on 2G of TIM, where default tariff applies. So disable automatic network selection (see 3).

APN: apn.fastweb.it

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