There are four network providers operating in Italy: TIM, Vodafone, Wind and 3 (Tre). In recent years MVNO's have started up competing with the network providers on their networks.
2G up to EDGE is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G UMTS on 900 and 2100 MHz. LTE/4G is on 1800 Mhz on all providers and is available to prepaid costumers for a surcharge mainly in the cites: TIM 4G coverage Vodafone 4G coverage (There are no maps for 3 and Wind available.)
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.
Topups can be bought at many more places like tobacconists, supermarkets, newsagents or even bars and coffeeshops.
TIMEditTIM 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 only available in 1138 municipalities.
The prepaid SIM card costs 10 EUR with 5 EUR credit.
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 phone. Here is a good how to do in english: Instructions
|Data package||Price||Domestic minutes||Domest. SMS||Data Volume||
|Internet Start||10 €||-||-||2 GB||14.4 mbps||1 month|
|Internet Large||20 €||-||-||5 GB||42.2 mbps||1 month|
|Internet 4G||30 €||-||-||10 GB||3G: 42 4G: 70||1 month|
|TIM Special||15 €||200||200||500 MB||14.4 mbps||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.
3 (= tre) ItaliaEdit
3 or Tre is Italy's smallest network, but it has covered 4521 (of more than 8100) municipalties by 3G reaching 87% of population. In 2014 they were given frequencies in the 900 Mhz band to reach another 1441 municipalities at a reduced bandwith. 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). Unfortunately, they don't release a 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.
Their prepaid 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 (intended for tablets).
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.
|Data package||Price||National minutes||National SMS||Data Volume||Validity Period|
|SuperInternet||5 €||-||-||3 GB||1 month|
|ALL-IN Medium||10 €||400||400||2 GB||
Tethering is not allowed on all plans and costs 5 EUR extra per day. "Inofficial" tethering on Android devices may be possible.
- online to be sent to an Italian address
- in 3stores (store locator)
- SIM card is free and comes with 20 EUR credit
- combined mini-/micro-SIMs are available
- at least online nano SIMs are available too
- APN: tre.it
- Take care: Due to the roaming agreement with TIM make a manual network selection for 3 and lock it on 3. By automatic selection you risk roaming on TIM. This gives you a better coverage, but can lead to high surcharges for data.
Vodafone is Italy's second network. 4G/LTE covers already 60% 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.
Default data rateEdit
Up to 43.2 MB/s in 3G, up to 100 MB/s in 4G (on Internet 4G)
Data feature packsEdit
|Data package||Price||Domestic minutes||Domest. SMS||Data Volume||Max. Speed||Validity Period|
|Internet Fly||20 €||-||-||7 GB||42.2 mbps||1 month|
|Internet 4G||35 €||-||-||15 GB||
3G: 42 4G:100
|Smart 200||14,90€||200||200||1 GB||14.4 mbps||1 month|
VoIP is allowed, tethering not allowed on all plans. Tethering will cost 5 € per day.
- mini-, micro-, nano-SIM available
- APN: mobile.vodafone.it
Wind EditWind 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. Here only the data options are listed. For combined packs see here.
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.
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).
Data feature packsEdit
- 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. Top up cards can be purchased in tabacchi stores to the values of 5€, 10€, 15€, etc.
Send SMS to 4155:
|Text to 4155||Info|
|Saldo||get information about your balance|
|Dati||get data balance|
|Info||get information about current active plan, last payment and SIM lifetime|
|Chiamate||get a list auf recently used numbers and call time and other statistics for the past 320 day. You may receive up to 4 SMS|
- APN: internet.wind
- Tethering is allowed
- VoIP is officially not allowed, but not blocked.
coop voceEditcoop 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.
- 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 mobileEditposte 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.
- 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.