What's the best option in terms of mobile phones in Italy?

I'm moving to Bergamo, Italy for a year in September and am just trying to figure out what to do with my phone contract. I went to Rome at Easter but the roaming charges are still way too expensive to keep my phone on the same contract while abroad. The contract finishes in December anyway, but I'd still quite like to keep the phone. Does anyone know if it's possible to just get a foreign SIM and insert that into the phone you already have (I've got an o2 iPhone if that helps)? Alternatively, if that' s not feasible, what are some other options? I've heard of opening bank accounts in the foreign country, keeping the phone you've got and just buying a rubbish one for use in your foreign country, putting up with the roaming charges... All sorts! So if anyone could point me in the right direction that'd be great :)

This question was asked by Hannah Roberts from The University of Manchester , asked on 5th August 2014 and has been read 3014 times.

  • Eve Deakin · 8 years ago

    If you change your UK contract to Three, you can use all of your normal texts, minutes and Internet in Italy for no extra charges when contacting the UK or other people abroad on Three, and then just WhatsApp any Italian phone numbers. That's what a few of my friends and I did this year.

  • Natalie Earl · 8 years ago

    I am living in Italy at the moment and I bought an Italian SIM card as soon as I got here. I have an iphone 4s (which was previously unlocked) and the SIM works fine. The SIM I bought is essentially a pay-as-you-go (ricaricabile) and not a contract (abbonamento). The operator is called WIND, and with the option I have I top up 10 Euros a month and get 100 SMS, 100 minutes, and 1GB of data, plus unlimited texts to other WIND customers. Lots of Italians use WhatsApp so the 1GB of data is useful.

    It's a good deal, I would recommend it. Your iPhone does need to be unlocked though

  • Jennifer Meehan · 8 years ago

    I was in need of a new phone before my year abroad anyway, so I went into carphone warehouse and bought myself an unlocked Sony phone that wasn't too expensive but wasn't cheap at the same time as I wanted something nice. 

    When I got to Italy I did the same thing as Natalie, I popped to Vodafone and got myself a 10euro ricaricabile sim which had 300texts, 300mins, and a 1GB of data (it was an offer at the time). As Nalatie says, Whatsapp is very popular so that will probably be where you keep in contact most - it also means you can keep in contact with people back home. 

    I had friends on all 3 main networks in Italy (Vodafone, Wind, TIM) and all are pretty much the same, it just depends where you can find the best offer. So all you need is an unlocked phone and you're fine. It's probably useful having a phone that is a bit rubbish anyway as I managed to smash my screen in the first term, and then proceeded to lose it in second term. So, something that you're not so attached to may be a good idea. Plus, there is always the excitement and novelty of having a phone number that starts with a 3!


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