There are four network providers currently operating in Italy:
- 3 (= 'Tre')
In recent years MVNOs have started up competing with the network providers on their networks. The four biggest MVNOs 2014 by customer numbers CoopVoce, PosteMobile, FastWeb and Lycamobile are listed.
The parent companies Vimpelcom and CK Hutchison of Wind and 3 agreed to a merger in summer 2015. Pending approval of the regulators, Wind and Tre will become one network in the coming years.
2G up to EDGE is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G UMTS on 900 and 2100 MHz. LTE/4G is on 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz, has started on all providers and is available to all prepaid customers mainly in the cites, but not for their MVNOs. TIM followed by Vodafone has the best coverage at higher prices, but Vodafone has the best LTE coverage. 3 and wind can still be patchy, but at better prices.
Legal requirements Edit
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.
Sometimes, when the contract modules enforce it, you might be asked for a "codice fiscale" (tax code), a sequence of letters and digits for Italian citiziens and expats for tax and identification matters (more info in Italian.). As a non-Italian traveller of course you don't have yours, but given that it's made by an algorithm considering your name, gender, birth date and birth place, it may be easliy created by specific software or online: How to create a codice fiscale. Some shop sellers may propose you to calculate yours to fill in the purchase contract: for an administrative point of view it might not be the best practice but, due to bureaucratic minutiae, in the end it's the faster way to get a SIM card.
Top-ups can be bought at many more places like tobacconists (blue-'n-white / black-'n-white "T" signs), supermarkets, newsagents and even bars or 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 available in 3,500 municipalities covering 80% of the population. TIM 4G coverage
The prepaid SIM card costs 10 € with 5 € credit in their stores Store Locator . Sometimes they charge an activation fee for new custormers of 3 € for booking a package.
Topping up online on their website seems not working with many non-Italian credit cards (Visa or Master), as users have reported. You might try AmEx or PayPal there instead. This makes it harder to keep a SIM card alive from abroad. In Italy you can still top-up by going to a tobacconist, supermarket, newsagent or bar, where the clerk behind the counter does the recharge on his terminal for cash.
Voice and data SIMEdit
TIM only sells packages with included domestic voice and text vaild for a week or month (28 days):
- weekly tariff: Tutto Compreso Unlimited Settimanale: 19 € for 7 days including unlimited domestic voice, text and 500 MB of data at a max. of 42.2 Mbps.
- monthly tariff: TIM Smart: 20 € for 28 days including 600 minutes of domestic voice and 600 domestic SMS and 600 MB od data at LTE speed. You can upsize data:
- 1 GB add-on on LTE for 5 € extra
- 2 GB add-on on LTE for 10 € extra
Beyond the included data 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
Activation of a new data SIM is 3 €, to activate the options below on a existing data SIM, they charge 5 € but not for SuperGiga 5 GB and SuperGIGA 20 GB. You can activate online, but better do it in a TIM store.
|Data package||Price||Data Volume||Max. Speed||Validity Period|
|Internet Start||10 €||2 GB||100 Mbps||28 days|
|Internet Large||20 €||5 GB||100 Mbps||28 days|
|Internet 4G||30 €||10 GB||100 Mbps||28 days|
|Summer Promotions 2015:|
|SuperGiga 5 GB||9 €||5 GB||100 Mbps||3 months|
|SuperGiga 20 GB||19 €||20 GB||100 Mbps||3 months|
Data on the SuperGiga promotion is valid for 3 months, starting from the activation date. Last date of activation for the promotion is 6/SEP/2015. No activation fee is charged for them.
Tourist SIM Edit
For the tourist season 2015 TIM released two SIM cards that they call TIM Welcome:
- TIM Welcome: for 20 € (+ 10 € for the SIM card incl. 5 € credit), 200 minutes for calls and 2 GB of data in 30 days (link to offer)
- TIM Welcome Internet: for 20 € (+ 10 € SIM card incl. 5 € credit), no calls but 5 GB of data in 30 days (link to offer)
Calls are domestic and international to 57 countries (for list click on Paesi TIM Welcome), data is on 3G and will be throttled to 32 Kbps after exceeding quota. No upsize or extensions possible.
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.
- some VoIP clients like Skype and Viber are blocked on some tariffs
- APN: ibox.tim.it
3 (spoken: Tre) is Italy's smallest network, but it has already covered 4,900 (of more than 8,100) municipalties by high-speed 3G (up to 42 Mbps) reaching 96% of population. In 2014 they were given frequencies in the 900 Mhz band to reach another 2.200 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 47% of population in 628 municipalities growing fast. They plan to merge with the Wind network in the upcoming years.
Voice and data SIM Edit
Their prepaid base tariff without addons is called "Power15". Note that even old Power10 SIMs activated after 27 July will carry the new rate. Voice and text rates have increased from 10 ct per minute or per SMS to 15 ct, but data rates have decreased from 20 ct per 10MB to 20 ct per 20MB for both native use and national roaming on TIM.
Default data rate for new activations is 20 ct per 20 MB (15 ct per minute, 15 ct 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 100 Mbps on 4G for 5 EUR.
Furthermore, they offer these packages with included voice and text:
|Package||Price||Dom. mins||Dom. SMS||Data Volume||Max. Speed||Validity Period|
|ALL-IN 200||10 €||200||200||2 GB *||100 Mbps||30 days|
|ALL-IN 400||12 €||400||400||2 GB *||100 Mbps||30 days|
|ALL-IN 800||14 €||800||800||2 GB *||100 Mbps||30 days|
* = the 2 GB data volume per month in ALL-IN packs is actually limited to 500 MB per week.
Data-only SIM Edit
Their data-only SIM is aimed at tablets and modems. It comes in a time- and a volume-based rate:
- Time-based: 'Super Web Time': 0.90 € per hour on Tre network, 0.60 € per MB in national roaming on TIM.
- You can add the SuperWeb 100 package for 100 hours within a month at 15 €. Max speed is 42.2 Mbps on 3G only. According to users, SuperWeb 100 packages will be throttled in both download and upload speeds unconditionally of time expiration, if used with high data streams.
- Volume-based: 'Super Web New': 0.50 € per 100 MB on Tre network, 0.60 € per MB in national roaming on TIM.
- You can add the 'SuperInternet' package for 3 GB within one month at 5 €. Max speed is 100 Mbps on 4G/LTE.
Activation of a new SIM card is free. If you want to activate the packages on an existing SIM card, Tre charges 9 €. Although tethering is not contractually allowed, it works without surcharge.
Tourist SIM Edit
Like the other providers Tre offers these tourists SIM cards called ALL-IN Explorer in a promotion at least until the end of 2015. These SIM cards are sold for the EXPO mainly in the Milan region in Tre stores (designated 3 stores for tourist offer). They include a city guide:
|Package||Price||Data Volume||Validity Period|
|ALL-IN Explorer Week||20 €||10 GB||7 days|
|ALL-IN Explorer Month||40 €||20 GB||30 days|
Max. speed on 4G/LTE where available is 100 Mbps.
Roaming Packages Edit
3 also offers cheap roaming to other countries:
- 3 EasyPass: Use your Italian data package in any other country (except Macau and Indonesia) with a Three network for 0.30 € per data session (defined as one continuous connection up to 6 hours). Be careful: dropping coverage and reconnecting counts as a seperate session. So with a spotty 3 network (which is not unlikely), this can add up considerably.
- EasyPass: for 2 EUR: 200 minutes and 500 MB data per week all over the EU incl. Switzerland, as well as Israel, Australia, the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong (when not on 3), and Sri Lanka. The same 0.30 € session connection fee applies on top, so if you'll be somewhere with spotty signal, consider other options.
Note that EasyPass and 3 EasyPass require activation, and if only 3 EasyPass is activated, dropping off the local Three network will cost the standard data roaming rate and not just the 2 EUR EasyPass charge for 500 MB. Within the EU, this means being charged 0.24 €/MB. In Hong Kong, this means being charged 1 EUR/MB. When using 3 EasyPass, it's recommended to manually select Three to avoid this.
- online to be sent to an Italian postal address
- in 3stores (store locator)
- SIM card costs 20 € start-up price. When ordered online, it will be sent with the same credit on. In 3stores, they may charge you around 5 € for activation.
- combined mini-/micro-SIMs are available
- nano SIMs are available too
- 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 is Italy's second network. 4G/LTE covers already more than 5,000 municipalities or 89 % 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. First you need to choose a base rate:
- "Flexi Start": with 400 domestic minutes, 100 SMS for 10 € for 28 days
- "Scegli international": with 300 international minutes to the EU for 10 € for 28 days
- "Vodafone 19" without monthly fee (20 ct per minute, 20 ct per SMS)
On the "Vodafone 19" you can only use their default rate for data (see below). On "Flexi" and "Scegli International" you can add the following data packs:
- 300 MB for 28 days, 2G/3G only, for 2 €
- 1 GB for 28 days, 4G, for 5 €
- 3 GB for 28 days, 4G, for 14 €
Activation can be made online or by calling 42070, Base rate and package will autonew.
Default data rate Edit
This rate is charged when no add-on is booked and it's the only rate for the "19" line: 6 EUR per day for a maximum of 1 GB
They offer these classical prepaid plans for modems and tablets in 4G/LTE:
|Data Package||Price||Data Volume||Validity Period|
|Giga Start||10 €||2.5 GB||28 days|
|Giga Extra||20 €||5 GB||28 days|
|Giga Maxi||30 €||10 GB||28 days|
As alternative Vodafone offers their Solo Online offer, 5 GB (currently promoted at 7 GB) for 10 € and their Giga Extra and Maxi offers with double data 20 € for 10 GB and 30 € for 20 GB. But take care that this offers involves a contract with a monthly fee which is directly charged to your credit card, and is not on prepaid! This contract can be suspended anytime online and does not involve a long-term engagement.
Speed is up to 100 MB/s in 4G. Tethering costs 6 € per day extra. Take care to buy either a prepaid (= ricaricabile) or a contract (= abbonamento) SIM.
EU roaming offer Edit
As an add-on Vodafone offers one of the cheapest roaming options in Europe: Internet Passport. For 6 € per day (based on Italian time), you get up to 1 GB data in all of the EU/EEA plus Switzerland and Turkey. You only pay on these days, when you access the internet. This option is preconfigured and activates automatically in a roaming country. Beyond 1 GB per day, speed will be throttled to 32 Kbps. Make sure you set APN: web.omnitel.it in roaming. If you set iphone.vodafone.it or mobile.vodafone.it all money will be gone in a minutes! To check balance and data remains open in browser http://contatori.vodafone.it/.
Tourist SIM Edit
Like the other providers, Vodafone released at SIM card aimed at visitors. It is called Vodafone Holiday and is sold for 30 € (or 19 € if you already have a Vodafone Italia SIM card activated). Included are 300 minutes voice domestic and to 43 countries (for list click Scopri i Paesi inclusi nell'offerta), 300 SMS domestic and to these countries and 2 GB of data valid for 28 days.
Data is on 4G/LTE too and will be cut off when quota is exceeded. The package renews automatically after 28 days if you have loaded another 29 €.
- mini-, micro-, nano-SIM available
- VoIP allowed
- tethering not allowed (and for 5 EUR extra on data SIMs)
- 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. They plan to merge with 3 in some years.
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 €/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, 28 days, 5 € plus 9 € activation fee
- Internet No Stop Large: 2 GB, 28 days, 7.50 € plus 9 € activation fee
To voice SIMs with a monthly base rate only, these data packages can be added online on your Wind account:
- + 500 Mega: 500 MB, 28 days, 3 €, up to LTE speed
- + 1 Giga: 1 GB, 28 days, 4 €, up to LTE speed
- + 2 Giga: 2 GB, 28 days, 6 €, up to LTE speed
Overuse will be charged with the respective default rate.
Data-only SIM Edit
The default rate for all data-only 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: 28 days, 3 GB, 9 €
- Open Internet: 28 days, 6 GB, 14 €
- Open Internet: 28 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 tobacco stores for 5€, 10€, 15€, etc. Text "Saldo" to 4155 to get balance and "Dati" to get data credit.
Summer Promotion 2015 Edit
For all existing or new prepaid SIM cards WIND offers its summer promotion called GIGA MAX. For 5 they give € 3 GB valid for 6 months. Last day of activation is 6/SEP/2015. Activation is online on your account or in WIND stores.
Tourist SIM Edit
Finally Wind also released a SIM card aimed at tourists in two different tariff lines:
- Italy Tourist Pass: 20 € - including 100 minutes voice domestic and to 40 countries (list in the middle ) and 2 GB of data valid for 28 days. You can restart this package for more or longer volume by texting TOURIST ITZ RESTART to 4033 for 10 €.
- Tourist Pass Data: 30 € - including 4 GB of data and 5 € credit valid for 28 days. This pack can be extended by a restart for 25 € by texting TOURIST DATA RESTART to 4033.
- 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 € with 250 national minutes. Choose one tariif without base rate like "superfacile" or "veloce". Topups can be made at coop shops or online after registration even with foreign credit cards in increments of 5 €.
- Web 1 GB senza limiti: 8 €, 1 GB, 1 month, activation: SI 1 GB
- Web 2 GB senza limiti: 10 €, 2 GB, 1 month, activation: SI 2 GB
- Web 5 GB senza limiti: 14 €, 5 GB, 1 month, activation: SI 5 GB
- Web No limiti: 18 €, 10 GB, 1 month , activation: SI NO LIMITI
- Web 30 ore: 12 €, 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. It is on 2G and 3G only but will open for 4G/LTE in the first trimester of 2015 with speeds up to 150 Mbps on the rather limited 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 € per calender day (0.00-23.59 hrs).
- Mobile 1Giga: 1 GB, 1 month, 7.50 €, activation: text 'SI GIGA' to 4071160
- Mobile 3Giga: 3 GB, 1 month,
16 €,in a promotion until 12/Sep/15 for 9.90 €, activation: text 'SI 3GB' to 4071160
- Internet 100 ore, 100 hours in 1 month, 19 €, text 'SI 100ORE' to 4071160
- Internet 30 ore, 30 hours in 1 month, 9.90 €, 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 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: Fastweb Store Locator. There you can reload too.
Default data rate is 0.20 € on 3G (Tre) and 0.30 € on 2G (TIM) and these packs can be added:
- Mobile Fuel: 300 domestic minutes, 300 dom. texts, 5 GB data in 1 month: 10 €
- Mobile Freedom: unlimitited domestic calls and texts, 5 GB data in 1 month: 25 €
- Sprintweb: 1 GB, 1 month, 5 €
- GigaWeb: 5 GB per month, for 3 months, total 30 € (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
Lycamobile is an UK-based MVNO which started its operations in Italy in summer of 2014 and is already the 2nd most popular MVNO in the country by customer numbers. It operates on the network of Vodafone in 2G and 3G only (for coverage see above).
Their SIM cards are sold for free in their outlets like Carrefour hypermarkets Lycamobile store locator. Top-ups must be done right away there, at Coop and Pam supermarkets. To find more shops for reloads click "Ricarica" on the store locator link.
Default data rate is 0.18 € per MB. They offer these two monthly packages:
- 1 GB:
7 €, promoted at 5 € in AUG 2015, activation: *139*1001#
- 2 GB:
13.50 €,promoted at 8.50 € in AUG 2015, activation: *139*1002#
This package will autorenew every month if there is credit. To stop, call customer service at 40322.
Note that you add more data within the running month of the package and for overuse you will the charged the default data rate. In many countries Lycamobile actively prevents tethering.
- APN: data.lycamobile.it
- Username: lmit (that's lowercase L, not capital i)
- Password: plus