Mobile & Data for tourists
We spent some time looking for a mobile & data plan to cover two months in Italy, Spain and Portugal. In general, we found that the rates for tourist sim cards were more generous in Italy compared to many other European countries.
The main Italian network providers are TIM, Vodafone, Wind and 3 (Tre), and Iliad. Note that when buying any sim card as a tourist, you need to take your passport as the phone number will be registered to your ID.
PLANS FOR SEVERAL MONTHS
We settled on the ‘International 1000 Super’ package provided by TIM. This plan is available to travellers for 9.99 euros ($16 AUD), and comes with:
10GB of data (including free use of instant messaging apps);
1000 local minutes;
300 international minutes (which included calls home to Australia); and
validity for 28 days.
This pay-as-you-go sim can be topped up online, however it requires an Italian domestic bank card to do so. Alternatively, tourists can top up the sims at any time in TIM stores, supermarkets, service stations, tobacco stores and post offices selling credit. When we bought the plan, we asked for two months worth of credit.
PLANS FOR ONE MONTH
There is also a general ‘tourist sim card’ available for 20 euros ($32.5 AUD), which comes with:
15GB of 4G data (including free use of instant messaging apps);
200 minutes in Italy and abroad; and
validity for 30 days.
Note that there is a 10 euro activation fee on top, and that this sim card cannot be renewed beyond the 30 days.
CAN DATA BE USED IN OTHER COUNTRIES?
The European Union has ‘roam like at home’ rules which require your phone plan to work in all EU countries at no extra cost. For example, the plan that you buy in Italy or Germany must provide you with the same calls, texts and data in other EU countries such as Spain, Hungary, and the Netherlands, without charging you any extra.