Am I going to have problems getting a SIM card in Italy?
April 23, 2013 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Previous AMF questions have discussed walking into various mobile providers in Italy and just buying a SIM card. Glancing around internet currently suggests that SIM card sales are (more?) heavily regulated in Italy than previously, even to the point of not offering them for sale to someone showing a passport. Curious if any current Italy residents, expats, or students can provide info for the following: US unlocked GSM smartphone owner heading to Italy for 10 days and would like to have reasonable phone and text options to call/text back to states to check on house and pets with housesitter. Data a plus but absolutely not necessary. Any advice to smooth the process of buying a SIM card in Italy would be greatly appreciated.
posted by teg4rvn to Travel & Transportation around Italy (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you ruled out buying a SIM ahead of time? I have used Brightroam, though not for Italy, and they were very reliable and the SIMs worked perfectly. It may cost a bit more (I'm not sure - looking at their rates, they seem reasonable), but it'll let you check it off your list before you go.
posted by payoto at 12:18 PM on April 23, 2013

I needed my local address and codice fiscale, the equivalent of a US SSN, to get a SIM card, which I promptly gave to my visiting friend. As far as I know, it would have been difficult/impossible for him to get one without me.
posted by lydhre at 1:12 PM on April 23, 2013

I haven't got round to buying an Italian SIM yet, but a book I have on living in Rome (published last year) informs me
Just bring in your passport (and your codice fiscale if you have one).
which sort of implies that the codice fiscale is desirable but not always necessary.
posted by pont at 2:23 PM on April 23, 2013

I believe "pont" is correct. I was intrigued by your question so I did a bit of research--it would appear that buying a SIM ( phone and data ) is not a problem--bring your passport. This seems to agree with other articles I scanned--Hope this is correct and have a good time.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:35 PM on April 23, 2013

Previously. What they usually do is stick your particulars into a script that generates what your theoretical codice fiscale would be.
posted by romakimmy at 3:04 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I bought one from a TIM store in Italy with my Australian passport in October last year. No issues.
posted by kjs4 at 4:39 PM on April 23, 2013

Seconding kjs4, I bought a SIM card at the TIM store in the Roma Termini train station last year. They took a copy of my passport and I filled out some paperwork (in English). I did not need a codice fiscale.

The SIM card itself was €25 and when I bought my first credit, I got some free data.

(Note: going into the store, there is a little printer built into the wall near the door. If there are people waiting, take a number)
posted by delezzo at 6:53 PM on April 23, 2013

Yep, just bring your passport.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:51 PM on April 23, 2013

What you need is a TIM International Card.

This is designed for (duh) international travellers, and offers international calls at reduced prices, and data.

You'll only need your passport and to fill in some forms - less bureaucratic than many other countries. TIM stores are everywhere, but there is a location finder on site, and you might want to print out the page to show them what you want.

Have fun in Italia!
posted by Flashduck at 4:28 PM on April 25, 2013

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