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pre-paid cell phone in Italy?
giv_man
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Hi, Just curious if I will be able to buy a prepaid cell phone and Sim card in Italy, upon arrival? I’d like to find one that I can use to call home to the USA. Specifically, I’ll be in Florence, Italy for the most part.

And if I travel on to Switzerland from Florence, will I be able to use the same cell phone. Or would I need to buy another phone in Switzerland? Thanks, Greg

Don
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You do not need to buy a phone there; in fact, it might be better for you to bring your own unlocked phone that uses a sim card. Generally, in the countries I’ve lived in and visited, you can buy pre-paid sim and credit at corner stores, supermarkets, post offices, etc. However, I do recall about 1-2 years ago on another forum someone posted that Italy required proof of legal residence to purchase pre-paid. I think Tripadvisor or an expat forum might be the best place to search for the most current status of this requirement, if someone here can’t give recent feedback on actual experience in Italy purchasing pre-paid sim and credit.

When you cross a border, you can either use up any remaining credit from the last country—at a very high international roaming rate—and/or purchase a new sim and credit for that country.

If your phone has wifi, and if you will have reliable wifi available when you want to make calls, then consider using Skype for your phone or laptop.

giv_man
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So, if I bring along a phone from home, it should be quad-band right?

If I bring my laptop along to Italy, will it be scanned by airport officials? Greg

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Does not necessarily have to be a quad band, as long as it takes a sim card. Nokias, SonyEricsson, Samsung, LGs, and iPhones take sim cards—here’s one, for example. But it must also be unlocked from any current provider that you have.

All items on commercial flights from the US are at least x-ray scanned. Laptops carried-on must currently be removed from the bag and sent through the x-ray machine on it’s own.’

Here’s a basic unlocked Samsung. I’m not a fan of basic LGs, but Nokia, Sony, and Samsungs usually have good sound quality, and are usually good bets for basic phones.

You could just purchase an unlocked phone when you arrive, but it’s much easier to only have to pick up a start-pack and pop it in so you can make calls right away.