Why? Because I wanted to try out SIM cards (again).
Yeah… I am a SIM card nerd – welcome to Phone Travel Wiz 🤪.
But it was also an opportunity to try out (new) travel eSIMs, such as Airalo's Eurolink eSIM.
The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular Europe travel eSIM, whereas Airalo itself is the most popular travel eSIM provider.
So besides trying out four Italian local SIM cards (Wind Tre (formerly Wind Italy and Tre Italy), TIM Italy, Vodafone Italy & Iliad), I tested the Airalo Eurolink eSIM, the Nomad Europe eSIM & SimCorner Europe travel SIM card to find out which option is the best for Italy.
And I will share my results in this review.
Original publication: 10th of October 2022. Last updated: 19th of September 2023.
Table of Contents
Which Phones are Compatible with Airalo eSIMs?
Before discussing the Airalo Eurolink eSIM to be used in Italy specifically, you must know whether your phone can even support Airalo's eSIMs.
Sure, your phone may support eSIM, but the local mobile operator and travel eSIM provider, like Airalo, first needs to certify a phone before the users can use their products.
As of August 2023, the phones shown in the infographic below are compatible with Airalo eSIMs:
With that out of the way, let's talk more about the Airalo Eurolink eSIM!
You can get the Airalo Eurolink eSIM for as little as 5 USD for 1 GB of data (7 days) up to 185 USD for 100 GB (180 days). The eSIM can be used in Italy and 35+ other European nations with six options: 1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days, 5 GB/30 days, 10 GB/30 days, 50 GB/90 days & 100 GB/180 days).
Below is an overview of how much each Airalo Eurolink eSIM costs:
- Europe/Eurolink 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
- Europe/Eurolink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Europe/Eurolink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Europe/Eurolink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Europe/Eurolink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
- Europe/Eurolink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in September based on data up to the 7th of September (2023 data only).
Regardless of the currency used in your country, Airalo will always charge you in USD (US Dollar).
If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card.
Their fees are MUCH lower than banks and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).
I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Australian Dollars and Euros, my main currencies, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards.
Moreover, regardless of which Airalo Eurolink eSIM you choose, you can always top it up for the same amount of data and prices as listed above.
For example, suppose you buy the 5 GB Airalo Eurolink eSIM (30 days, costing 20 USD) but realize you need more data.
You can top it up with the 3 GB top-up (30 days, costing 13 USD) or the 100 GB top-up (180 days, costing 185 USD).
Many eSIM providers out there do not allow you to top up or extend the validity of your eSIM, so it is cool that Airalo allows you to do so.
The Airalo Eurolink eSIM can be used in Italy and 35+ other countries in Europe, including all nations in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area, the Balkans, and other European countries, including Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Below is a complete overview of countries the Airalo Eurolink eSIM works in:
- Austria 2
- Belgium 2
- Bulgaria 2
- Croatia 2
- Cyprus 2
- Czech Republic
- Denmark 2
- Estonia 2
- Finland 2
- Gibraltar 1
- Greece 2
- Iceland 2
- Ireland 2
- Italy 2
- Latvia 2
- Luxembourg 2
- Malta 2
- Poland 2
- Romania 2
- Spain 2
- Sweden 2
- Switzerland 2
- United Kingdom 2
1 on 3G only
2 (limited) 5G NR availability at no additional cost! (list updated in December 2022)
With the Eurolink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit – averaging 10.78 USD/country in Europe (and get 5G NR access at no additional cost)!
So if you plan on visiting other European countries before or after Italy getting the Airalo Eurolink eSIM will be convenient AND will save you a lot of money too.
If you want to visit other countries outside of Europe, consider the Airalo Global Discover eSIM, which can be used in 84+ countries, including Italy.
I have an ongoing review for the Discover Global eSIM too, letting you know in which countries you should consider it and which ones you should avoid it.
I used my Airalo Eurolink eSIM in Italy and ten other countries (Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Malta, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia & Slovenia) on my one-month Europe trip (and I will use it in various other countries in 2023 – I had to head back to Australia because my boyfriend wanted me back 🤪).
But I do want to let you know how travel eSIM providers like Airalo work.
It is impossible for Airalo, or any other mobile operator, to operate in every country (and do not trust any company saying otherwise), so they set up roaming agreements.
What Airalo does, and basically all (actual) mobile operators do, is partner up with a local mobile operator so that their customers can still stay connected abroad.
In the case of Italy, the Airalo Eurolink eSIM uses the Wind Tre (formerly Wind Italy and Tre Italy), TIM Italy (on 5G NR) & Vodafone Italy networks.
Note: the Eurolink eSIM often uses two or three local networks, whereas country-specific ones (Mamma Mia in Italy) often just use one network.
Funnily enough, those are the three largest mobile operators in Italy.
Moreover, the Airalo Italy Mamma Mia eSIM, which is the most popular Airalo eSIM for Phone Travel Wiz readers by the way, also uses the same three networks.
However, the Mamma Mia eSIM is restricted to 4G/LTE.
With the Airalo Eurolink eSIM, you can use 5G NR on the TIM Italy network, which is huge.
Most travel eSIM providers are still “restricted” to 4G/LTE (or even worse, 3G in some countries).
So if you want to use 5G NR instead of 4G/LTE, stick with the Eurolink eSIM instead of the Mamma Mia eSIM.
I will talk a bit more about the Mamma Mia eSIM later because I want to share my network experience with the Eurolink eSIM first.
When I was in Italy, the Airalo Eurolink eSIM only used TIM Italy network on 4G/LTE (the eSIM did not have accces to the other two networks, let alone 5G NR… so you are lucky now 😜).
As you can expect, I also bought a TIM Italy SIM card and tried it out.
I had a 4G/LTE-only plan, so we can see how much slower (or faster) the Airalo Eurolink eSIM was compared to TIM Italy on 4G/LTE.
But TIM Italy allows you to use 5G NR with most of its plans nowadays (except for its TIM Tourist SIM card or now – this may have changed when you read this review, though).
Because my Airalo Eurolink eSIM used only the TIM Italy network back then, I will solely focus on it for this section (but you can read about Wind Tre's and Vodafone Italy's network performance in the respective reviews).
Anyway, according to the Italy Speedtest Awards of 2021, TIM Italy has the slowest 4G/LTE speeds (even slower than newcomer Iliad).
But TIM Italy does have the best 4G/LTE coverage experience (9.8 on a 10-point scale, together with Wind Tre and Vodafone Italy).
Furthermore, TIM Italy dominates the 5G NR race, with an average download speed of 271.7 Mbps. It is followed by Vodafone Italy (146.7 Mbps), Iliad (102.6 Mbps) & Wind Tre (57.1 Mbps).
As I mentioned earlier, you can use 5G NR with the Airalo Eurolink eSIM on the Wind Tre network… but you should not expect fast speeds at all, as shown above.
Even then, when TIM Italy eventually opens up 5G NR to Airalo Eurolink eSIMs, you will barely experience 5G NR reception because TIM Italy has the worst 5G NR reach and availability (again, behind newcomer Iliad).
Fast speeds with the Airalo Eurolink eSIM in Italy!
In fact, the results between TIM Italy and the Airalo Eurolink eSIM are similar (except for their upload speeds – more about that later).
I had an average download speed of 45.17 Mbps and a median download speed of 33.54 Mbps with the Airalo Eurolink eSIM: it passed the 4K video streaming test in Italy (minimum of 25 Mbps).
The same can (barely) be said for the HD live streaming test in Italy – the Airalo Eurolink eSIM had an average upload speed of 10.27 Mbps and a median upload speed of 10.56 Mbps, making it pass the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).
What about the Nomad Europe eSIM? How did it do in Italy?
Actually… about as good as the Airalo Eurolink eSIM.
The Nomad Europe eSIM used the Vodafone Italy network instead, but it had an average download speed of 45.21 Mbps and an average upload speed of 15.01 Mbps.
So yeah, similar results 😎.
Anyway, I encourage you to read the Nomad Europe in Italy review or the Nomad Europe in eight countries review too because its eSIMs have decreased in price lately… making them cheaper than the Airalo Eurolink ones 😲.
I would recommend the Airalo Eurolink eSIM for Italy, and it would be one of my top recommendations for anyone wanting to buy a Europe travel eSIM (but not only for Italy).
While I had a good experience in Italy with the Airalo Eurolink eSIM, you are better off getting the Airalo Mamma Mia eSIM if you are only visiting Italy.
I did not try out the Mamma Mia eSIM in Italy because I was too busy with the Eurolink eSIM, Nomad Europe eSIM, SimCorner O2 Europe SIM card & the four local SIM cards. But more than 510 Phone Travel Wiz readers have tried the eSIM, and I have yet to receive bad feedback for it, so you will be fine if you get it!
That is because you pay a premium to be able to use one eSIM in more than 35 European countries.
However, unlike the Airalo Mamma Mia eSIM, the Eurolink eSIM can use 5G NR (on the TIM Italy network).
And TIM Italy's 5G NR speeds are fast 😍 (but not in Rome when I was there – you may have better luck now!)
So if you are visiting multiple European countries, you better go with the Airalo Eurolink eSIM because you will be saving quite some money when you do so (and you can use 5G NR in more than half the eligible countries while the country-specific eSIMs cannot).
Okay, back to Italy specifically, getting the Airalo Eurolink eSIM, and any other Airalo eSIM for that matter, is easy and straightforward (even though I did not spend any time on how to install Airalo eSIMs – you will manage… promise!).
Airalo's Eurolink eSIM has the most generous data allowance of any Europe eSIM I know of (1 GB, 3 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB, 50 GB & 100 GB).
In Italy, it uses the Wind Tre (formerly Wind Italy and Tre Italy), TIM Italy & Vodafone Italy networks, with 5G NR access on the TIM Italy network.
When I was in Italy, the Airalo Eurolink eSIM could only use the TIM Italy network (on 4G/LTE), and it worked well too.
Anyway, your speeds will often be fast enough for general data browsing and video streaming.
Taking all 15 speed tests into account, I had an average overall download speed of 45.17 Mbps and a median download speed of 33.54 Mbps with the Airalo Eurolink eSIM in Italy.
When looking at upload speeds, I had an average upload speed of 10.27 Mbps and a median upload speed of 10.56 Mbps with the Airalo Eurolink eSIM in Italy.
So yeah, you will be fine with the eSIM.
By using extensive 4G/LTE and 5G NR networks, offering affordable data plans & offering fast download speeds, you should have a smooth browsing experience with the Airalo Eurolink eSIM in Italy.
Interested in using the Airalo Eurolink eSIM in another country or countries? Read my Airalo Eurolink eSIM review (tested in 11 countries).
Other Italian eSIM & Travel SIM Card Reviews (Nomad & SimCorner)
As mentioned earlier, I also tried out the Nomad Europe eSIM and SimCorner O2 Europe SIM card when I was in Italy and various other European countries.
You should read those reviews too.
>>> Airalo Eurolink (in other countries) eSIM Review | Nomad Europe (in Italy) eSIM Review | Nomad Europe eSIM Review | SimCorner O2 Europe (in Italy) SIM Card Review | SimCorner O2 & 3 Europe SIM Cards Review<<<
I also tried out various local Italian SIM cards: Wind Tre, TIM Italy, Vodafone Italy & Iliad Italy.
If your phone does not support eSIM (but felt like reading this Airalo review in full anyway – awesome) or want to have the best network experience possible, you want to go directly with the local mobile operators instead of roaming on their networks (as you do with travel eSIMs).
So I encourage you to read the Italian SIM card reviews too.
Check out my reviews page if you want to read all the other reviews I have written, including other European SIM cards.
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