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SIM Cards in Italy: The Best Prepaid Plans | 2024 Guide

If you are a traveling veteran like me, then you know the importance of staying connected with friends and family while traveling abroad.  

In Italy, having a reliable SIM card with a great prepaid plan is key to staying connected without breaking the bank. You can go to the nearest operator store and get yourself a generous prepaid plan that includes calls, texts, and mobile data for a price ranging somewhere between 10 and 25 EUR. For my fellow American readers, that is somewhere between 10 and 26 USD—not a big difference in currency.

For those of you who use newer iPhone versions or simply don’t want to run around finding a shop that sells SIMs, you can always opt for eSIM cards. Currently, there are four providers that offer eSIM cards that can be used in Italy with various different options, suited to your budget and needs. You can check them out in this in-depth Italy eSIM guide.

In this 2024 Italy SIM card guide, I will share my experiences and, in the end, help you choose the best prepaid SIM card in Italy, ensuring you have a seamless communication experience during your travels.

Wind Tre

Wind Tre, previously known as Wind and Tre (3) Italy, currently reigns as Italy's top mobile operator after their merger. These operators had respectively the third and fourth largest market share in Italy prior to this process of consolidation.

Wind Tre has surpassed both TIM Italy as well as Vodafone Italy when it comes to customer numbers. Wind Tre's consolidation of towers, frequencies, and other assets has enabled it to be the mobile provider with faster download speeds in Italy, especially 4G/LTE connections.

Coverage – Wind Tre

Wind Tre local SIM card boasts the most comprehensive 5G NR coverage across Italy, a fact validated by Opensignal.

SIM Card Price

Wind Tre offers SIM cards for 10 EUR in their shops. Tourist Passes, which are priced at 24.99 EUR, offer 20 GB local data and 13.7 GB EU/EEA data, as well as 100 local minutes and 100 international for 30 days.

The Tourist Pass cannot be extended, but you can text PASS RESTART (14.99 EUR) to 4033 after your plan has been used in order to renew it. Wind Tre offers eSIMs for the same price as physical SIM cards.

For your convenience, use an online currency calculator to convert the EUR to your local currency. 

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check

Wind Tre SIM cards can be found in stores throughout Italy. You can also recharge your Wind Tre SIM card by calling 4242.

Dial *123# to check the balance of your Wind Tre account. The WINDTRE App is also available on Android and iOS to manage and check your balance.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Wind Tre offers two main prepaid plans with data features: Di Più Plans (combination) and Solo Internet Plans (data-only).

The Di Più Plans are comprehensive bundles comprising data (including access to 5G NR), minutes, and SMS. It is worth noting that the Young(+) 5G plans cater specifically to individuals aged up to 30 years old. The prices for Di Più Plans range from 10 to 29 EUR.

Solo Internet Plans, on the other hand, are data-only bundles (without 5G NR access) ranging from 10 to 25 EUR, with validity periods ranging from one to three months.

EU Roaming

You can utilize your Wind Tre allowances across more than 30 EU/EEA member states without incurring roaming charges. However, it is essential to note that in certain instances, the EU/EEA roaming allowance may be lower than the allowances applicable for domestic usage.

My thoughts on Wind Tre

In March 2022, I had the opportunity to test Wind Tre. Previously, I had also tried Tre Italy when it operated as a separate company, but I found its network to be subpar despite its appealing pricing. Although Wind Tre currently holds the title of the largest mobile operator, my personal experience with it was quite negative. As a result, I would personally choose to pass on using Wind Tre.

TIM Italy 

TIM Italy is the second largest mobile operator in Italy. It was a state-owned operator before it went through privatization. It has a substantial lead over its rivals in terms of customers, with approximately 10 million more subscribers and a total of 30 million subscribers.

Coverage

TIM offers the best coverage across Italy and was awarded the Speedtest Italy Best Mobile Coverage Award for 2021.

SIM Card Price

You can purchase a SIM card from any TIM store for just 9.99 EUR. TIM Tourist SIM Card is priced at 24.99 EUR and includes 50 GB data, 13 GB EU data, unlimited chat, 200 local/international calls, and valid for 30 Days. TIM SIM cards are available at Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) in Rome.

TIM offers eSIMs for the same price as physical SIM cards. Consider a travel SIM card for Italy as it can be cheaper than buying a SIM from TIM. This is especially true for eSIMs that cover Europe or global eSIMs for international use.

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check

TIM top-up vouchers are available in TIM stores, grocery stores, corner shops, and electronics shops across Italy. To recharge your TIM SIM card, simply text the VoucherCode to 40916.  Alternatively, you can inform the salesperson of your desired credit amount, provide your mobile phone number, make the payment, and they will recharge your SIM card using the POS system. 

Manage top-ups and check your balance conveniently through the MyTIM app, available for Android, iOS, and Huawei AppGallery devices.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

  • Giga e Minuti Plans: These are combo plans with data (including 5G NR access), minutes, and SMS. Note that TIM Young is designed for youth (up to 25 years old), while TIM 60+ caters to seniors (60+ years old). Prices range from 10 to 40 EUR.
  • Flat Day: This is not a plan but the default data rate. If you use data without purchasing a data plan, you will be charged 2 EUR and receive 500 MB until midnight. Additional usage will allow browsing at 32 Kbps until midnight.
  • Solo Giga Power Plans: These are data bundles with 5G NR access, varying from 6 to 100 EUR, with validity ranging from 1 month to 1 year.
  • Data Add-Ons: These are data add-ons available for 2-5 EUR and cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

EU Roaming

You can utilize your TIM allowances in almost 40 EU member states without incurring roaming fees. However, it is important to note that in certain instances, the EU roaming allowance may be lower than the allowances for domestic usage.

My Thoughts on TIM Italy

During my trip to Italy last year, I tested TIM's services. Despite being the second-largest operator, I found its performance lacking compared to competitors. However, I would still recommend it, as it has several benefits over its competitors. 

Vodafone Italy

Vodafone Italy (Italia) holds the position of the third-largest mobile operator in Italy. It previously held the second-largest spot until Wind and Tre (3) Italy merged into Wind Tre.

Vodafone boasts the best overall network performance in terms of 4G/LTE connectivity.

The Vodafone brand operates across Africa (primarily as Vodacom), Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania.

Coverage

Vodafone offers extensive coverage throughout Italy.

SIM Card Price

Vodafone stores offer a Vodafone Italian SIM Card for 10 EUR. This includes a 5 EUR credit. Tourist SIM cards, formerly known as Dolce Vita SIM cards, are no longer available. Vodafone offers eSIMs for the same price as physical SIM cards, so it is a draw there.

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check

Text the VoucherCode on 42010 in order to top up your Vodafone SIM Card. You can also inform the salesperson about the desired credit amount, and your phone number and make the payment. They will then top up your SIM using the POS System. You can also recharge online using international/EU credit and debit cards.

Dial 414 for your Vodafone balance. My Vodafone Italia app is available on Android and iOS. You can manage top-ups, check your balance, and more.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

  • Red Max Plans: These are combo bundles with data (including 5G NR access), minutes, and SMS. Red Max plans can be activated through the Vodafone Italia app, with prices ranging from 10-20 EUR.
  • Infinito Plans: These combo plans offer unlimited data (with 5G NR access), unlimited (local) minutes, and unlimited SMS, priced between 25-40 EUR.
  • Giga Speed Plans: These are data bundles (without 5G NR access), with prices ranging from 10-30 EUR.

EU Roaming

You can utilize your Vodafone allowances in over 40 EU member states without incurring roaming fees. However, be aware that in some cases, the EU roaming allowance may be lower than domestic allowances.

My Thoughts on Vodafone

I tried out Vodafone once again on one of my Italy trips, and I was pleasantly surprised by its improved performance. While it may not be the absolute best mobile operator in Italy, I would still recommend Vodafone based on my experience.

Iliad

Iliad, the smallest mobile operator in Italy, stands out as the most affordable choice among the Big Four providers. For just 14 EUR, you can enjoy a plan with an astonishing 300 GB of data—yes, that is not a typo!

What is impressive is that Iliad has committed to never increasing its prices, even as it enhances the benefits of its plans. This pricing strategy has had a significant impact, effectively halving telecommunication costs in Italy, despite already low mobile data rates in the country

Owned by the same group as Free Mobile France, known for disrupting the French telecommunications market, Iliad has made a similar splash in Italy. It secured its place as the fourth mobile operator in Italy when Wind and Tre (3) Italy merged into Wind Tre, opening up competition and benefiting consumers.

While Iliad's affordability is a major draw, it is essential to note that its coverage and speed may not match up to its competitors. However, for those primarily in urban areas, Iliad typically offers a reliable service without major issues.

Coverage

While Iliad has the weakest coverage in Italy, you can still expect cellular reception almost everywhere, especially in urban areas.

SIM Card Price

An Iliad SIM card is available for 10 EUR at Iliad stores. Additionally, you can opt for an Iliad eSIM, priced the same as a physical SIM card.

Consider exploring a travel eSIM for Italy, which can sometimes be more cost-effective, especially for Europe-wide or global eSIMs.

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check

Iliad top-up options are available in Iliad stores, kiosks, and electronics shops across Italy.

To recharge your Iliad SIM card, follow the instructions provided on the Iliad Sim-Box machine. Online recharges can also be done using international/EU debit and credit cards. Checking your balance is simple and can be done online.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Iliad offers a single data-featured prepaid plan without a specific name. It includes a combo bundle with data (with 5G NR access), minutes, and SMS, priced between 5-15 EUR. Additionally, it provides call allowances for international calls, although these are limited to fixed-line phones.

EU Roaming

You can utilize your Iliad allowances in nearly 40 EU member states without incurring roaming fees. However, be mindful that the EU roaming allowance may sometimes be lower than domestic allowances.

My Thoughts on Iliad

Although it has a bad connection in rural areas, Iliad falls into the category of best prepaid SIM cards simply because of their generous data plans. 

Having tried Iliad in March 2022, I found it to be a refreshing experience since it wasn't available during my previous visits to Italy. Despite its reputation for weaker coverage, I was pleasantly surprised by the network quality and speeds.

Fastweb Italy

Fastweb Italy, or simply Fastweb, operates as a 5G NR-only mobile operator under the management of Swisscom from Switzerland. Despite being 5G-focused, Fastweb has established a national roaming agreement with Wind Tre, allowing its customers to access 2G, 3G (temporarily), and 4G/LTE services on the Wind Tre network in areas where Fastweb's coverage is not available yet.

While Fastweb's native coverage is robust, particularly in major cities, users can expect rapid 5G NR speeds and strong reception. However, when roaming on the Wind Tre network, speeds may be slower as Wind Tre prioritizes its own customers over Fastweb users.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fastweb_logo.svg

Coverage

Fastweb offers extensive coverage in Italy. While its 5G NR coverage isn't fully nationwide yet, customers can access 2G, 3G (temporarily), and 4G/LTE services through a roaming agreement with Wind Tre.

SIM Card Price

Fastweb SIM cards are available for 5 EUR. However, a plan or top-up amount of 15 EUR must be purchased at Fastweb shops. Consider a travel eSIM card for Italy. It may be cheaper than a SIM card purchased from Fastweb.

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check

Fastweb top-up vouchers are widely available in stores throughout Italy. To top up your Fastweb SIM card, call 4046 or follow the instructions provided online.

Online recharge options using international/EU debit and credit cards are also available. Checking your balance and managing your account can be done conveniently online or through the MyFastweb app for Android and iOS.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Fastweb offers a data-featured prepaid plan simply referred to as “Plans,” encompassing a combo bundle with data (including 5G NR access), minutes, and SMS. These plans are available online, with prices ranging from 8-12 EUR.

EU Roaming

Fastweb customers can utilize their allowances in approximately 30 EU member states without incurring roaming fees. However, be mindful that the EU roaming allowance may differ from domestic allowances in some cases.

My Thoughts on Fastweb

Or precisely, my friends' thoughts on Fastweb. With so many SIMs and eSIMs, I simply didn’t have the time to test them all out by myself. Luckily, I have been traveling with a group of friends, and one of them tried out the Fastweb SIM for me. In short, the SIM met all his needs during our trip, and it is safe to say he would use it again. 

https://www.fastweb.it/ecosim/

Lycamobile Italy

Lycamobile Italy, or simply Lycamobile, operates as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) under Vodafone Italy's network.

Known for its competitive international call rates, Lycamobile is active in several European countries, Australia, South Africa, and the United States. However, it does not provide 5G NR access, and data speeds are capped at 25 Mbps.

Coverage

As an MVNO using Vodafone Italy's network, Lycamobile's coverage aligns with Vodafone's. However, 5G NR access is not available with Lycamobile.

SIM Card Price

Lycamobile sells SIM cards at a price of 5 EUR or 10 EUR. They can also be bundled with specific plans (6.99 EUR to 14.99 EUR) and sold by various resellers, such as grocery stores, gas stations, and electronics shops. Unfortunately, Lycamobile doesn't offer eSIMs.

Consider an eSIM card for Italy as a cheaper alternative to Lycamobile SIM cards. This is especially true for eSIMs that cover Europe or the world.

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check

In Italy, you can purchase Lycamobile top-up vouchers at supermarkets, corner stores, and electronic shops. Call 40321 or dial 131VoucherCode# to recharge. You can also recharge online using European debit and credit cards.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Lycamobile offers four data-featured prepaid plans:

  • National Bundles: Combo plans with data (capped at 25 Mbps), minutes, and SMS, priced from 5-15 EUR.
  • International Bundles: Combo plans with data (capped at 25 Mbps), minutes, and SMS for international usage, ranging from 10-15 EUR.
  • Monthly Plans: Combo bundles with data (capped at 25 Mbps), minutes, and SMS, priced from 26.97-143.90 EUR with varying validity periods.
  • Data Bundles: Data-only plans (capped at 25 Mbps), priced from 5-12 EUR.

EU Roaming

Lycamobile customers can use their allowances in 30 EU member states without incurring roaming fees. However, be aware that EU roaming allowances may differ from domestic allowances in some cases.

My Thoughts on Lycamobile

Having experienced Lycamobile's services, I found it to be a convenient option, especially for those seeking affordable international calling rates. However, the absence of 5G NR access and the capped data speeds at 25 Mbps are notable limitations.

Wrap Up: SIMs for Your Italy Trip

Choosing the right prepaid SIM card for your Italy trip can make all the difference. After I first discovered eSIMs and started using them on my trips, I would hardly go back to traditional SIM cards and prepaid plans.  

However, I have tried out all the popular Italian SIM card options and created this guide so you know how to make the right choice on your next trip if you decide on a traditional SIM card. And if you plan to travel to other places around the globe, check out my SIM card buying guides for other destinations worldwide. Have safe and well-connected travels!