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Andytel (Offline)
Junior Member
Amateur Member
Posts: 22
Join Date: 14 Dec 2005
Location: Milano

Default 14-12-2005, 10:49

Quick Facts

Country: Italy
Network Name: Vodafone IT
Prepaid Card Name: Vodafone SIM
Frequency and Technology: GSM 900/1800, W-CDMA 2100
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): ? 10.00, including ? 5.00 of credit
Documents Needed: ID card/Passport and Italian Fiscal Code
Prepaid Package Validity: 11 months, plus 1 month to recharge
CSD access: Yes
GPRS/EDGE access: Yes, GPRS only, EDGE not implemented
UMTS access: Yes
SIM applications: Yes, you can configure your 128k sim-card from Internet, and add/remove applications from it, as well as phonebook
Manual included: Yes in most cases, it is just a quick guide in Italian only
Refill amounts: ?3/2, ?10/8, ?25/20, ?50/45, ?100/95, ?150/145 (cost/credit)
Availability: Vodafone shops, big department stores
Competitors: TIM, Wind, 3 ITA

More In-Depth Information


The Good:
Very easy to buy a prepaid card.
Vodafone shops can be found in most towns, even smaller ones.
The prepaid kit is cheap and the card is usually active in a couple of hours (but sometimes you can wait also up to 24 hours).
It's very easy to top-up, nearly any "tabacchi" and "lotto" shop can recharge your account,as well as any newsstand. You can top-up from abroad using scratch-cards from other European Vodafone or Partner networks.

The Bad:
The usual big problems with Italian Fiscal Code; you need one otherwise you cannot buy any Italian prepaid card. You don't need to be born in Italy to have one: if the shop assistant is smart enough, he can calculate it for you.
Sometimes, especially on weekends or in August (=holidays), you have to wait quite a lot for the card to be activated.


The Good:
GSM coverage is usually good everywhere, even if -in remote areas of southern Italy- TIM is sometimes better.
3G-UMTS coverage is limited to urban and touristic areas.
SIM cards are activated at the shop, once you go out of the shop you just have to wait a couple of hours for activation. GPRS is enabled, while you need to enable MMS (just by sending one from your phone) if you want to be able to receive them. Prepaid customers can access to the 3G network without any special configuration; videocall service is active by default
Credit check is simple and updated in real-time: just dial 404 or 414; you can check through internet (with much more information) and set-up all options at
You can set English as your preferred speaking language for IVR and messages.
Useful SMS tells you which calls you missed while your phone was turned off or off-network, and when a turned-off phone you tried to call is again available ("Recall").
SMS work well, while to access all the sections of the WAP-portal you need to have a Vodafone Live! compatible phone.
UMTS data connection works fine, but you need to activate some promotional bundle to make it affordable! (there's a wonderful UMTS/GPRS pc connect card available, in case you need).
International roaming is preactivated, and it works by dialing *123*phonenumber# . Direct roaming is available with some operators.

The Bad:
Vodafone is not the cheapest solution for GSM in Italy, although one of the most reliable. The preactivated plan is not good for short calls (per minute biling). You can switch to another plan for free (only the first time). Easy Day is the best plan for short calls (no set-up fee, per second billing). Vodafone People is the cheapest towards other Vodafone IT customers.
International SMS cost two times the national ones.
Videocalls to non-Vodafone customers and to abroad are very expensive.
Leisure and additional services accessed via Vodafone Live! are also quite expensive.

In some periods you can find sim for ?5.00, including ?5.00 of credit.
As an alternative, sim for ?25.00, including ?26.00 of credit are also usually available.
Ask at the shop to activate also promotions for international traffic ("My Country" cards), and Vodafone Passport, if you need them.
There are some promotional fares for voice and SMS, during Summer and Christmas which can be very useful and cheap for longer journey in Italy with other Vodafone and italian customers; if you plan to stay in Italy for a long time consider to activate some offers you see listed on Vodafone page here on PrepaidGSM.

This is an updated version of the review I posted on HoFo some time ago.
I still think Vodafone and TIM are the two best italian operators and are quite similar in terms of price for value, Wind is cheaper but less reliable (especially in terms of coverage), while to use 3 ITA u-sim card you need an UMTS phone (usually sold sim-locked), otherwise it just won't work.
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