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Cell Phone Usage in Italy

Aug 30, 2008
If you are planning a trip to Italy, you may be wondering if your cell phone will work in that particular country. The truth is that your phone has less than a 50% chance of functioning due to the different frequencies that we use in this country. In Europe, GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) phones use 900 and 1800 frequencies. In Canada and North America, we use 1900 and 850. So even if you have a GSM phone, it is probably not designed to be compatible with these European frequencies.

Many newer cellular phones that are now available on the American market may be functional in Italy, although this will also depend on the company that provides your cell phone service. Many providers do not carry GSM phones, such as Sprint, Nextel, and Verizon. Some of these businesses do have phones that they rent or sell that may work in this foreign country. If they do provide these international phones, you need to ensure that they function with both 900 and 1800 frequencies or you may find that you will not be able to use these devices in most parts of the country. You also will probably pay an additional fee that will allow you to use your "roaming " feature but this added expense can be quite substantial, some plans costing as much as $1.25 per minute.

You may want to purchase a cell phone once you arrive in Italy. Italians are known for their extensive cell phone usage, with most having multiple devices. Most of these individuals use the prepaid phones that entail no service contract and have free unlimited incoming calls from anywhere in the world.

These prepaid cell phones are available at any Italian stores along with the SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card. As a foreigner, you may have some difficulties purchasing and setting up these types of cell phones. Some merchants ask for identification, such as an Italian driver's license that you obviously do not possess. Even if you are able to purchase one, the directions for these cell phones are all written in Italian, so you may have problems setting up the features that you wish to use as well as understanding your service plan.

The best way to insure that you will have cell phone use while you are in Italy is probably to purchase or rent a prepaid cellular phone online or at the airport, although these airport devices can be rather expensive. The advantage of ordering one of these devices while you are still at home is the ability to have your Italian phone number before you leave so that you can give it to family, friends, and any business associates that may need to be able to reach you while you are abroad. When obtaining one of these phones, the same rates apply that the Italians pay, so this is also the least expensive option.

Traveling to Italy can be a trying endeavor. By purchasing your cell phone ahead of time, you can eliminate one more detail that you will have to worry about.
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You just got a new cell phone or you want to personalize your current cell phone visit this article on cell phone accessories .
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