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Buying A Sim Card In The Rome Airport Is Easy With Our Help

Buying a SIM card in the Rome airport when you land at Fiumicino is one of the first things you should consider doing and this guide will help make it easy.

Buying A SIM Card In Rome Airport - Tourist

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What You Should Know About Buying A SIM Card In The Rome Airport

What Is A Sim Card Used For?

If you weren’t aware, SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module and it is a memory chip that holds unique information about your cell phone account. It tracks the identity of the country, carrier, and user of any given cell phone. In other words, when your cell phone connects to a cellular network, the SIM card tells the network who is using it.

Orange Prepaid SIM

30GB of data in Europe with 2 hours of international calls and 1000 texts from Europe to anywhere in the world.

Do You Need A Sim Card In Italy?

It isn’t a requirement to get a SIM from an Italian telecom service when you arrive, but it is something people from outside the EU will need to consider for a couple of reasons. First, if you use Verizon or AT&T, you will need to check into their international plans. Currently, Verizon’s TravelPass is an additional $10 per day,  you get unlimited calls and text, but data is pulled from your domestic balance, which can be an issue since wi-fi isn’t quite as ubiquitous as in the U.S. and you will probably use it more for maps and WhatsApp while here.

Buying A SIM Card In Rome Airport - Tourist Information

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Do You Need A Data Or Voice SIM Card In Italy?

When you buy a SIM card in the Rome airport, it should include both voice and data. You will need a voice SIM for at least two reasons: Making emergency calls to Italian authorities or back to your home country, and to make restaurant reservations. You will need a data SIM for most other things, like using WhatsApp to communicate, navigating with Google maps or just checking your email. Don’t try to save money here, you need a full service SIM card in Italy.

Is Buying A SIM Card At Rome Airport Easy?

Before leaving for Italy, you will need to decide if you would prefer to use your existing US (or non-Italian) cellular carrier or if it makes more sense to use an Italian SIM. After you land in the Rome airport, a SIM from an Italian carrier may be the first thing you do once you exit Italian Customs and airport security.

Buying A SIM Card In Rome Airport - TIM Telecom Italia

TIM Booth In Airport

There are semi-permanent booths set up just outside the arrivals area (currently to the left, but that might change) in the Rome Airport for SIM Cards from the Italian telecom companies, TIM and Vodafone. Another popular carrier in Italy, and one that we use, is WindTre. They have plans that are comparable to Vodafone and Tim, but I was unable to confirm that they have a customer service desk near the arrivals area on my most recent visit to Fiumicino Airport.

Vodafone – Rome Airport

One option for a SIM card in Rome Fiumicino airport is from Vodafone. Their program, called Vodafone Holiday, is specifically designed for tourists and costs 30€, which includes the SIM card and the first renewal. 

Buying A SIM Card In Rome Airport - Vodafone

Vodafone – Check Hours

Vodafone Holiday is available only for rechargeable plans and it is valid only for calls, messages and data usage only in Italy. The minutes and messages included are valid for Italian and foreign numbers for countries included in the promotion. Pay-numbers (ex. 89xxxxx) and answering service are not included in the promotion.

TIM Store – Rome Airport

TIM also has a plan designed for tourists, Viaggio PASS Mondo, in Italy. The cost details are:

  • The cost of the offer is €30, which is charged at the time of activation.
  • If the minutes, SMS or GB included in the offer run out, the basic roaming rates will apply if there are no other offers dedicated to international roaming that may have been activated on the line.
Buying A SIM Card In Rome Airport - Outside Airport

Vodafone In Rome

There are more details available on their site, but at a high-level, some of the offer details are:

  • Promo offer that can be activated by 29 January 2023.
  • All prices shown are VAT included.
  • The offer is valid for incoming and outgoing calls, sent text messages and smartphone browsing in over 80 non-European countries.
  • The offer will be activated within 48 hours of the request at the latest.
  • The 100 minutes of calls included in the offer include 50 minutes of calls made roaming from the countries included in the offer to Italy and the country visited, and 50 minutes of calls received. The minutes, SMS and GB included in the offer will be usable within ten days of the first call, SMS or Internet connection made abroad and, in any case, by 02/28/2024.
  • The use of the bundle expires on the tenth day at 23:59 Italian time.
  • Following expiry, the offer can be reactivated by the customer.

Unlocking Your Phone

The PUK And The PIN

  • The PIN (Personal Identification Number) is intended to protect your SIM Card from unauthorized use. 
  • The PUK (Personal Unblocking Key) code is a code consisting of 8 digits. It is used to unblock your SIM card when you enter an incorrect PIN 3 times. A card blocked by the PUK code cannot be unblocked and you have to replace it.
Buying A SIM Card In Rome Airport - TIM Outside

TIM In Rome

These numbers are on the card holding your new SIM and it is important to save them securely. When using a SIM card in Italy, some phones are set to require that every time you turn off your phone and turn it back on, you will have to unlock your SIM card, especially if it isn’t from your domestic service provider. My experience is that this security feature can be turned off, but at least the first time you are prompted, you will need the PIN.

More Information For Traveling Around Rome and Italy

Certainly buying a SIM Card in the Rome Airport and getting to Rome’s city center will be your most immediate travel needs, but for more information on getting around Rome and Italy, you may find these useful as well: 

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