Cellular or Mobile Telephones

Find out how to get connected to mobile telephone services in Italy...

Italian mobile phone numbers are ten numbers long and begin with "3".

Phone models available are much the same as in any other country, as are the brands: Samsung, Nokia, iPhone, etc. Phones purchased in another European country can be used in Italy, though roaming charges may be payable.

GSM cellular phones from North America must be tri-band in order to work in Italy; they must be able to function on the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies.

Some of the service providers for cell phones in Italy are:

Each company offers a broad range of voice and data services and packages, and it is always recommended to compare prices and conditions carefully before entering into a contract.

The following information is required to initiate mobile telephone service:

  • Identification
  • A document indicating the applicant's address
  • Tax number (codice fiscale)

International roaming (which allows a phone on an Italian contract to work outside the country) is available but must be requested and may cost extra.

Choose from either a permanent contract at a fixed monthly rate, or a rechargeable/pay as you go one where the phone card must be regularly recharged with additional credit. Additional credit vouchers (richariche) can be purchased from grocery stores, tobacconists and magazine shops; sometimes they are in the form of scratch-off cards. Credit can also be purchased through ATMs, the service provider's website, customer service phone line or in their phone shops.

Lost or stolen mobile phones

All mobile phones have a unique identification code, the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code. This belongs to the handset and is associated with a card, the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card, which holds the telephone number assigned to a customer. Access to the SIM card can be protected by personalising the card with a 4 digit PIN number

The IMEI number provides protection if a phone is lost or stolen. The IMEI code is clearly shown on the paperwork at the time of purchase. Make a note of it and keep it separate from the mobile in case the phone is lost or stolen. If the purchase paperwork is not available, it is possible to find the IMEI number by entering: *#06# on the keypad.

The loss (smarrimento) or theft (furto) of a mobile cell phone should be reported to the service provider immediately. They will need the IMEI number or details of the SIM card. The service will be suspended and the telephone blocked making it impossible for anyone else to use it, and the phone may be traced. The owner is responsible for payment of any calls made until the SIM is blocked unless they have taken out insurance with the supplier.

If the phone is stolen, a declaration can also be made at the nearest police station; the police must be supplied with the IMEI number.