Buying a SIM card at Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP): Travelers Guide

As one of the largest airports in Italy, Milan Malpensa International airport (MXP) sees millions of passengers annually. Buying a SIM card at Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) upon arrival is essential for staying connected while traveling in Italy. This article provides important information for travelers about SIM card at Lombardy Airport (Milan Malpensa) on where and what SIM cards are available to purchase.

Lombardy-airport-sim-card

I. Should You Buy a SIM Card at Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)?

Yes, but if you don’t mind queuing up to buy the SIM card and wait for SIM activation.

Buying SIM cards at the airport is the traditional approach to staying connected when traveling abroad, including Italy. The advantage of buying a SIM card at the MXP airport is that you can get Internet access right upon arrival. However, the downsides are higher cost and less plan options to choose from when compared with other buying methods like buying in the Italian cities.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Lombardy Airport?

Milan Malpensa airport map - Buying a SIM card at Milan Malpensa Airport
Milan Malpensa airport map

There are a few places where you can buy SIM cards for Italy at Lombardy Airport (MXP). But note that prices vary slightly between kiosks located in different halls, even for the same package.

Here are some guidelines about the locations of Italian mobile network carriers at MXP airport:

  • TIM Italy: Arrivals area (near Gate A1) and Departures area (near Gate B24) in Terminal 1
  • Vodafone Italy: Arrivals area (near Gate A3) and Departures area (near Gate B22) in Terminal 1
  • WindTre: Arrivals area (near Gate A5) and Departures area (near Gate B20) in Terminal 1
  • Lycamobile: Arrivals area (near Gate A9) in Terminal 1
  • Illiad: Arrivals area (near gate A7) in Terminal 1

What to prepare: an unlocked phone, passport and payment method. Ask staff for help with the activation process and any extra charges.

sim card at lambordy airport

Pro Tip: When buying at the Milan airport, look for kiosks and booths with clear signage about pricing, network coverage and terms of service. 

III. How Much Does SIM Cards at Milan Malpensa Airport Cost?

Good to know: 1 EUR = 1.08 USD as of Feb 2024

It costs between 64 EUR (68.50 USD) and 85 EUR (90.95 USD) for you to buy a TIM Italy, Vodafone Italy, or Lycamobile Italy SIM card for at Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP).

But the prices may vary depending on the time of the year, the provider, and the plan you choose. It is best to compare prices from different providers before buying.

IV. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Lombardy Airport?

Vodafone sim card

To obtain a SIM card as a foreign traveler at Lombardy Airport, generally you need to prepare the following things:

  1. Valid Passport – This is the most common form of accepted ID for foreign tourists purchasing SIM cards in Italy.
  2. Proof of Residency – Some providers may request you show a document with your name and temporary address in Italy such as a hotel booking confirmation or rental agreement.
  3. Unlocked phone: Your phone must be unlocked to use a foreign SIM card. It is recommended to check your phone’s lock status in advance before departure. If your phone is locked, contact the provider to have it unlocked.
  4. Tax Code (Codice Fiscale) – This unique ID code is used for tax purposes in Italy. You may need provide this to register a SIM card for some providers. It can be obtained by submitting an application at the Italian Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate) office in Italy.
  5. Payment Method – Most SIM card providers accept major credit/debit cards. Some may be cash only. Have some Euros on hand for convenience.

How to buy SIM card at Milan Malpensa Airport – Registration Process

Here is an overview of what to expect for the registration and activation process when purchasing a SIM card at Lombardy Airport:

  1. Select a Provider and Plan – Review the SIM card plans available from various provider kiosks and booths. Choose the provider and plan that best meets your needs.
  2. Provide Documents – Show required documents like your passport, proof of residency, tax code. Staff will verify your identity.
  3. Activate SIM Card – Provider staff will take your new SIM card and activate it on their system. This may involve providing your own mobile number to port over or configuring the SIM based on instructions provided.
  4. Configure Phone – Once activation is complete, you will insert the SIM card into your own phone. Follow the setup prompts displayed to configure network settings and other options.
  5. Top Up Credit – If you purchased a pay-as-you-go SIM card, you’ll need to top up your initial credit with cash, credit or debit card to start using it. Staff can assist with topping up your balance.

Being prepared with proper documentation and understanding the registration process will make purchasing a SIM card much smoother upon arrival at Lombardy Airport.

Note: Staffs at Milan Malpensa Airport can speak both Italian and English, so don’t worry about language barrier.

So, the registration process to buy a SIM card at MXP airport is quite complicated and time-wasting. Many tourists do not experience this hassle. But, don’t worry, there is always a better alternative. Let’s see what it is.

V. Italy eSIM – An Alternative to Prepaid SIM at Milan Malpensa Airport

If you want to avoid the hassle when buying a SIM card at the Milan Malpensa Airport, consider buying Italy eSIM (embedded digital SIM). This type of SIM is directly integrated into a device and activated remotely with a QR code or app.

Some benefits of choosing an Italy eSIM over a regular SIM card at Lombardy Airport:

  • No plastic SIM card to insert/remove from device
  • Remote activation – ready to use upon arrival
  • Flexible plans – can change data amounts each day
  • Multi-network support – uses best local network signal
  • Digital management of plans with app/dashboard
GIGAGO Italy eSIM
GIGAGO Italy eSIM

To buy eSIM for Italy travel, you should choose a reputable eSIM provider like Gigago. Gigago Italy eSIM works on both iOS and Android. Some popular eSIM plans for Italy of Gigago are:

  • GIGAGO ITALY 5 DAYS– 3BG in 5 days at $8.5 
  • GIGAGO ITALY 20 DAYS – 15GB in 20 days at $38.28

VI. Where to Buy SIM Cards Outside of Lombardy Airport?

Wind Italy

here are some other places around Milan to purchase SIMs from major providers:

  • TIM Store – Multiple locations in central Milan sell TIM SIM cards and plans.
  • Vodafone Store – Vodafone branded stores offer SIM cards. Stores around Milan Centrale Station.
  • Wind Store – Wind SIM cards available at Wind stores in Milan city area.
  • Phone Shops/Kiosks – Many small phone dealers and kiosks also offer SIM cards from various carriers.

When buying outside the airport, here are some tips:

  • Ask hotel staff for nearest provider store recommendations
  • Check store websites to confirm SIM card availability and prices
  • Take your passport to activate and register SIM purchase
  • Consider transport options to/from store locations

Buying at central city stores may offer wider plan selection and fewer tourists, but less convenience if stores are far from your hotel.

► Our recommendation: We recommend new arrivals buy at Lombardy Airport for simplicity unless you have time to visit provider stores in the city center. If you have compatible phone with eSIM, buying eSIM before departure is a great choice for your Italy trip.

VII. FAQs About Getting a SIM Card at Milan Malpensa Airport

What documentation do I need to buy a SIM card at Lombardy Airport?

You’ll need a valid passport or other official photo ID. Some providers may also require a credit or debit card for payment.

Can I use my own phone with a SIM card from Lombardy Airport?

Yes, as long as your phone is unlocked and compatible with Italian networks. Check with your provider before departure.

Can I top up my SIM card at Lombardy Airport?

Yes, most providers have kiosks or staff who can assist with topping up your balance at the airport.

How do I activate my SIM card at Lombardy Airport?

Follow the instructions provided by the staff at the point of purchase. This may involve inserting the SIM card into your phone and configuring network settings.

VIII. Conclusion

Buying a SIM card at Lombardy Airport can be inconvenient if you don’t have much budget. With the rise in various providers and plans available, it’s important to eSIM technology to compare prices and and features online to find the SIM best fit for your card purchase needs. Alternatively, esSIM exists like GIGAGO offers a flexible and hassle may better-free option for frequent suit Italy travelers.