Use Cell Phone In Italy for Travelers 2024: How To Do It?

Italy, with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine, attracts millions of tourists every year. Whether you plan to admire the architectural marvels of Rome, explore the canals of Venice, or hike the scenic trails of Cinque Terre, staying connected while traveling in Italy is essential. Knowing how to use cell phone in Italy can be confusing. From using your local network to purchasing an eSIM or a local SIM card, several options are available to keep you connected while traveling in Italy. Let’s read on!


I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies, and Networks in Italy

Before discussing the options available to you, let’s first understand the mobile phone landscape in Italy.

Phone Compatibility in Italy

  • Most phones sold in the last few years will work in Italy on 2G/3G/4G networks. However, you need to check if your phone supports the main Italian frequencies listed below.
  • All major Italian operators (Wind Tre, TIM, Vodafone, Iliad) support the main European standards – GSM, UMTS, and LTE. So compatibility is generally not an issue.
  • Make sure your phone is unlocked so it will accept any local SIM card. Locked phones will only work with the SIM of the carrier it was originally sold by.
  • Support for the latest network technologies varies by device. Devices need to support frequencies used for 5G NR and have the right bands to access 5G in Italy.

Network Frequencies in Italy

  • 2G: 900 MHz and 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz and 2100 MHz networks are being shut down.
  • 4G/LTE: Main bands are 800 MHz, 1500 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz.
  • 5G NR: Frequency bands include 700 MHz, 1500 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400-3800 MHz.
  • Wind Tre, TIM and Vodafone all operate 5G networks on n3 (1800 MHz), n7 (2600 MHz) and n78 (3400-3800 MHz). Iliad uses n3 and n7 only.
  • 5G is generally available in major cities. Coverage depends on the operator and specific band support of your device.

Mobile Networks in Italy

  • The three major network operators are Wind Tre, TIM and Vodafone. They have broad national 4G/LTE and 5G coverage.
  • Iliad is the fourth operator, with nationwide 4G coverage growing and limited 5G in main cities for now.
  • MVNOs like Fastweb, Poste Mobile and Lycamobile piggyback on the larger networks’ infrastructure.
  • Generally Wind Tre has the fastest 4G, while TIM provides best indoor and rural coverage across Italy. Vodafone strikes a good balance.

II. Will My Cell Phone Work In Italy?

Most likely yes. The compatibility of your cell phone in Italy depends on whether your phone supports the frequency bands used in Italy. You can check your phone’s specifications to see if it is compatible with the Italian networks.

Carrier2G Bands3G Bands4G/LTE Bands5G NR Bands
Wind Tre900 MHz, 1800 MHz900 MHz, 2100 MHz800 MHz (B20), 1500 MHz (B32), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7)1800 MHz (n3), 2600 MHz (n7), 3700 MHz (n78)
TIM900 MHz, 1800 MHz900 MHz, 2100 MHz800 MHz (B20), 1500 MHz (B32), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7)3700 MHz (n78)
Vodafone900 MHz, 1800 MHz900 MHz, 2100 MHz800 MHz (B20), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7)1800 MHz (n3), 2100 MHz (n1), 2600 MHz (n7), 3500 MHz (n78)
Iliad800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2600 MHzN/A800 MHz (B20), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7)3500 MHz (n78)
Fastweb900 MHz, 1800 MHz2100 MHz800 MHz (B20), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7)3500 MHz (n78)

Most modern smartphones support the frequency bands used in Italy, so there’s a good chance your phone will work without any issues. However, if you’re not sure or if you plan on using your phone extensively while in Italy, getting an international plan is a good idea.

III. Do I Need An International Plan In Italy?

use cell phone in Italy

Yes. If you’re not sure or if you plan on using your phone extensively while in Italy, getting an international plan is a good idea. International plans can save you from hefty roaming charges and provide a reliable and affordable way to stay connected. Let’s take a look at international plan: 

  • No roaming fees – International plans allow you to use your plan’s data, call, and text allowances in multiple countries without paying high roaming fees.
  • Single number – You can use the same phone number internationally so friends and family can reach you easily while traveling.
  • Wider coverage – International plans tend to provide service in more countries compared to local plans. This means you have coverage during multi-country trips.
  • Data connectivity abroad – You can stay connected through data roaming which allows activities like navigation, internet browsing, social media access while overseas.
  • No SIM card hassles – No need to constantly swap SIM cards in each country. A single SIM works seamlessly while traveling internationally.

IV. How to Use Your Phone in Italy? International Plan Options For Tourists

There are several international plan options available for tourists to use cell phone in Italy. The most common options include:

1. eSIM Plan for Italy

An eSIM is a digital SIM card that can be easily programmed onto your phone. eSIM plans are available from several providers, and they can offer great value for money.

Suitable for: Travelers who want a flexible and affordable way to stay connected in Italy.

Where to buy eSIM for Italy: You can purchase an eSIM for Italy online from providers like Gigago.


  • Easy to set up
  • No need to carry a physical SIM card
  • Can be used on multiple devices


  • Not all phones support eSIMs
  • Some eSIM plans may have data limits

2. International SIM card for Italy

Vodafone is the network operator with the best price

An international SIM card is a physical SIM card that you can use in your phone while traveling abroad. International SIM cards are available from most major network providers, and they can offer competitive rates for calls, texts, and data.

Suitable for: Travelers who want a reliable and affordable way to stay connected in Italy.

Where to buy a SIM card for Italy: You can purchase a SIM card for Italy at major airports, convenience stores, and phone shops.


  • Widely available
  • Easy to set up
  • Can be used on multiple phones


  • You may need to cut your SIM card to fit your phone
  • Some international SIM cards may have data limits

Note: To use international SIM card, your phone must be carrier-unlocked. Learn how to check if your phone is unlocked on your own.

3. Pocket WiFi

pocket wifi in Italy

A pocket WiFi is a small portable device that provides WiFi connectivity. Pocket WiFi devices are available from several providers, and they can offer a convenient way to stay connected while traveling in Italy.

Suitable for: Travelers who need to connect multiple devices to the internet.

Where to buy Pocket WiFi for Italy: You can rent a pocket WiFi device for Italy from major airports, convenience stores, and phone shops.


  • Allows you to connect multiple devices to the internet
  • Portable and easy to set up


  • Additional cost for renting the device
  • Battery life may be limited, requiring frequent charging

V. Will My Local Network Work In Italy?

If your local network provider offers international roaming plans, you may be able to use your existing SIM card in Italy. However, international roaming charges can be expensive, and you may face high data costs, so it’s essential to check the rates and terms with your network provider before traveling.

Some network providers offer affordable international roaming plans specifically for travelers, which can be a cost-effective solution if you don’t plan on using your phone extensively during your trip.

VI. Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Italy With Your Cell Phone


GIGAGO eSIM is a popular and convenient option for travelers visiting Italy. eSIMs are digital SIM cards that can be easily installed on your phone, eliminating the need for physical SIM cards and providing a hassle-free solution for staying connected.

Here are some reasons why GIGAGO eSIM is an excellent choice for travelers to Italy:

  • Easy Setup and Activation: GIGAGO eSIM can be easily activated and installed on your phone with just a few clicks, making it incredibly convenient for travelers. You don’t have to worry about finding a local SIM card or dealing with the hassle of cutting and inserting physical SIM cards.
  • Various High-speed Data Plans: GIGAGO eSIM offers various data plans for Italy, ensuring that you can browse, stream, and use your phone without worrying about data limits or overage charges.
  • Affordable Prices: GIGAGO eSIM plans for Italy are reasonably priced, offering excellent value for money compared to international roaming charges or local SIM cards.
  • Compatibility with Multiple Devices: One of the significant advantages of eSIMs is that they can be used on multiple devices. With GIGAGO eSIM, you can switch between your phone, tablet, and even a secondary device, making it an excellent option for travelers who carry multiple gadgets.

Which Italy eSIM plan should you choose for your trip?

GIGAGO offers several eSIM plans for Italy, catering to different travel durations and data needs. Here are some popular options:

  • Italy 7-Day eSIM Plan: This plan provides 7 days of 1-50GB data for Italy, making it perfect for short trips or city breaks.
  • Italy 15-Day eSIM Plan: With 15 days of 1-50GB data, this plan is ideal for longer vacations or those who plan to travel extensively within Italy.
  • Italy 30-Day eSIM Plan: For extended stays or backpacking trips, the 30-day various data plan ensures you’ll never run out of internet connectivity.

Visit the GIGAGO eSIM for Italy page to explore their Italy eSIM plans and choose the one that best suits your travel needs.

Note: Before buying an eSIM for Italy travel, you should also check if your phone supports eSIM (like with the physical one) or look for if your phone model is listed in our updated eSIM-compatible devices list. Only mobile devices equipped with eSIM technology can work with eSIM.

VII. Extra Tips To Use Cell Phone in Italy

  1. Enable Roaming: Before traveling to Italy, ensure that international roaming is enabled on your phone. This will allow your device to connect to local networks and access data while in Italy.
  2. Use WiFi Wherever Possible: While eSIMs and international SIM cards can provide reliable data connectivity, remember to utilize free WiFi hotspots whenever available. Many hotels, restaurants, and public spaces in Italy offer complimentary WiFi, which can help you save on data costs.
  3. Download Offline Maps: To minimize your data usage, download offline maps of the areas you plan to visit before leaving home. Apps like Google Maps and allow you to download maps for offline use, which can be incredibly helpful for navigation without consuming data.
  4. Turn Off Automatic App Updates: Automatic app updates can consume a significant amount of data, especially if you have multiple apps on your phone. Disable automatic app updates or only allow them to update when connected to WiFi to conserve your data plan.
  5. Use Messaging Apps: Instead of making regular phone calls, consider using messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, or Viber to communicate with friends and family back home. These apps typically use less data than traditional voice calls and can help you save on your international plan.

VIII. Conclusion

Staying connected while traveling in Italy is essential, and there are various options available to use your cell phone in Italy. From eSIMs to international SIM cards and pocket WiFi devices, each option has its pros and cons. Consider your travel plans, the number of devices you need to connect, and your budget to choose the best solution for your needs. And remember, while staying connected is essential, don’t forget to immerse yourself in the rich culture and beauty of Italy. Enjoy your travels, and buon viaggio!