Previously, I have not bought a local cell phone in Europe. What stores sell them in Centro Storico or nearby Rome central area? What should I look for in terms of how much to pay?
I want to use the cell phone for calls made while in Rome to people and places in Rome and Florence. I will not be making calls to the U.S.
Can I can get a phone pre-loaded with minutes? What should I expect to pay for the phone? Expected per-minute cost of minutes?
Thanks to anyone with good info for a newbie!
Easiest thing to do is buy an unlocked GSM smart phone here in the states before you leave. That way you'll know how it works before hitting Italy. You may all ready own one if your carrier is AT&T or T-Mobile. Then you just have to ask your carrier to unlock it. Make sure it includes the frequencies for Europe. Most smart phones from the last several years do.
When you arrive in Italy, purchase a prepaid SIM card from one of the major carriers like TIM or Wind. It will include voice minutes, texting and data. Wind has an excellent deal called Tourist Pass.
If you buy your SIM at a local TIM shop (they're everywhere in Rome), the knowledgeable clerks will probably speak English and help you set up your phone.
sure you can have a cheap phone at around 20 Euros and have it pre-loaded with minutes and sms. If you want to get connection for Whatsapp, for example, you have to buy a phone for around 80 Euros (min.) Any TIM or Vodafone shops are ok, and they'll pre-load the phone with a 15 Euros sim card
It depends on what kind of phone operator you use. Personally I'm using wind, but there are a lot. So if you need only a phone to call and to send sms you can buy mobile phone from 15 euros from EURONICS: http://www.euronics.it/acquistaonline/telefonia-autoradio-e-gps/cellulari-e-smartphone/cellulari/;jsessionid=MblXJbXcTQhGHQ1Jg8GGm52nvw3MzXZgGLnQLG11WKhyPFQCqghn!1405306561?cid=cat110055&orderBy=PrezzoOrd
There is an Euronics store in Stazione Roma Termini near the subway entrance.
In Italy there are 4 phone operators:
Tim, Vodafone, WindTIM, and 3.
Tim Offer: "VOCE" you pay 9 euros for a month and you have 400 minutes free for all the other italian phone operators.
VODAFONE OFFER: "SCEGLI VOCE" you pay 10 euros for month and you have 500 minutes free to call all numbers in Italy.
WIND OFFER: "NOI TUTTI +": you pay 9 euros for month and you have 600 minutes free to call other italian numbers
TRE OFFER: "ALL IN ONE SPECIAL 2015" free calls and sms for all italian number and 1GB internet for 10 euros for month (but you need to ask well about this offer).
You can find TIM, WIND and TRE stores in Stazione Roma Termini and Vodafone store in the city.