Prepaid SIM cards from Vodafone in Italy for the iPhone


Prior to leaving the US, AT&T unlocked my iPhone 4S, and I brought the device to Italy.

Within Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, there is a Vodafone store called Vodafone Aeroporto Fiumicino. This store is located within Terminal 1 and is open 7 days a week, from 9:00 – 21:30 local time.

After approaching a staff member for a prepaid Vodafone SIM card, I was asked to present my passport. Information from the passport was then entered into Vodafone’s database. I was told to wait for a few hours while the SIM card was being activated within the cellular network. The Vodafone SIM card was 5 EUR (in addition to the credit that was loaded onto the prepaid SIM card).

A few hours later, I arrived to Turin with my friend. I turned off the iPhone and inserted the prepaid Vodafone SIM card. After turning on the iPhone, I was prompted to enter the PIN number (which was written on the piece of plastic that the SIM card was attached to). After the PIN number was entered, the iOS menu indicated that the iPhone was connected to the Vodafone network.

To check the remaining credit on the prepaid Vodafone SIM card, subscribers can send a text to Vodafone, use the smartphone app provided by Vodafone, or check via Vodafone’s website.

To add additional credit onto the prepaid Vodafone SIM card, subscribers can visit a nearby Vodafone store. Alternatively, the SIM card can be recharged at many of the stores that are licensed to sell tobacco (known as tabaccai). The SIM card can also be recharged through the Vodafone website or the Vodafone smartphone app – but I only have experience visiting the local tabaccai.

When the prepaid Vodafone SIM card was removed and re-inserted into the iPhone 4S (or when the iPhone 4S was restarted), the PIN number had to be re-entered into the iPhone 4S, so it would be a good idea to have the PIN number memorized or written in a safe place in case the device asks for it. The PIN number serves as authentication to help protect the SIM card from unauthorized use by persons other than the subscriber.

Data usage can be monitored on the iOS, as well as texting Vodafone for the remaining credit balance (as indicated in the image attached to this post). Estimating projected data usage while in Europe and charging the prepaid SIM card with adequate credit can help allay concerns of not having enough credit to cover the duration of stay.

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