Cell Phone Blues

What? No Magic Jack or Viber?

What?!  This sim from this Phone won’t work in my iPhone 6???

The first two years we stayed long term in Italy we used the telephone carrier Wind.  Here is the flash back to that first year –  http://wp.me/p3rc2m-69.

It cost us €10 a month for each phone and that got us 400 texts, 400 minutes and unlimited data. Though – after the 1st gb the data was s l o o o o w.  Unbelievable price.  The only problem we had was logistical.  The Wind signal didn’t make it to the kitchen of our stone house or any interior rooms.  But – hey for that price we answered all calls in the dining room or if that didn’t work -on the balcony.

We bought new iPhones this year and discovered new technology.  Beh!  The iPhone 6 uses a micro sim!  Perchè?  Because then you have to buy more new stuff!  Double Beh!!

Now, since we couldn’t seamlessly insert the sim from the iPhone 4’s into the new phone.  We spent our first week in Italy exploring the sights and foods of Milan – just using our Verizon Wireless Global Plan for uber emergencies – like where in the world is JACK!  The Global Plan costs more than I want to spend just to call a local Milanese restaurant – all those roaming and I can’t figure them out charges.

We needed to get an Italian sim card ASAP.  In Milan, I asked around and no one could point me to a Wind store.  Apparently, it is not in the social register of the literati.  Everyone I asked said – “oh here in Milano we use Tim.”  Tim has always been a popular phone service so we spent €45 for two sim cards and one month of usage.  Tim worked great in Milan.  Not so great in Bellagio, Rome, on the train to Boiano and not at all in our house in Pontelandolfo.  Merde!

Since we are planning on traveling around more of Italy this year, I decided to do the smart thing and research a bit.  We heard the rumor that Vodofone – which now owns a bit of Verizon – was moving towards buying into another carrier for a USA presence.  What the hey – let’s roll the dice and try Vodofone.  €15 bought us each a sim card and the first month of service.  Now it will cost us more than Wind – €16 each month for 1gb of data, 100 sms and 100 talk minutes – I think.  I say I think because we bought the sim cards in  Media World – think Best Buy type of store –  not in a Vodofone store.  I was remiss – yes, yes, I do occasionally screw up – and didn’t ask all the right questions or get a print out of what we bought.

Vodofone works everywhere in the house – even the all stone kitchen.  We get a signal – so far – knock wood – everywhere we have been.

Klunk – that is the other shoe dropping.  I bought the card and was glad because they have an app for my iPhone and an online presence.  That means I can – allegedly – recharge the card and check out any new deals on line.  WRONG.  I was born in the wrong place to do that!  One must be able to register on-line to use the app and on line services.  To register on line you have to fill in a form that includes place of birth.  Guess what?  I was born in the USA and the form only has drop downs for the EU.  UGGGG.  We did spy a Vodofone store or two and I’ll be going in asking them to please register me.

SummaryVodofone costs us more per month than Wind but works everywhere.  Tim – well – we will just forget Tim.  USA Global plans we won’t even talk about.

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Categories: Practical Matters - Living Abroad | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Cell Phone Blues

  1. Ah technology. What happens if you say you were born in Pontelandolfo? Do you have to show a birth certificate to the website? You could always plead lack of understanding if you got caught “oh I thought that meant where was I living?”

    • Good question, Kathy. The problem is they have a copy of my “codice fiscale” – Italian Social Security card. That information includes my birth and USA citizenship data. I’ll go to a store and play confused and sixty plus!

  2. susan

    I’m with Kathy…it is Italy….they won’t even check….however, I hunch that you enjoy the challenge of playing confused…yup…another acting gig!

  3. Lisa Falvo

    Midge, we are going for the month of July with our teenage boys! Would Vodafone work for them if they wanted to do social media ? Thoughts?

    • Lisa, Tre is another company, like Wind, that is very cheap. I know a number of teens who use that. Lots of bars have Wi-Fi too. Most cheap SIM card plans have limited data – like 1gb which lots of Internet surfing can use up.

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