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Iphone use in Italy

LLpete
Member

Hello,

I am looking for help and clarification from experienced international travelers with Iphone/Verizon.  I am a one time naive international traveler, about to embark on my second trip. The first time I was in Italy I was only there 6 days on business and did not have an Iphone so purchased the Italian equivalent of a Tracfone to keep in touch with coworkers. This time I will be in Italy almost a month and have an Iphone 5S. I've read a lot of different things and really want to know for sure what I need to do to be able to communicate with people back in the U.S.  Some suggest purchasing a local Sim card, but  I have my Tim phone that I can use for local calls. What I really need to be able to do is email, message, Facebook, with people in the U.S. My specific questions are:

1.  If I don't intend to make phone calls to the U.S., do I still need to purchase an international plan? (I have the More Everything plan.)

2. Can I truly do texting, messaging, email, send photos, etc, for no extra charges when connected to WiFi in Italy? And again, must I have an international plan?

3.  Do I need a local Sim card to do all of the above?

4.  The place I am staying does not provide WiFi, so I purchased a mobile WiFi unit. As I understand it I will need a local Sim card for this. Does anyone know if you purchase these in varying amounts of data capabilities? Or what the costs are? Has anyone had experience with these, and how well they work? I'm going to be roaming all over, and also didn't want to go out at night to try to find hotspots so hoped this would be a good option.

5.  Does the phone need to remain in airplane mode only, or also turn off mobile roaming?

As before, I am a newbie international traveler, as well as fairly new to Iphone so if I sound well, naïve, I am! That's why I'm asking for clarification.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

I should add, that I have gone into my Verizon store, (always helpful,)  but they told me I needed to call customer service to discuss international calling. Well, I've tried numerous times and the wait times were always astronomical. I tried doing "live chat" on line and the agents are never available. I leave in 3 weeks and I need answers to my questions, so am reaching out here!  Thank you!

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Re: Iphone use in Italy

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hello LLpete! I'd be happy to assist in answering your questions about Global Services!

To begin, if you will not be making calls or accessing data, technically you do not need any global plan or features added to your account. However, we do still recommend adding the feature so that you have the option to be connected in case of emergency. Calls in Italy are $1.29 per minute, or $0.99 per minute if you have the Voice Value Plan which is just $5 per month. (You can add this for only the time you're there, and remove when you return as well.) Data is $25 for 100MB of data, or is $20.48/MB without a plan.

While traveling, if you connect to a local WiFi network, you can use the device without being charged by Verizon, and you do not need an international plan or a local SIM to do this. WiFi does not support picture messaging, but pictures can still be shared via email and social networks.

If you have a mobile WiFi unit, we just want to remind you that the capabilities may vary depending on the type of network supported by the local carrier. Not all features may be available when using the device on any other carrier.

If you do not choose a Verizon international plan, I would recommend totally turning off mobile data, as well as data roaming. Airplane mode does the same thing, but would also disable WiFi and bluetooth. Good luck on your travels, and let us know if you have any other questions! http://vz.to/1oVFiwM

Thanks,
MichelleH_VZW
Follow us on Twitter@VZWSupport

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Re: Iphone use in Italy

Weth
Sr. Leader

LLpete wrote:

1.  If I don't intend to make phone calls to the U.S., do I still need to purchase an international plan? (I have the More Everything plan.)

2. Can I truly do texting, messaging, email, send photos, etc, for no extra charges when connected to WiFi in Italy? And again, must I have an international plan?

3.  Do I need a local Sim card to do all of the above?

4.  The place I am staying does not provide WiFi, so I purchased a mobile WiFi unit. As I understand it I will need a local Sim card for this. Does anyone know if you purchase these in varying amounts of data capabilities? Or what the costs are? Has anyone had experience with these, and how well they work? I'm going to be roaming all over, and also didn't want to go out at night to try to find hotspots so hoped this would be a good option.

5.  Does the phone need to remain in airplane mode only, or also turn off mobile roaming?

1. You don't need the calling international value plan, but you may want to consider the $25/100 MB international data plan

2. Texting- no, this will be 50 cents to send and 5 cents to receive.  iMessages, FaceTime, Skype, other messaging apps, all ok over wifi. 

3. No

4. You can buy local SIMs at several places in Europe, however wifi hotspots are very common in Europe.  If you still want the hotspot,   I would go to a local cellular carrier store. This is a good reference : Italy: SIM card purchase in Italy - TripAdvisor 

5. To be absolutely safe, turn on airplane mode, and then only turn on wifi.  If you forget and use some data, it is Very expensive - over $20 per megabyte!   That is why I recomment the $25 for 100 MB international data package.  You can accidently use 20 MB in a few blinks of the eye-- $400 mistake.  Plus it gives you the leeway to use some data in an needy situation. 

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