The process of getting a pre-paid SIM card in Italy is so Italian!
For a mobile phone-mad country it’s odd that you will find it hard to locate a phone shop at the airport. In contrast, just about every town with a handful of residents has at least one!
Here’s the peculiarly Italian part, you’ll need your passport and a codice fiscale – a unique code that equates to an Italian tax file number - to purchase a prepaid plan. You can apply for one from the Embassy here in Australia before you leave, or most stores will set one up for you on the spot.
There are 4 primary providers (and quite a few re-sellers): TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) Vodafone, Wind and 3 (or Tre).
What to ask for
A prepaid plan is called a ricaricabile. Stores in a tourist area are likely to have an English-speaking assistant, but if not (or you want to try your hand at Italian) ask for “una scheda ricaricabile, anche per navigare in Internet sul mio smartphone” (“a pay-as-you-go SIM that also connects to the Internet via my smartphone”).
You’ll need to purchase a data pack. TIM has one for about €2 a week for 250MB, the others have similar deals.
Recharges (ricariche) can be done at grocery stores, tobacconists, bars, magazine shops, ATMs, your provider's Internet website or customer service lines.
Ask them to activate the card and the packs for you because the prompts are in Italian.
Wind, Vodafone, and Cosmote are the three 3G mobile carriers in Greece. No matter which one you choose, remember to bring your passport for purchase. They all 3 charge €5 for a SIM card. almost 5 years ago