Italy/phones

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Question
Hello Mr. Ulissi,

You have been helpful to me in the past!  Now I need to know about purchasing a "throw away" phone in Italy to call the U.S. inexpensively.  We are traveling to Italy, Portugal, and Spain.  Can I use the phone in all three countries.  I had a phone card from AT&T, lost it, and AT&T doesn't have a clue what I am talking about to get another one. Can you advise me?

Thank you in advance.
Dorothy Bianchi

Answer
I am not a super expert in this area but will give you my ideas:  1) if you want the phone only to MAKE inexpensive calls to the USA then an Apple iphone (make sure it can handle wifi) will do the trick in spots where wifi is available.   If you get one (4S and above I believe) then you can put in a European GSM chip and you have dual functionality.    With regard to "throwaway" phone it sort of depends.   All three of the companies use GSM system so the phone itself will work across the three countries.   But, for example, ....if you buy the phone in Italy from one of the three main carriers (or if you have a cheap T-Mobile phone that works in the USA on the GSM system) ; when you get to Spain the sister carrier they use may well not work in the particular area of Spain in which you are staying.   I have one of these cheap phones that I bought in Italy; I have since moved (temporarily) to Germany and the phone with the Italian chip would work only sporadically.  So I bought a German Deutsch Telecome chip for the phone (cost about 10 euros with 5 euros of credit) and it works well.  The roaming charges are less and it works well.   You might need to do same for Portugal.   Having a GSM phone (again from T-Mobile or buying one in Europe) will give you access although you may have to buy chips (and have a different phone number) in each of the three countries.    One of these phones costs ~20-30 euros in Europe and usually come with ~10-15 euros of credit.   Hope this is not too confusing....  

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Stefano Ulissi

Expertise

I am a dual US-Italian citizen and own a house in a small Italian village, Valle San Giovanni, which is a suburb of city of Teramo in the Abruzzo region. I have constructed an English-language website for this town (http://vallesangiovanni.com). Am willing to provide information related to subjects of visiting the city and the province of Teramo.

Experience

I speak passable Italian, have lived in both Italy and the United States.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. University of Mississippi psicologo

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