It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.

So, how does one connect while in Italy

Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Mobile Mobile (3G or HSDPA) internet connectivity is available from all major Italian carriers. Beware though that internet plans are generally much more expensive than in other European countries. Also, contracts often contain little-publicized usage limitations, eg, a plan that is advertised as 3 GB per month but actually has a daily limit of 100MB. Retailers will often fail to mention these limitations and quite often are themselves ignorant that they exist, so it is advisable to double check on the carrier’s website. Also keep in mind that, generally speaking, internet plans only include connectivity when under a specific carrier’s coverage.

When roaming, internet costs can be very high. Coverage of major carriers is widespread, but it would be wise to check whether your carrier covers your area. Telephone Both the fixed and mobile phone systems are available throughout Italy. Telephone numbers of the fixed system used to have separate prefixes (area codes) and a local number. In the 1990s the numbers were unified and nowadays, when calling Italian phones you should always dial the full number. For example you start numbers for Rome with 06 even if you are calling from Rome. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. If you don’t know somebody’s phone number you can dial a variety of recently-established phone services, the most used being 1240, 892424, 892892, but most of them have high fees.

To call abroad from Italy you have to dial 00 + country code + local part where the syntax of the local part depends on the country called. To call Italy from abroad you have to dial international prefix + 39 + local part. Note that, unlike calls to most countries, you should not skip the starting zero of the local part if you are calling an Italian land line.

In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113, 115, 118 can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone (even if your cr is empty or if you are in an area covered by a different operator) 112 Carabinieri emergency number – general emergency 113 Police emergency number – general emergency 114 Blue Phone emergency number – children-related emergency (especially various forms of violence) 115 Fire Brigade emergency number 117 Guardia di Finanza – for customs, commercial and tax issues 118 Health emergency number – use this if you need an ambulance, otherwise ask for the local Guardia Medica number and they’ll send you a doctor.

1515 State Forestry Department 1518 Traffic Information 1530 Coast Guard 803116 A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Club)This provides assistance if your car breaks down (if you have a rented car then call the number they provide), This is a service provided to subscribers to ACI or to other Automobile Clubs associated to ARC Europe. If you’re not associated to any of them you’ll be asked to pay a fee (approx. €80). Always carry with you a note about the address and the number of your embassy.

If you are in an emergency and do not know who to call dial 112 or 113 (out of major towns, better to call 113 for English-speaking operators). Payphones are widely available, especially in stations and airports. However, the number of payphones has consistently been reduced after the introduction of mobile phones. Some payphones work with coins only, some with phone cards only and some with both coins and phone cards. Only a limited number of phones (just a few in main airports) directly accept cr cards.

Italians use mobile phones extensively, some might say excessively. The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cell phones). Note that cell phones from North America will not work in Italy unless they are Tri-band. Nearly all of the country has GSM, GPRS and UMTS/HDSPA coverage. If you arrive from abroad and intend making a lot of calls, buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card (termed prepagato for “prepaid” and ricaricabile for “rechargeable”) and put it in your current mobile (if compatible and if your mobile set is not locked). You need to provide a valid form of identification, such as a passport or other official identity, to be able to purchase the SIM card. Unless you already have one, you will also be required to obtain a Codice Fiscale (a tax number) – the vendor may generate one for you from your form of identification. Subscription-based mobile telephony accounts are subject to a government tax, to which prepaid SIM cards are not subject. Sometimes hotels have mobile phones for customer to borrow or rent.

Call costs vary greatly depending on when, where, from and where to. Each provider offers an array of complex tariffs and it is near impossible to make reliable cost estimates. The cost of calls differs considerably if you call a fixed-line phone or a mobile phone. Usually there is a difference in cost even for incoming calls from abroad. If you can choose, calling the other party’s land line could be even 40% cheaper than mobile. Many companies are shifting their customer service numbers to fixed-rate number (prefix 199). These numbers are at the local rate, no matter where are you calling from. According to national regulations, hotels cannot apply a surcharge on calls made from the hotel (as the switchboard service should be already included as a service paid in the room cost), but to be sure check it before you use.

Calls between landlines are charged at either the local rate or the national rate depending on the originating and destination area codes; if both are the same then the call will be local rate. Note that local calls are not free.

Other tips on staying connected while in Italy? Please add your comments and tips.