Communications

Mobile phones

This information below applies Singtel Mobile subscribers only, and is provided in good faith. Since I am neither an employee nor a representaive of Singtel, I cannot be held responsible for any errors herein or for any changes to their procedures and/or pricing policy since the publication of this webpage.

If you have a roaming service, you can make calls to local mobile phones and land lines by simply dialling the number. This will only cost you the equivalent local rate.

However, if you were to receive a call from Singapore, you would have to pay the IDD charges for the call. If you ever need to call your travel companion (which might happen if the two of you lose sight of each other and need to get in touch), bear in mind that both you and the receiving party will end up paying the same IDD charges - you to connect to the Singapore number, and the other to receive a call from Singapore.

SMS's work just fine using the same method of dialling and cost a lot less, so you might want to do that instead. Incoming messages are free.

There is a less expensive way to call Singapore from Italy by making use of the GlobalDial 121 service. This is automatically available to anyone with roaming service. Just dial *121*, then 65 followed by the telephone number to be called, and finally the # button. Your call will be disconnected and Singtel will initiate a call back to your mobile phone within 10 seconds. Upon answering, you will automatically be connected to the party you wish to speak to. Calls made this way costs you only S$1 per minute.

Here is the relevant webpage from Singtel in case you wish to reconfirm the procedure. Plenty of information in there with very detailed instructions, but I won't guarantee it will be any clearer.

You might also wish to make use of Singtel's SMS Plus service so people know you're not in the country. While receiving text messages are free, you probably wouldn't want to answer every message that comes through while you're abroad.

 

Italian Payphones

Should you ever wish to use the pay phones which are found around railway stations and strategic points in town, you would need to buy a phone card called a scheda telefonica. It looks something like this:

All phone cards have a snap-off corner which must be removed before use. You can buy them at newstands, tobacco shops and some bars

Note the missing triangular piece on the top left corner. In order to start using the card, you must tear off that corner, and insert the card into the payphone (see below, left) as indicated by the somwhat obscure symbol on the left of the card shown above. The display will show the amount of traffic available to you. Dial the desired number and then press the big OK button below the dial pad to connect (see below, right). Now, be warned that these cards sometimes do not work at all, and there is no refund if this should happen, so buy only the smallest denomination available (€3 or €5).

There are several types of payphones around Italy, but this is probably the one you'll see most often.      A closer look at the number pad and 'OK' button of the phone on the left.

 

About Italian telephone numbers

The country code for Italy is 39. Use this only when calling an Italian number from outside of Italy.

Within Italy, all land lines start with a 0 and all mobile phone lines do not, like so:

Land line  012-345-6789
Mobile345-647-8901

Simply dial the number as you see it. All telephone numbers in Italy now incorporate both local and regional access codes, so you dial the same number regardless of your location within the country.

One important thing to remember is that telephone numbers do not always have the same number of digits. Land lines in smaller towns often have very few digits (eg. 012-34567) while those in large cities like Rome and Milan will have more (eg. 012-3456-7890).

 

Internet connection

Singapore is lucky to have Wireless@SG but don't expect the rest of the world to provide you with free wireless service. Higher-category hotels may (N.B. may) have a paid wireless service in your room, some others may even provide you with either free or paid internet access on a common computer in the lobby. ...And then there are those which do not provide anything at all.

But let's not forget, you are here in Italy, where the pace of life is relaxed and the people value face-to-face social interaction. Life in Italy is certainly not fast and furious like it is in Singapore. Isn't that what you came here for?

Nevertheless, if you must, there are some internet stations (they are not not cafés, so what do I call them - shops?) in the larger towns. You might find out where they are through your hotel or the tourist information office. Prices are reasonable, perhaps around €2-3 for a half-hour access depending on where you are.

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