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Italy - Telephone

There are several different telecom companies providing telephone services in Italy. Users have a wide variety of landline and mobile phone service providers to choose from, regardless of which area they live in. Landlines are quite common in most parts of Italy. The country code for dialing any number in Italy is “+39”. The dialing code for each area is different.


In Italy, all landline numbers are between 8 and 11 digits long. They begin with a 0 and are followed by a 1 to 3-digit area code. Some of the common area codes include: 010 – Genoa, 011 – Turin, 02 – Milan, 041 – Venice, 050 – Pisa, 051 – Bologna, 055 – Florence, 06 – Rome, 080 – Bari and 081 – Naples.

Dial “+39” or “0039”to reach any number from outside the country. When making an international call to an Italian landline, first dial the country code, followed by the area code and finally the number. While making an intercity or intra-city call to an Italian landline, directly start with 0 & enter the area code. International callers from the US and Canada first have to dial 011 before dialing the rest of the number.

Then national telephone company is Italy is Telecom Italia, which provides landlines and internet services to individuals as well as organizations. Consumers can call 187 to apply for a new connection. Alternately, they can also apply online on http://www.telecomitalia.it.

Since the telecommunication market in Italy has been deregulated, consumers can opt for the services from a private company too. Other popular landline service providers include –

BT Italy
Tel: 800 920 928 / +30 0919885788 (From abroad)
URL: http://www.globalservices.bt.com/pmi/it/home

DigiTel Italia
Tel: 800 901 669
URL: http://www.digitelitalia.it

Tel: 800 035 137
URL: http://www.noitel.it

Olimon Tel Italia
Tel: +39 02 8936 7072
URL: http://www.olimontel.it

Tel: 800 13 2824 / 077 12 6657
URL: http://www.tlcel.com

Tel: +39 02 897 481 / +39 0183 7481
URL: http://www.uno.it

In order to apply for a new connection with Telecom Italia or any other private telephone service provider, users need to submit their Codice Fiscal or Tax Number. Applicants also need to provide these details to the company beforehand:

Installation address
Alternate contact numbers
Type of services required
Number of extensions to be installed
Additional services or tariff packages
Required telephone model and color

While applying for a new connection, users also have to specify whether they would like to include their number in the local phone book or not.

It could take anywhere between a few days and a couple of weeks to get a new landline connection. Once the wiring is installed, a technician visits the premises to activate the number. The process is slightly longer for Non-EU residents who have to send in a written application through registered mail. Telephone users in Italy also have the option of retaining their number even if they transfer from one service provider to another.

In addition to the service, the telephone company also provides handsets and directories. The Yellow Pages or Pagine Gialle is for business numbers and the White Pages Pagine Bianche is for private numbers. Some of the public service numbers in the Yellow Pages are color coded:

Numeri Verdi or Green Numbers are toll-free (free-phone) numbers that begin with “800” or “147”
Numeri Azzurri or Blue Numbers are for reporting child abuse
Numeri Rosa or Pink Numbers are for reporting abuse of women
Numeri Viola or Violet Numbers are for reporting abuse of any type
Numeri Rossi or Red Numbers are for prenatal or pregnancy advice
Numeri Arancioni or Orange Numbers are for psychiatric help

The bills for landline numbers are sent to customers every two months. They can be paid at the post office, at a bank, at a customer service outlet or even online.

Mobile phones

Mobile phone numbers in Italy are 10 digits long and generally start with “3”. To call an Italian mobile number from another country, dial “+39” followed by the number.

There are many mobile network service providers to choose from. Consumers can opt for a variety of tariff plans, some of which also include purchase of the handset.

The phone models used by Italians are quite similar to any other country. Some of the more commonly used handsets include Samsung, iPhone and Nokia. Phones that have been purchased in Europe can easily be used in Italy. However, GSM Phones that are from North America can only be used in this country if they are “tri-band” and function on 900 MHz as well as the 1800 MHz frequencies.

For mobile network services, the six main service providers in Italy are:

Telecom Italia Mobile
Tel: 119 (from a TIM Number)
URL: http://www.tim.it/home

Vodafone (Omnitel)
Tel: 190 (From a Vodafone Mobile)
URL: http://www.vodafone.it/portal/Privati

Wind Telecommunication Spa
Tel: 155 (From a Wind Mobile)
URL: http://www.wind.it

Tel: 133 (From a Tre Mobile)
URL: http://www.tre.it

All these companies offer a wide range of calling and data packages. It is therefore best to compare prices and services offered before signing a contract with any provider. The documents required to apply for a new mobile connection are:

Identification proof
Address proof of the applicant
Tax number

Most of the major airports have mobile rental counters for tourists and expats. Long-term visitors generally choose to pick up a handset along with a pay-as-you-go SIM card, instead of a billing card. Mobile bills can be easily paid at customer service outlets or online. Users can opt for prepaid or monthly postpaid packages, according to their preferences.


The use of public phones in Italy has reduced significantly, probably because of the widespread dependence on mobile phones. Nevertheless, it is possible to find payphones in walk-in booths and egg-shaped half booths or even free-standing phones on the fall.

There are two types of payphones in Italy. The first type accepts both coins and phone-cards (scheda telefonica). The second type only works with cards, which could be a phone-card or a credit card. The payment instructions are generally given at the top of the payphone.

Anyone can purchase a prepaid phone card from newsstands, bars and tobacconists. These cards come in many denominations, ranging from €1.00 to €8.00.

Several expats use payphones to call home, but purchasing an International Calling Card (scheda telefonica internazionale). It is essential to specify which countries the calling card will primarily be used for.

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