Buying a SIM card has never been so hard!

In the last week or so I had to go around shops to buy a few subscriptions with all the Italian mobile operators. I had to buy 1 SIM from 3, 1 from Vodafone, 1 from TIM and 2 from Wind.

From every operator I wanted to have a subscription (no pre-payed) with the lowest monthly fee, no call minutes included and the cheapest WAP browsing rates.

The first day I walked from Porta Venezia to Piazza Lima on Corso Buenos Aires. I knew I could find at least 1 shop for every operator, here.

First stop was Wind. I asked for a “business” subscription, they said they would not sell this kind of contracts and that I should call the call center and have an appointment with their sales team.

Next I walked to a shop of 3. Very kind woman helped me find the appropriate subscription. The best seemed to be PowerFull, costs 56 Euro per month, but offers totally free browsing on “Business 3”, their portal. I needed to have this approved and did not have all the papers needed to sign the contract.

I kept walking and arrived in a TIM shop. It was easy, I alerady have a business contract with them, all I had to so was sign a paper to ask a new SIM card and new number. The SIM card was mailed at home in about 3-4 days.

Vodafone was the funniest (I actually got very upset, of course!). After about 20 minutes waiting for the queue, the woman told me that the clerk that knows about “data subscription” was not on duty and would be back the next week!

Next day, Saturday, I went in the 3 shop again willing to sign the PowerFull, but it turned out that “Business 3” is not the content portal, but only aimed at companies and offers services such as reading your company email from a mobile phone.
I eventually picked a subscription called “TuaNove”. I pay 9 Euro per month, each call costs 9 cents per minute and each page I browse on the portal costs 9 cents, indipendently from the KB size. The cost is the same on all subscriptions and pre-payed.
Too bad I HAD to buy a K800 (the only SonyEricsson they had available with this subscription), costed me 149 Euro and I can’t cancel my subscription for 2 years or pay an extra to cover the costs of the phone (another 300 Euro).
I also had to pay 50 Euro to have the bills on my bank account. Credit card would have been free. No other payment method.

Now I had 2 SIM’s (one in the mail, actually).

Monday and Tuesday I was busy.

Wednesday was holiday in Italy so nothing happened.

On Tuesday I went in another Vodafone shop and eventually got my Easy subscription. All WAP browsing on the portal costs 25 eurocent, fixed. I had to wait another 15-20 minutes in line and then some time to copy my ID card, sign the contract and so on.

On Friday I went to the Wind shop and asked for a non-business subscription but that I can actually use as a business. 😀 More later.
While trying to buy the two new SIM’s some technical problems happened and could not sign. I was told to call the call center to verify any irregularity in my existing data (I have another pre-payed card).
Yesterday I spent another 1 hour and half, partly in queue, partly on the phone with the call center, partly waiting. Eventually I signed 2 contracts and the girl sent them by fax. The call center was not able to tell us what the problem was.
Now I have 2 new SIM cards, but I don’t know when they will be activated, it’s a manual process.
I asked to have an optional plan for cheaper WAP and i-mode browsing. I HOPE they will be enabled.

Basically one week has gone, trying to get 5 SIM cards.