Iliad is a major telecommunications operator in Italy that offers mobile phone service, home internet, and more. As a low-cost alternative to incumbent operators like TIM and Vodafone, Iliad has shaken up the Italian market since arriving in 2018 with super-cheap plans and no-frills service.

If you’re visiting Italy and want to get connected with an Iliad SIM card or Iliad eSIM, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know. We’ll cover Iliad’s coverage, speeds, SIM card options, eSIM availability, costs, activations, top-ups, and more.

Iliad Mobile Operator

1. Quick Facts About the Iliad in Italy

Iliad is a French telecommunications company that launched its Italian mobile network in 2018. The Iliad quickly became popular due to its competitive pricing and simple plans.

Quick facts about the Iliad in Italy:

  • Iliad is the fourth-largest mobile operator in Italy, with over 9.5 million customers.
  • Iliad offers a variety of prepaid and postpaid mobile plans, all of which include unlimited calls and texts to Italian numbers.
  • The Iliad also offers a variety of data options, ranging from 1 GB to 150 GB per month.
  • The Iliad’s prices are some of the most competitive in Italy. For example, Iliad’s 150 GB prepaid plan costs just €9.99 (around 10 USD) per month.
  • The Iliad’s network coverage is good in most parts of Italy, but it is not as extensive as the networks of the other major operators.

Overall, the Iliad is a good option for consumers who are looking for a low-cost mobile plan with unlimited calls and texts. However, consumers should be aware of the Iliad’s limited network coverage and customer service before signing up for a plan.

Iliad logo

2. Italy Iliad Coverage and Speed in Italy

Iliad may be newer than the incumbent Italian operators, but they’ve quickly rolled out nationwide coverage that makes them a great choice for tourists. Here’s an overview of Iliad’s network reach across Italy and the speeds you can expect:

2.1. Iliad Coverage in Italy

Italy Mobile Operator Coverage
Italy Mobile Operator Coverage

According to the Opensignal Mobile Network Experience Report for Italy in May 2023, Iliad has the second-best 5G coverage in the country. Iliad users spend 23.9% of their time with an active 5G connection, which is 2.8 percentage points less than users on the first-placed network, Fastweb.

  • Iliad’s 5G coverage is also more extensive than the other networks. Iliad scores 6.1 points on Opensignal’s 5G Reach metric, which is 0.4 points behind second-placed WindTre.
  • Iliad’s 5G coverage is particularly good in the major cities of Rome and Milan. However, Iliad also has good 5G coverage in rural areas.

Overall, Iliad is a good choice for consumers who are looking for good 5G coverage in Italy.

Here is a table of the 5G coverage of the four major mobile operators in Italy:

Mobile Operator 5G Reach (May 2023)
Fastweb 6.5
Iliad 6.1
WindTre 5.7
TIM 4.3

2.2. Iliad Speed in Italy

Italy Mobile Operators Speed
Italy Mobile Operators Speed

According to the Opensignal Mobile Network Experience Report for Italy in May 2023, Iliad has the third-fastest 5G download speeds in the country. Iliad users experience average 5G download speeds of 31 Mbps, which is 4.6 Mbps slower than users on the first-placed network, Fastweb.

  • Iliad’s 5G upload speeds are also the third-fastest in the country. Iliad users experience average 5G upload speeds of 9.5 Mbps, which is 1.2 Mbps slower than users on the first-placed network, Vodafone.
  • Iliad’s 5G speeds are particularly good in the major cities of Rome and Milan. However, Iliad also has good 5G speeds in rural areas.

Overall, Iliad is a good choice for consumers who are looking for fast 5G speeds in Italy.

Here is a table of the 5G download and upload speeds of the four major mobile operators in Italy:

Mobile Operator 5G Download Speed (Mbps) 5G Upload Speed (Mbps)
Fastweb 35.6 10.7
Vodafone 33.9 10.5
Iliad 31 9.5
TIM 33.2 9.9

3. Iliad Connectivity Options for Travelers to Italy

Iliad serves both residents and visitors through prepaid plans on their network. Here are the two main options tourists have for getting Italy Iliad service:

Connectivity Option Description
SIM Card Prepaid or postpaid SIM card that can be used in your phone.
eSIM Digital SIM card that is embedded in your device.
Mobile Hotspot Device that creates a Wi-Fi network that you can connect your devices to.
Pocket Wi-Fi Small device that you can carry with you and use to connect to the internet.

Which connectivity option is best for you?

The best connectivity option for you will depend on your needs and budget.

  • If you are only going to be in Italy for a short time and you need a lot of data, then an eSIM is a good option.
  • If you are going to be in Italy for a longer period of time or you need more data, then a SIM card is a good option. 
  • If you want to share your internet connection with multiple devices or need internet access in areas with poor cell service, then a mobile hotspot is a good option.
  • If you need internet access on the go or are traveling to multiple countries, then pocket Wi-Fi is a good option.

4. Best Iliad SIM Cards for Tourists & Costs

Iliad only offers prepaid plans on their Italian network. The SIM costs around 10 USD with the first month of service included. You then choose a suitable plan. Here are the Iliad SIM Card plan along with current pricing:

Iliad SIM Plan Price (USD) Data Local Calls Messages Validity Total Cost (USD)
Voice Only ~ 5 USD 40 MB Unlimited Unlimited 30 days ~ 15 USD
Data 300 ~ 14 USD 300 GB - - 30 days ~ 24 USD
GIGA 100 ~ 8 USD 100 GB Unlimited Unlimited 30 days ~ 18 USD
GIGA 150 ~ 10 USD 150 GB Unlimited Unlimited 30 days ~ 20 USD

5. Does Iliad Italy Support eSIM?

Yes, Iliad launched eSIM support in October 2020. This allows compatible iPhones and Android phones to use data plans through Iliad’s mobile app instead of physical SIM cards. 

To use the Iliad Italy eSIM service, you’ll need:

  • iPhone XS or newer
  • Android phone with eSIM capability
  • Iliad Italy app installed (available on iOS App Store and Google Play)

Then you can purchase and activate an Iliad Italy eSIM entirely digitally through their app. Support includes dual SIM configurations with one eSIM line and one physical SIM card. Iliad eSIM has the same plans as Iliad SIM Card, so you can check the plan above to choose, you need an Italian fiscal code to register.

6. Where Can You Buy an Iliad SIM Card and eSIM?

There are several ways to get Iliad service when visiting Italy, whether you want a standard SIM card or eSIM.

6.1. Where to Buy an Iliad SIM Card in Italy

You have a few options for purchasing an Iliad Italy SIM card:

  • Online – Order directly from Iliad Italy’s website for delivery in Italy or abroad. But you need ID to buy. Not recommended.
  • Iliad Store – Visit an official Iliad store in cities like Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples, etc. Find an Iliad store near you.
  • Iliad Point – These partner retailers have Iliad SIMs available across Italy.
iliad store
Iliad store

Prices are the same online or in-store. Just check coverage at your destination and order the right SIM card for your phone.

6.2. Where to Buy an Iliad Italy eSIM

You can purchase the Iliad eSIM on, in our Stores and Corners, or with the support of our consultants at 177.

You need the Italian Fiscal Code to register Iliad eSIM. You will be able to download your eSIM from the email you will receive once you have completed the subscription or from your Personal Area, so it will be immediately available!

If you want to use eSIM on your trip to Italy, you can consider Italy eSIM from

7. How to Activate an Iliad Italy SIM Card & eSIM

Activating your Iliad SIM card or eSIM is fast and easy. Here are the steps for each:

7.1. How to Activate an Iliad Italy SIM Card

  1. Insert the Iliad SIM into your unlocked phone.
  1. On Android, APN settings may need entered manually:
    • APN: iliad
    • Username: iliad
    • Password: iliad
  2. Power on your phone and you’ll get a text to confirm activation.
  3. You may need to call 400 or get help from Iliad support if the SIM isn’t automatically activated.

Once working, you can recharge additional data packs as needed through the Iliad app or website.

7.2. How to Activate an Iliad Italy eSIM

  1. Install the Iliad Italy app on your iPhone or Android phone.
  1. Create an account and login.
  2. Choose your Iliad prepaid plan in the eSIM tab.
  3. Follow prompts to install the Iliad eSIM profile on your device.
  4. Activation occurs digitally through the app within minutes.

You’ll then manage your Iliad eSIM plan using their app. Be sure to download eSIM profiles before any overseas travel.

8. Iliad Italy Call & SMS Rates

Iliad Italy prepaid plans include generous call and text allowances:

Destination Call Rate (USD) SMS Rate (USD)
Italy Free Free
European Union $0.26 $0.11
United States and Canada $0.33 $0.13
Rest of the world $1.09 $0.33

Please note that these are just estimates and the actual rates may vary depending on your exchange rate.

9. Useful USSD Codes for Iliad Italy SIM Cards

USSD codes let you check your account or enable features by dialing special numbers from your Iliad SIM. Here are some of the most useful Iliad Italy USSD codes:

  • Via Phone – call 400 and listen to the remaining credit details. Or text “Credit” then send to 400 to receive free SMS.
  • Via Internet – Visit the website and login to your Iliad customer account.

So dial these codes directly from your Iliad Italy SIM to check usage, add credit, enable features, and more.

10. How to Top-Up an Iliad Italy SIM Card or eSIM

When your data allowance runs low, you’ll need to add more credit to continue service. There are a few ways to top-up an Iliad SIM or eSIM:

  • Automatic Top-Up – Enable this in the Iliad app and your plan will renew each month.
  • Iliad Website – Log in to your account dashboard and choose your top-up amount.
  • Iliad App – Go to the Recharge section and choose a data pack or plan amount.
  • Vouchers – Purchase top-up vouchers locally and enter the code online.
  • USSD Top-Up – Dial *139*AMOUNT# to add that amount of credit.

So recharging online or through the app is easiest. Vouchers and USSD top-up work as well. Your new data balance appears immediately.

11. Alternatives to Iliad Italy

While the Iliad is a top choice for great value connectivity, there are other operator options in Italy:

  • TIM – Italy’s largest operator with widespread coverage and fast speeds. But more expensive.
  • Vodafone – Multinational telecom with great networks across Italy. Also pricier.
  • Wind Tre – Formed by the merger of Wind and 3 Italia. Mid-range prices and coverage.
  • italy-esim.comVirtual network provider with pay-as-you-go Italy eSIM data options.

So Iliad stands out with unmatched prices and strong coverage almost everywhere. But other operators and providers work well too if needed. 

12. FAQs About Using Iliad in Italy

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about getting Iliad service in Italy:

Does the Iliad have good coverage in Italy?

Yes, thanks to a network sharing agreement, Iliad has excellent nationwide 2G/3G coverage right away. Their own 4G/5G network now reaches 99% of the population in Italy.

How fast is the Iliad’s network in Italy?

In real-world tests, Iliad’s average download speeds are around 60 Mbps on 4G with peak 5G speeds up to 500+ Mbps in some areas. Fast and reliable.

Can I use an Iliad SIM across Europe?

No, Iliad SIMs only provide service within Italy. But they do allow roaming in Europe and worldwide with add-on passes.

How do I check my data balance on Iliad?

Dial 400 from your Iliad SIM to check your available data, calls, texts, and expiration date.

13. Final Words

Hopefully, this guide has provided everything you need to know about getting connected with Iliad in Italy. Their prepaid SIM card and eSIM plans offer outstanding value with excellent coverage across the country.

Their ultra-competitive rates, ease of activation, and great performance make Iliad the 1 choice for many tourists visiting Italy. Pick up a SIM card on arrival or activate an eSIM before your trip for smooth connectivity.