Verizon Wireless, My iPhone Didn’t Work in Italy as Promised

We spent months planning our recent two-week trip to Italy.

Carol did most of the detail planning of the actual trip, and it was my job to make certain that we had wireless cell phone services in case of emergencies on our trip.

We looked at renting a phone for the trip, buying a special inexpensive “world phone” to use in nearly any part of the world, and a dizzying array of other options.

Having just purchased an iPhone 5, a Verizon Wireless customer service representative informed me that I would be able to use my new phone in Italy and would be charged roaming fees of $1.29/minute.

Dear Verizon Wireless, why didn’t our iPhone 5 work in Italy?

While that was quite a bit more expensive than other plans we found, we decided that because we were planning to only use the phone in the event of emergencies, the Verizon Wireless roaming charges would be palatable because of the purposed ease of use.

I say purposed because when we landed in Rome, I was not able to use my phone.  All I got was a message on the top of my phone that stated: No Service.

Click to enlarge service map

I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating this was to us.  You see, we had friends coming in on another flight, and had absolutely no way to communicate and hook up with them to begin our exciting journey.

Consequently, I was left to be bamboozled by one of those airport cellular phone kiosks in the Rome airport.

Cost?  $238 for crying out loud!

I must confess, we’re not very happy with Verizon Wireless in this matter.

Now, I suppose there might be something that we didn’t do on our end, but the customer service rep said, “turn the phone on, make calls”.

Clearly, that was not the case.  Needless to say, there’s two unhappy world travelers in Scottsdale, Arizona today!

Hey Verizon Wireless, what went wrong?

Update ~ November 15, 2012:

I received a call today from a very nice lady named Sherene at Verizon Wireless.  She apologized profusely, and to let me know that the representative that I talked to should have flipped a switch on their end to allow international calling, and then credited my account for $238.  Thank you Sherene and Verizon Wireless.  I’m very impressed that you cared enough to call and restore my faith in your company.

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9 Responses to “Verizon Wireless, My iPhone Didn’t Work in Italy as Promised”
  1. Andrew says:

    I am glad David that your situation worked out with Verizon – mine has not gone so well. Frown Sounds like I need my own Sherene to take action because in spite of numerous calls and emails to Verizon, they have yet to correct a thing.

    Essentially, we had the same problem as you. However, prior to going we specifically were told conflicting information from two different customer service people. So I called in to order their world phone and was told by them I did not need it as my phone would work fine (HTC Thunderbolt 4G). They were adamant and set up the turn on and turn off dates. We arrive in Rome and identical to you, no service. So we are scrambling borrowing local Italian’s phone to change our canceled Vatican tour to after our cruise. Of course, if the phone doesn’t work, you also can’t call Verizon for help! Ahhhhh! So, we wait until the next day on the cruise where they front desk kindly connects us to Verizon, where I now receive a 3rd opinion that this phone won’t work overseas and not sure why someone at Verizon would tell me otherwise? So, we did everything right and still had no phone. We had also ordered the data package so to use the wifi for my wife’s Kindle so we could connect to the internet and get our email. So now, we had to wait until our shore excursions and wasting an hour each day looking at email. Needless to say my office and clients were furious they could not reach me (yes, I know this was vacation, but 16 days is a long time to be “off the grid” when you have active deals). It also made it next to impossible to arrange our interviews we had scheduled at a bed and breakfast in Rome for our new website.

    I have yet to get anyone at Verizon to acknowledge this issue or offer to correct our inconvenience and total loss of service during this month. I suspect more people need to be educated on the potential pitfalls of no service in Europe.

  2. Debbie says:

    I HAD THE SAME SITUATION IN FRANCE! I PHONE 5 – should work in France by simply turning on the phone….. NO SERVICE!! I called in advance…, I called while I was there Verizon was no help, I AM SWITCHING TO ATT….. Unacceptable!!

  3. Anna Costa says:

    My 17 year old daughter is in Italy with her Italian class. We were told by Verizon that her iPhone 5 phone would work in Italy and we paid for the global international plan (4.99 for reduced texting and calling charges, and $25 for 100 mb of data usage. She lands in Venice and has no service. It’s very upsetting for her and for us because we expected to keep in touch regularly as any parent would expect to do. I am extremely disappointed in the misleading service with Verizon. Thank God she had free wifi in the Hotel so that she was able to send me a message on Facebook to let me know what was going on. We are very unhappy customers and I plan to change carriers as soon as my daughter returns home. Total bullshit…. Frown

    • David Porter says:


      We found out, the hard way, that Verizon needs to flip some switch on their end to make the plan work. Perhaps, the person who sold you the plan didn’t also make that happen. You might want to call Verizon to make certain that they turn on the international plan on their end. We so sorry that you’re experiencing this problem. Frown

  4. JohnP says:

    Same here! Verizon wireless rep said ‘No problem, you are good to go for roaming services in France”.

    I landed in France this last Friday and NO FRIGG’N CELL SERVICE!!!!!!!

    I contacted Verizon on their website chat session. They said ‘Nothing we can do for you since it wasnt set up in the US. Sorry”

    Having cell service is critical to my business, and emergency situations with my family…… I did my due diligence to make sure it was good to go,.. Verizon FAILED ME! ….BIG TIME!!!

    Damn you Verizon!


  5. Ed says:

    Well, just arrived in Italy, & just like everyone else “NO SERVICE”!
    Can’t call with “NO SERVICE” and the Support web site doesn’t have email or Chat option!” To contact them!
    For such a large Corporation I am totally surprised of their processes & procedures!
    I’ve email a friend to contact Verizon on my behalf & see what that yields!

  6. Bette Prouty says:

    After checking with representatives before leaving the USA to be sure my cell phone would work in France Guess what…It does not and I am not happy. This was important to me so that I could contact family as I do not speak the language I. France and feel lost without the phone. Needless to say I will be in contact with Verison as soon as I get back to the states.

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