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SIM card while travelling in India

Vancouver, Canada
7 posts
SIM card while travelling in India

Hello, We will be in India for a month and are looking for recommendations for acquiring a SIM card while we are there. What are the averages prices, and are there companies that you would recommend/not recommend? Thank you in advance for your time.

178 replies to this topic
Doha, Qatar
Level Contributor
12,569 posts
109 reviews
1. Re: SIM card while travelling in India

You need to be prepared to submit the following documents to the vendor along with an application form.

2 color passport photographs , photocopy of the personal details page of your passport, photocopy of your Indian visa, photocopy of the proof of your home address in your country of residence (passport, driver’s license or any other Government issued document) and a proof of where you will be staying in India.

You can buy a SIM card at the international airport from the kiosks of mobile service providers such as Airtel or Reliance, which are located almost immediately after you clear customs. Alternatively, you can also buy the SIM card from the stores of the cell phone vendors in the downtown areas, including shopping malls.

Once the documents are verified, you can purchase the SIM immediately and will get a 10-digit mobile number. Usually, the SIM is activated within 24 hours, after a confirmation call is made to your mobile phone for verifying the details provided in your application.

If you plan on traveling to several locations in India, be sure to get roaming activated on your SIM. Otherwise, you will have to buy separate SIM cards at every new place that you visit.

As per new regulations, a SIM is valid only for a three-month period after which it will have to be reactivated.

The most popular mobile service providers in India are Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Idea, Aircel and MTNL/BSNL (the latter is government run). In terms of costs, the rates and packages are similar. You should choose a provider based on the areas where you plan to travel. For the major cities, Airtel or Vodafone are good options, whereas BSNL has the widest coverage throughout rural areas too.

Most prepaid SIMs come with packages that include free incoming calls and messages. The package price includes the cost of the card (Rs.50). So, if you buy a card worth Rs.250, in effect, you would only have Rs.200 towards calls and messages.

The approximate call and messaging charges are:

• International calls (US/Canada) Rs.7 per minute

• International text messages Rs.5 per message

• Calls to a cell phone in India Rs.1 per minute

• Local text messages Rs.1 per message

3G and 4G data plans are also available, but can work out expensive if you are roaming.

Vancouver, Canada
7 posts
2. Re: SIM card while travelling in India

Wow--jacpaul 1, thank you very much for your very detailed and informative reply. It is mainly a data plan that we are looking for. I appreciate knowing in advance about the documents needed for purchasing the SIM card.

Best wishes.

Doha, Qatar
Level Contributor
12,569 posts
109 reviews
3. Re: SIM card while travelling in India

Always welcome

New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
2,597 posts
206 reviews
4. Re: SIM card while travelling in India

choose between airtel and vodaphone coz they have good good Pan India- network

Kalpetta, India
Destination Expert
for Kalpetta, Kozhikode, Mysuru (Mysore), Kodagu (Coorg), Sultan Bathery, Wayanad District, Kerala
Level Contributor
926 posts
92 reviews
5. Re: SIM card while travelling in India


If you have plans for South India, "Idea" has better coverage.



Groowynd Holidays

Surrey, England
Level Contributor
8 posts
173 reviews
6. Re: SIM card while travelling in India

THanks for all the info. Is the electricity plugs/voltage the same as the UK? Thanks.

Doha, Qatar
Level Contributor
12,569 posts
109 reviews
7. Re: SIM card while travelling in India

The voltage in India is 220 Volts. People coming from countries with 230 Volt only require a plug adapter for their appliances. I guess UK uses 230 Volts.

If you wish to use any electronic devices from the United States or any country with 110 Volt currency, you'll need a voltage converter and plug adapter.

While travelling, it’s better to go for a universal adapter.

Level Contributor
362 posts
1 review
8. Re: SIM card while travelling in India

I would suggest just have your travel agent do this for you. It would take couple of days to get the number activated. If you have your phone bring it with you ( GSM with multi band).

As for provider I would pick Airtel or Vadofone

Agra, India
Level Contributor
208 posts
3 reviews
9. Re: SIM card while travelling in India

Just ask to your travel agent and send the documents on email so that he will keep ready the activated SIM. You don't need to wait 24 hour and most interesting that they need only your passport copy and your photo.

I will suggest you to take Airtel SIM as it has widest coverage through out India and there is no roaming charge on Internet.

Only some agent will provide you this service.

New Delhi
Level Contributor
4,155 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: SIM card while travelling in India


airtel is best. Package and call rates are changed as per jeckpal mansion. If you call USA or Vancouver outgoing in areas is 9-11 Indian rupees but if you change state then charges are 15-17 Ruppes per minute.also you can use voucher for call dedication. About id you just need your passport and one passport size photo for your new sim. Butter take it from retailers in market rather than airport. because airport is expensive and not tell details of services.


Edited: 12 July 2014, 00:55
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