• How to Get a SIM Card in India

Save Yourself Hassle: Buy a Local SIM Card in India

Back when Rachel first wrote about how to get a SIM card in India, the process was much more complicated and getting tourist SIM cards wasn’t done as much. Of course today people get them more often, so with the help of Jules, our resident India expert, we’ve given this guide a much needed update! Read below for all your options of staying connected.

Tourist SIM cards are such a game changer when it comes to travel. Back in the day (aka less than a decade ago), you either needed to get a cheap phone for local calls and then hope you find WiFi either in your hotel or some random cafe to use your own phone. Nowadays, you just make sure your phone is unlocked, and you can top up or recharge with credit as you please!

Do I Actually Need a SIM Card or Data for India?

We’re assuming you’re asking this because you either a) are hoping there’s enough places with WiFi that you can just rely on that or b) you’re hoping to somehow be a true intrepid traveler and go off the grid while discovering the beauty of India.

Well for those wondering about WiFi, you’re definitely going to need some sort of data at least as back up. While many places do offer WiFi, you never know how strong it’ll be or if something could happen that causes it to go out during your visit. Also, chances are, you won’t have access to WiFi while you’re on the move. Having data of some sort lets you check maps, double check the timings of trains and buses, and look up reviews of restaurants or hostels you might be dropping into last minute.

Also, you still might want to have a phone number available because you never know when you need to give it out. Rachel used her number on fliers when she asked for a ride share from McLeod Ganj to Amritsar and got loads of calls which saved her both time and money.

For those that are hoping to be the next intrepid traveler, chances are you’ll just make yourself more miserable getting lost or not being able to contact anyone. Plus having some sort of connection or ability to call will help keep you safer in India.

How to Get a SIM Card in India

They change the rules on how to get a SIM card in India often, but as of now, you can get one as a foreigner as long as you have an address to list.

What You Need to Get a SIM Card

An Unlocked Phone

First, you need a phone with a SIM slot. Pretty much all phones have at least one these days. In fact, if you’re due for a new phone, check out Android options as they often have 2 SIM card slots vs. Apple’s one. This means you can keep your original SIM card in with your Whatsapp and usual apps going whilst putting the new Indian SIM in the second slot and using the data from this SIM card to run the phone.

An important point to note, even if you have one or two SIM card slots, your phone needs to be unlocked. In many places this is automatic, but check with your phone company first. Last we checked, US phones don’t come unlocked unless you purposely buy one that way.

If You Can’t Unlock Your Phone

The easiest option is to look into Trabug (more on that below), but you can also buy phones in India on Amazon.in and they can be delivered to your hotel/hostel within a few days.

There are phone brands on Amazon called Oppo, Redmi, Xiaomi, Infinux – all relatively cheap and good quality phones. Have a look before you start your trip to see whether it is better to buy it before your trip in your home country or in India once arrived.

2×2 Photograph & Passport Copy

In order to apply to get a SIM card, you need a copy of your passport, a 2x2inch photograph, and, of course, there will be paperwork at the shop you buy it.

Which is the best SIM card in India?

It’s honestly hard to say because it depends so heavily on the area. For example, IDEA was non-existent in some areas of NE India, but worked great in Mysore for Rachel. It’s all dependent on the area and it’s very cheap to change SIMs if necessary so don’t worry too much if yours doesn’t work well at first.

Some bigger brands are: Jio, Airtel, IDEA, and Vodafone but, again, depends on the region!

Prepaid or Postpaid?

In India, SIM cards are sold as “prepaid” or “postpaid” – prepaid is topping up before you can use it, similar to pay-as-you-go and postpaid is basically a monthly contract which you pay for at the end of every month. Depending on your length of travel in India, prepaid is recommended and is likely to be less paperwork.

Where to Buy SIM Cards

These days, most airports now sell SIM cards at arrivals. Usually they will have a little bit of a higher price.

If you don’t want to buy one at the airport, your best bet is to go to an authentic shop and not just a reseller. Go somewhere recommended by a local or seems popular.

Warning: If a shop doesn’t ask for paperwork, passport information, or a 2×2 photograph, they aren’t planning on submitting anything and your SIM will only work until the company realizes someone is using it and turns it off. Go somewhere else!

Basically, the company is supposed to check the address and phone number you list, call and see if you really are there. This is why it’s so hard for foreigners to get SIMs that last, and why three of Rachel’s were turned off after a couple of weeks… even one that she bought IN THE MAIN OFFICE of Vodafone. It’s one of the many scams of India.

Also just know that sometimes SIM cards are “recycled.” They’re still fine; you just might get a few random calls from a stranger and also expect to receive lots of lovely phone calls in Hindi trying to sell you something.

How much do SIM Cards in India cost for foreigners?

The perfect thing about SIM cards in India is that they are CHEAP. Some places give them out free, and some make it a little harder to get. In fact, the government used to give them out for free to tourists (though they don’t anymore).

Yours shouldn’t be more than Rs 150 at baseline. You don’t want to add too much money to top up your credit if you’re traveling around the country. If you’re traveling in one state for a longer stretch of time, we’d put around Rs 500 of credit. Otherwise just add Rs 100 or 200 at a time because you might wind up wanting to buy a new SIM in a new state (more on that next).

Either way, there are shops on every corner if you need to top up. Sometimes you can top up on line. Typically, you need an Indian bank account for this, but sometimes international credit cards are accepted.

Also keep in mind when looking at the different options, that you’re probably going to want a bigger data plan and not just a calling and SMS plan.

Roaming in India: What to Know

You know how if you have a cell service in the US and you go to Canada, it’s considered “roaming,” which meant a much larger phone bill if you were calling or using data abroad? It’s also like that in India, though obviously not as pricey as going to a different country. Wherever you buy your SIM is considered its “home state” and anywhere you else you go will be roaming. So if you buy your SIM card in Goa, for example, you’ll be considered “roaming” in Rajasthan.

This is why you don’t want to top up too much. You can compare prices, but it often might be much cheaper to just buy a brand new SIM per state you visit and add 100 or 200 rupees of credit. Plus, like we said above, the best cell service per country seems to change by state, so that could be another factor if you use data often. However, it is much less waste and paperwork to keep the same SIM throughout your trip and top up as you roam through different states.

How Trabug Works: A Phone for Travelers in India & an easier way to get a travel sim card in India

Don’t Want to Deal with Getting a SIM? Try Trabug

Trabug is a Travel Phone and Wifi Hotspot service. It honestly might be a great alternative if you’re worried about getting your phone stolen or breaking it on your trip. You can see the damage or theft breakdown costs here.

If you check out their site, there’s a video explaining all that they do and it’s changed quite bit from when Rachel first heard of them.

The Travel Phone

  • Cost: $5.99/day
  • Data: 2.5 GB daily at 4G
  • Calling: 250 minutes daily domestic
  • SMS: 10 daily domestic
  • Incoming calls and texts are free
  • Max: 80 days

This is an actual smartphone they’ll mail to your accommodation for you to pick up. The phone comes loaded with popular apps as well as Trabug’s own curated tips for India as well as recommendations and things like the closest ATM. They even have audio tours uploaded.

Apps on the Travel Phone Include:

  • Travel: Google Maps, Uber, Ola Cabs, IRCTC Trains, Trabug Currency Converter and Delivery, Trabug Travel, Trabug Emergency Services
  • Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, GooglePlus
  • Communication: Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Hangouts, Skype, Google Translate
  • Other: Youtube, Chrome, FM Radio, and more

If you need more apps added, you can contact Trabug up to 7 days before your rental start day to request them.

WiFi Hotspot

  • Cost: $3.99/day
  • Data: 2.5 GB daily at 4G
  • Devices: Up to 5
  • Max: 80 days

If you don’t think you need calling or SMS at all, you may just want their pocket WiFi instead. The nice thing too is that you can have up to 5 devices connected, so if you’re with a friend, you could each pair up your phones and laptops (though 2.5GB will go fast if you’re only using your hotspot).

Additional Charges

You can add on:

  • More Data
  • International Calling
  • More Texts and Data

Just contact them to add any of the above after you book.

Additionally, shipping is $9.99 per device for delivery and return pickup, but it’s free if you your rental bill is over $50.

You will also be asked for a security deposit before they ship the product to you, and this will be refunded within 10 business days of your return.

Another nice thing with Trabug is that you won’t have a change in charges for roaming in India like with a SIM card; it’s all included in the base price of $5.99/daily.

How to Order

Keep in mind you must have an e-Visa to qualify for a Trabug phone. For more on that, check this post.

Once you have an approved e-Visa, you’ll just need a scan or clear photo of your Passport ID pages.

If you need to cancel your trip, you can get a 100% refund up to 6 days before the start of your rental period. After that it goes down to 50%.

And there you have it! All you need to know about getting a SIM Card in India and staying connected. Let us know if you have any more questions.

For More India Travel Planning Guides:

Check out some of these posts to help you continue planning your trip to India:

Trip Planning Tips


Packing Tips

Itinerary Tips

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Here's a completely easy guide to getting a SIM Card in India plus an option for if you can't unlock your phone. | india travel, india travel tips


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  1. Yara Coelho April 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    I also had a sim card when traveling in India. The silly thing is that we actually didn’t need it as we didn’t know anyone there. But if you’re staying in one place longer, then it’s well worth it.

    • Rachel Jones April 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      yeah plus I find that it’s cheaper to use that to call and book hotels or order take away etc rather than skype!

  2. Renuka April 13, 2014 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Definitely informative for those who are traveling in India for the first time. It’s important to be in touch with people back home.

    • Rachel Jones April 14, 2014 at 2:20 am - Reply

      Yes, it’s so nice to call home and it’s really nice to have a phone rather than waiting for an internet cafe that you will have to DL Skype to.

  3. Elora April 17, 2014 at 8:11 am - Reply

    That’s interesting! Certainly helpful. I’ll remember that.

  4. jana October 4, 2014 at 5:18 am - Reply

    Ok…not a compilation related question. My mother in law just arrived here in U.S. from Mumbai. She has a phone that she brought with her that she wanted to keep working in order to receive business calls. It worked for a few days here in the U.S…. but then the phone started saying it needs a sim card. I thought maybe the sim card needed to be re-seated but when I opened the phone up… there was NO sim card. Have you ever heard of an I.Dina phone company selling g a phone that works without a sim card? I’m completely at a loss as to how her phone was working?

    • jana October 4, 2014 at 5:21 am - Reply

      Sorry…… corrections…* completely related* and Indian phone company

    • Rachel Jones October 5, 2014 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      sorry, I’m not sure the answer. If it’s an Indian phone she can go get a pay as you go SIM from at&t with a new american #… but in India all phones have Sim’s so Idk why her’s wouldnt and how it worked?

  5. Manj October 6, 2014 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Great website :)

    I have just returned from my many annual trips to India.
    Unfortunately they regularly change their policy regarding SIM cards.

    A few months ago I took my UK passport, two photos and my hotel details and was given a SIM card, which was activated within 6 hours.

    This time though, I was told they couldn’t give me a sim as I wasn’t an Indian resident !!!!
    I tried many different shops and suppliers in Delhi and Punjab…. Same reply!
    They claim the government had clamped down on it to prevent terrorism! (Confused face! Lol)

    Fortunately for me I have many friends and relatives there, so they sorted one out in their name/address.

    Hopefully they change back to the previous system.!


    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2014 at 7:39 pm - Reply

      THey do change! I recently lost one though and had to get a new and had no problems! I think it depends who you get one from & also, sometimes if you have a problem you can ask for a recycled one

      • vinay_ragas@yahoo.co.in June 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

        As an Indian, I would suggest anyone to “not” use recycled sims. This is because a number of sim cards (used by drug dealers, thieves from stolen phones, pimps, illegal traders, terror sponsors/helpers, etc) are circulated in the grey market. As long as they are not reactivated by using, its ok. But once it is inserted into a phone and switched on, it might get guys into serious trouble for no reason. Buy one on your name or friend’s if you couldn’t get in on your name. Stay safe..

  6. Christina October 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Super informative – thank you! Yeah I def think mobile internet is a good idea for solo traveller. It’s interesting you say to turn off GPS though?? In Europe GPS is free.

    • Rachel Jones October 28, 2014 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Hi! I think when Google maps is running in the background its taking up from the data plan. Having GPS and just watching the dot is ok, but I meant just not having a map app running in backgroun . Woops!

  7. A.J December 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Hi ,
    I am tired of all that hassle of submitting Passport and other stuff and as you mentioned sometime disconnected after few days., So next week I am heading to GOA /Delhi etc. I bought SIM in states as little expensive but worth it . IT can be more cheaper on Ebay but I prefer below site :

  8. danielle December 17, 2014 at 7:19 am - Reply

    I am in the same boat, going to Goa, followed by possibly Thailand and Laos. I have T Mobil but because I started my account as a no credit check, they had trouble setting it up as a “credit check” which would allow me to get International Roaming (Yes, they have international data, but you still have to pay for calls). Unfortunately it will take 2 months to resolve and I leave in a couple weeks. I have a sim in my phone (most new phones that arent I phones do in the US now) but it is T-Mobil. Will I be able to get a sim card in India that will work with this phone? based on what you said it seems like I could. How would I get an Indian number though? Is it assigned with the sim card? I was confused by that part of what you wrote. Thanks!

    • Rachel Jones December 19, 2014 at 7:33 pm - Reply

      The SIM card will come with a # that is activated when you put in the SIM. Interesting that new phones have them in the US!

  9. Ken January 14, 2015 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the info. I have a 2 month trip in India coming up in Sept/Oct. During the trip, I will visiting pretty much most of India. (North, south, east and west) I would like to buy a local Indian SIM card that would allow me to access data/internet while I am travelling in all of the different regions of the country.

    As far as you know, will I be able to get a SIM card with a pre-paid data plan that can be used throughout the whole country and not be “roaming” when I go from region to region?

    Thank you.

    • Rachel Jones January 14, 2015 at 11:18 am - Reply

      With all carriers you’ll be roaming when you leave the place the SIM was bought. With data roaming doesn’t apply (from what I understand), but talk-time does. Unless you’re making international calls, you’ll be fine. 500 rs (10 bucks) lasts me a long time like 2 weeks whether I’m roaming or not. Plus, you can get on the data part to make calls from Skype making roaming not matter.

      • Ken January 14, 2015 at 11:26 am - Reply

        Thanks Rachel,

        I don’t expect to use the SIM card for any phone calls at all. It is just to get on the internet, ie. data only. So, from what you are saying, using data in various regions won’t be considered roaming with respect to incurring extra charges?

  10. Ruchi January 14, 2015 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Your article is helpful, thanks! But are you sure its possible to buy a SIM card in India with a foreign passport and foreign address now? I know it wasn’t possible till last year (Jan 2014). One had to have an Indian address. I have a Belgian passport & address, no address in India. I’m planning to visit in March 2015 (to Bangalore). Will I be able to buy a SIM card?

    • Rachel Jones January 14, 2015 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      Hmm.. even two years ago while traveling I bought multiple SIM’s no problem. I see people come in the post office while I”m in line all the time and buy them without hassle so I don’t think you’ll have a problem.

      • Ruchi January 15, 2015 at 3:24 am - Reply

        ok, thanks, thats good news! btw, you mentioned ‘post office’, can you buy a SIM card from a post office..?!

        • Rachel Jones January 15, 2015 at 2:17 pm - Reply

          well, not really . in anjuna there is a shop on the same place but probably not a shop in all post offices.

  11. iPhone King January 20, 2015 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    I am sorry, but you seem to be slightly misinformed when it comes to SIM cards. All US carriers use nano SIM cards for both CDMA and GSM iPhones. Moreover, in order for a foreign national to purchase a SIM card in India (e.g., Airtel or Vodafone) you need to present your passport, visa, prepaid application, local reference, a permanent and/or local residence as well as a passport-sized photo of yourself. Moreover, all T-Mobile and Verizon iPhones come unlocked. For Sprint and AT&T you just need to call your carrier and they will happily unlock your iPhone.

    P.S. Most Indian carriers provide micro SIMs. You will need to ask them to cut the SIM card to the nano SIM card standard (they call it “sim-cutting”) in order for it to fit in your iPhone.

    Hope this helps and safe travels!

    • Rachel Jones January 20, 2015 at 11:16 am - Reply

      I have had Verizon for 10 years and never been given an unlocked phone – and they can’t even be unlocked. I hear it’s starting to change this year. And yes, I mentioned that others can be unlocked. And also, have mentioned many times on my site that you need verified paperwork to get the SIM.

      • Jeff Kinsel February 25, 2015 at 10:21 pm - Reply

        Hey Rachel,

        Yes, the law changed in the US for unlocking phones. If you have an old locked iphone you can contact the carrier and they will unlock it for you. It took a couple of days with ATT then they sent me instructions to do so. I did that with my old iphone. Thank you for all the useful information! Good stuff on your blog!


    • Olivia August 31, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      I think Racheal did a great job of sharing her India experiences with SIM cards. I found it to be helpful. I think most ppl aren’t aware that they do make iPhones with sims. I have one, and when I told my sister about the hassle I went thru in sliming my SIM card. She didn’t believe I had an iPhone, she was suprised to find out that iphone are made with SIM cards these days….

  12. Alistair February 1, 2015 at 6:00 am - Reply

    Hi I’m an Australian just arrived in Delhi, Greater Noida. This is an industrial moon scape wasteland and so un interesting. The company I am working for would not give me a car as they say its too dangerous to drive if you are unfamiliar (true). Then they said its too risky to get a taxi into Delhi as they will rip you off. A company driver cant take me anywhere in his personal car as the police will question him. I asked for a SIM card but that is still coming. After reading your blog I see there is sanity so I will take a taxi and go get one myself and escape this exile. Regards Al.

    • Rachel Jones February 3, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Ah you’re company sounds intense! Glad you are going out on your own to explore :)

  13. Ram June 28, 2015 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Hi I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Well for Indian citizens they just have to go submit their driving license photocopy 1 and 1 passport size photo and money for buying a prepaid Sim card.

    They’ll give a normal Sim and a micro or a nano Sim also together based on which you request. They will call you to verify and ask your name and address to double check so for that you have to insert normal sized sim in a no frills basic Nokia kinda phone first.

    The call for Tele verification will come only after the network comes. Network appears in 2 hrs. Call sorry you have a number so you must call them. Get yourself verified. After that you wait until your normal Sim network disconnects.

    Then put your given nano or micro Sim inside your smartphone or tablet. And wait for network to appear it’ll in 5 mins because the older one disconnected. And now you must wait for 2 hrs for the network to appear. Once network appears your outgoing sms facility and data facility won’t be granted. You must wait another 4 hrs for that too to get activated. So total like 8 hrs. And then you can fully use 4G or 3g or 2g from your Sim card.

    (Nowadays if you go direct to Telcom store they’ll have micro and nano and normal Sims company manufactured ones with 64k for 3g and 128k for 4G.) So avoid roadside small shops who don’t submit your documents properly and result in line being cut half way and also the way the cut the Sim is also horrible.

    I recommend you to go get Airtel 4G micro or nano Sim card. Don’t go for other telcos they are just hopeless. And don’t forget when you are in India you must really have lot of patience as things happen very very slow. You will know that right from the immigration quee after you land in Indian airport.

    For Indians the Sim will get deactivated if they didn’t use for more than 6 months and if constantly using its valid for life.

    For foreigners the Sim even if you constantly use it it’ll only work for 3 months. Not more than that. After that you have to repeat the process all over again.

    Hope my piece of info helps someone out there.

  14. Ram June 28, 2015 at 1:28 am - Reply

    Forgot to add the point that foreignors the required documents are your passport data page photocopy, 1 passport size photo, address proof in India (friend or colleague or company or relative or anyone whom you know) if not then the hotel address. Get a letter in hotel letter head typed by hotel management stating your name as on passport your passport number nationality and duration of stay In that hotel or in the country. That should suffice.

    Remember before leaving your home country and coming India (India uses 2 pin power point socket for electricity) and voltage and power fluctuation and even electricity cut out happen few hrs a day not in hotels though.

    Always choose network mode to wcdma only if you on 3g data plan.

    And choose LTE mode if you on 4G data plan.

    Certain places you don’t get both so you choose GSM only option and still be connected to data until you temporarily get out of that no network place.

    And network.and signal strength in India is erratic. I’m your hotel or house only at certain spots you’ll get nice speed on data. And if you step out you won’t. Or even not to be surprised if no service at all for few other spots within your room or house or hotel itself.

    • Rye September 5, 2015 at 12:32 am - Reply

      Ram, thanks for the downright thorough write up. And Rachel, thanks for addressing the topic! This is one of the unknowns that are often an afterthought when checking out foreign lands…which usually turns out to be a total PITA. You guys have alleviated this worry for me on my upcoming trip.


  15. Christine | GRRRLTRAVELER September 17, 2015 at 1:13 am - Reply

    Wow, I’m going through a TON of your posts prepping myself for India again. All largely helpful!! Thanks for the insight about the scam. Every time I or friends have bought SIMs it’s seemed they’ve shut off in 2 weeks or so…. always an issue with them. Now I know why! And I do recall going back and forth to Vodaphone offices.

  16. Robbie Welsh September 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Dear Rachel,
    I am traveling to India in Oct. for 2 months . I have a verizon iPhone 5.
    I am thinking of bringing it with me .I will be using it mostly for internet and local phone calls to hotels in India.
    Do I simply buy a sim card with data on it?
    How much data do you think I will need?
    Thank you ,

    • Rachel Jones September 18, 2015 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      Hi Robbie,

      I haven’t been in the US for a couple years, but when I left, Verizon phones didn’t have SIM slots. Does your phone have one? If so, then yes you just buy a SIM to stick in it. You can buy one with or without data on it & top up as you go.

  17. Marie November 2, 2015 at 1:33 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the advice, I’m flying soon to India and doing last minutes checks. I thought about buying a Sim card in Mumbai where I land (I stay there for a day only), but would you advice me to buy it in Goa where I’ll spend my first two weeks?

    • Rachel Jones November 6, 2015 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Better to buy in goa because a local Goa sim will get better service

  18. Amy April 17, 2016 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Hello, am going India in September. We are spending 4 days in Mumbai before moving to Goa. Is it still the same policy where it takes a good 3-4 days to get the sim and sometimes more? Thanks.

    • Rachel Jones April 18, 2016 at 11:50 am - Reply

      I would wait to get the SIM in Goa anywhere if you’re moving here because you want a local #. My SIM was purchased over 3 years ago so things may have changed – I really don’t know :( sorry! you get the SIM handed to you right away though it just takes time to get it legally set up

  19. Burner April 29, 2016 at 9:13 am - Reply

    I’ll be in India Dec1-Jan31, planning on hitting as many cities as possible. I need Internet access, text and voice service, what do you suggest and is there a plan for all three that works in the whole country without having to keep changing cards? I’m kinda a dork when it comes to things like this.

    • Rachel Jones April 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      you don’t have to change cards but you will be roaming outside the state you bought it in- it’s not that much more expensive

  20. smh July 12, 2016 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    um We use sim cards in the US – all AT&T and T-Mobile phones have sim cards.

    • Rachel Jones July 13, 2016 at 5:07 am - Reply

      This was written four years ago when most people in the US didn’t know what SIM cards are. In fact even now when I got one while in the US none of my friends with Verizon iphones knew what one was. SMH :)

  21. Helena September 2, 2016 at 11:54 pm - Reply


    I have just come across this post and your blog- really interesting as heading to India for a couple of months in a few weeks! I just wondered, I have come across a couple of companies where you can order a prepaid sim before hand- have you heard of this? Or is it better to wait and just buy when you land in the country?

    Thanks :)

    • Rachel Jones September 3, 2016 at 10:11 am - Reply

      I have heard of this but haven’t done it. I would imagine the prices would be a lot higher than the prices of local sim.

  22. Eva January 28, 2017 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I am going to India for a solo trip. Need a sim card with good network data speed should be good too. I am taking my iphone 6 with me will it work properly there??
    Reply asap. TIA

    • Arun February 5, 2017 at 1:23 am - Reply

      First open ur phone and Check if it has Sim card slot… if it does then u shld be good..In india Airtel usually has the largest coverage so thats best to go for..As far as speeds are concerned it will be decent you get good 3g/4g speeds in the citiies but in the interiors its bit difficult to get the best coverage hence affects the net speed.

  23. jodie October 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Hi I am traveling to South East Asia end of November, first stop India (unsure how long for). I am a complete Luddite so was going to bring my iphone 7 (get it unlocked before I leave) and leave my tablet and large camera at home. I was thinking that way I would have a good camera, internet and communication devise to hand in my pocket at all times. After reading your article I am now a little confused (although as always it was a very informative article)…….

    Is my iphone 7 plan to stressful an option? I am a first time solo traveler with no contacts in India
    Can use an i-phone with an Indian sim?
    Or would it be better to sell my iphone and get a trabug?
    Thank you

    • Rachel Jones October 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Hey Jodie – sorry you are confused! So, if your iphone is unlocked then that is the best way to travel in India (unlocked phone, get a SIM here). Some people find getting a SIM too difficult as they get cut off sometimes and there are scams so if that is the case then you might like Trabug. Trabug is best though for people who do not have an unlocked phone and are going to have to buy one anyway – then in that case just buy a trabug as it’s cheaper and then you don’t have to go through SIM card process. I hope that makes sense. If you can unlock your iphone 7, def take it – they are expensive so to sell it I imagine you’ll lose a lot of money

  24. Daniela November 19, 2017 at 5:35 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel, excellent article and useful info. Thanks!!!!!
    I just wanted to know why you can’t get a sim card for your Iphone.
    I have an Iphone 6, unlocked and that uses micro or nano sim card.
    Do you think i will be able to use it with a sim card in India?
    Thanks again for your help!!!

    • Rachel Jones November 19, 2017 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      You can get a SIM card for your iPhone if it has a slot for a sim. Until recently not many had slots as in the US their weren’t SIMs the # was with Verizon or whoever – my iPhone 4 and my parents 5 from Verizon have no slots for SIM. I think now it’s changing at Verizon and there is a SIM card. As long as you have one and it’s unlocked then it’s fine.

  25. Cheap Flights March 10, 2018 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    It was really Interesting article. thanks for sharing.

  26. JeromeArmstrong (@jeromearmstrong) March 17, 2019 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    This still works, can spend about an hour or two at Vodaphone in Calcutta and get a phone, but gotta have a phone number and address lined up for them to call. I skip having the photo, just have them take it with their phone (though that was a hassle at first). Crazy regulations.

  27. Laura October 8, 2019 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I lived in India for 6 months in 2018 and loved having a local SIM, although it took me a while to work out how to get it (and to be at a phone shop when they weren’t experiencing internet downtime!)

    So… (as of 2018) the 2 providers who offered SIMs to foreigners were Airtel and Vodaphone. Check their coverage in your area before picking one as some states have better cover by one than the other. I was living in Tamil Nadu and chose Vodaphone (mainly due to being within walking distance of the Vodaphone shop, although I had the lucky benefit of still having amazing signal when visiting Uttarakhand on holidays).

    SIM cards for foreigners can only be active for 90 days, so be prepared to have to get a new SIM and new number if staying for longer.

    My process:

    1) I had a place to stay (this is important as you will be asked for address, etc)
    2) I went to the local printing shop and queued for 2 mins to have some photos taken (cheapest package cost about $2 for 20 photos, a CD, and a few photos with a randomly photoshopped castle background…)
    3) I went to the Vodaphone shop, filled out some forms, waited 10 mins, then the assistant came back, inserted a SIM card, set everything up (involving some phoning/texting from my phone to Vodaphone) and then handed the phone to me, fully working and authorised

    The SIM card deal required paying up front approximately $10 for 3 months of calls and an allowance of 1GB of data per day. It is worth noting that the calls were only free while in the state where I bought the SIM and that I would have had to top up/add a package for a different state if I wished to make calls. However, the data allowance was avalable in all states.

    It was actually really easy! And really useful as things are changing constantly so being able to look at Google reviews for a shop and find where it had moved, etc was really helpful. Lots of Indian apps were also amazing (e.g. Ola for cabs and various local apps for reviews of restaurants, etc).

  28. Shraddha July 8, 2020 at 4:38 am - Reply

    This is interesting. Thank you for the guide.

  29. renetorress573 February 8, 2021 at 12:29 am - Reply

    Hello Rachel, thanks for sharing this beautiful article. It is such a informative article. Keep going on…….

  30. Jane wangari July 18, 2021 at 3:29 am - Reply

    I think this is one of the most important topic people need to read about before travel.A local simcard is among the essentials in not only india but every country if yoou can.Getting stuck due to no data is real and am glad people are reading and getting to understand it more thus thank you for this blog.

  31. Philip Regan February 16, 2023 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Things have changed Airtel won’t issue a SIM card to holders of EVisas except at the airport.Im stuck because I didn’t buy one on arrival.The automated system of application they use rejects esims tried 3 places same story including an Airtel store.

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