Digital Nomads, here is how you can get a SIM Card in India.

India is finally restarting multiple international flights. Along with the reinstating of long-stay visas, there’s only one thing you should be doing now – packing your bags and heading for a workation to India. The past few years have seen improved connectivity, stronger bandwidths, and a mushrooming of coworking spaces in India. Keeping in mind the recent developments in international travel regulation in India from March 2022, here is a guide to help you kickstart your adventures, starting with getting a local sim card.

One of the primary concerns for remote workers on the move has been bandwidth and connectivity. While multiple coworking spaces are now offering a good deal on workspaces with fast wifi, you might need the good ol’ mobile data at times too. For those looking to purchase sim cards to work from India, here is a detailed guide on finding the best sim card in India.

Let’s start with what a sim card really is -

A sim card is a small chip provided by your telecom service provider to keep you connected through calls and the internet. It needs to inserted into your phone to make it functional. If you are from anywhere outside India, chances are that your native network may or may not work here. Added to that, there is no arguing about the fact that the roaming charges will cut a hole in your pocket.

Currently, three telecom providers are leading the market in India- Airtel, Jio and Vodafone-Idea. While Airtel does have the most active subscribers, Jio and Vodafone-Idea offers are not far behind.  

  • To start with, it would be best to pick up at least two of these providers, preferably Airtel and Jio. This is because even if one does end up losing connection, you’ll still have the other as backup. 
  • The next thing to do would be to ensure that your phone has been unlocked by your telecom service provider in order to accommodate a new sim card. However, chances are that even when unlocked, a new sim might not work on your mobile phone. Investing in a wireless unit or purchasing a new phone, preferably a dual sim, can help fix this problem. This can be really handy especially if you are someone who is always on the move.
  • Furthermore, there is still a chance that your local sim card might not work regardless. This can be because your phone’s GSM isn’t compatible.

In India, the compatible GSM bands are as follows:

  • 2G capabilities: GSM 900, GSM 1800
  • 3G capabilities: UMTS 900, UMTS 2100
  • 4G capabilities : LTE 850 (5), LTE 1800 (3), LTE 2100 (1), LTE 2300 (40), LTE 2500 (41)

Documents you will need:

  • Visa, and a photocopy
  • Passport, and a photocopy
  • Passport size photo
the image is an inforgraphic for digital nomads looking to buy a sim card in india. it shows where you can get it, what documents you need and what providers you can pick from

Indian Telecom Providers

Indian telecom providers offer postpaid and prepaid plans. While prepaid plans require you to top up for data and Talktime after every fixed number of days, postpaid plans have monthly billing cycles. Currently, postpaid plans are not open for foreign nationals, unless you can offer the details of a local resident. The latter can be done through your accommodation’s management if they are willing to do it for you.

Today, sims are easily available online. You just have to book a sim and the representative will arrive at your doorstep to complete the necessary verification. Apart from that, you can also obtain a sim at the airport (Mumbai/ Delhi) or at your hotel. Both airports and hotels might offer them at higher rates due to the commissions involved. 

Plans usually start at ₹250 (US$3) and offer postpaid plans that include data and Talktime both, including options of data rollover.

What they offer:

Jio

Unlimited Talktime, 100 SMS/day and 25 GB for 30 days @ 296 (US$3.9) 

(Click here to browse other plans)

Airtel: 

Unlimited talktime, 100 sms/day, 3 GB/day for 28 days @ 599 (US$7.9)

Unlimited talktime, 100 sms/day, 2 GB/day for 56 days @ 549  (US$7.2)

 (Click here to browse other plans)

Vodafone-Idea:

Unlimited Talktime, 100 SMS/day and 50 GB for 60 days @ 537 (US$7)

(Click here to browse other plans)

It is important to note that the activation of most sim cards for foreign tourists could take anywhere between 24-72 hours.

Need help?