Getting a SIM card in India
Getting a SIM card in India can be essential if you are travelling the country alone or want to use Uber in India. However, it’s quite tough to get a SIM card in India as there are several prerequisites and a lot of bureaucracy. With our guide, you’ll definitely have an easier time!
Trying to get a SIM card in India can be stressful and might even take several hours, so it’s definitely good to plan ahead. Upon our arrival at Shangri-La Bengaluru, we didn’t really have a lot of time. That’s why we decided to ask the hotel to get me a SIM card. Well, even though the request was taken care of, the employees were not able to succeed. There are quite a few reasons for this development as getting a SIM card in India is quite challenging.
The things you need for a SIM card in India
If you’d like to use your mobile phone in India without paying crazy charges, you’ll need an Indian SIM card no matter what. Generally, there are ten different mobile network operators in India, but you won’t find all in all parts of the country. That’s why it’s recommendable to either get a SIM card of Airtel India or Vodafone India. Both offer SIM cards for foreigners, but by law there are several prerequisites. Before getting a card, you should get a copy of your passport, a copy of your visa, your residential address in India (might also be a hotel) and two biometrically pictures of yourself. If you got all of these in hand, you can start getting your SIM card in India.
The way to get a SIM card in India
With all these documents in hand, you should look for the closest Airtel or Vodafone shop. Be aware that there are actually not too many in all cities and there are rarely any at airports. Your hotel or host might help you locating the next store. As soon as you are arrived, be sure to find someone speaking proper English to handle your request.
You’ll most likely need to sign some papers and seconds later you’ll hold a SIM card in your hand after handing over your paperwork. However, you are not done at this point as the SIM card is not activated and you might also have no value on the SIM card.
The long path to the use of the SIM card
Usually, you are explained the way how to get the SIM card activated by the employee of the company, but the language barrier might be problematic. Usually, you’ll need to wait for a couple of hours before you can call a special number of the provider where you need to confirm all your details (which can be challenging again due to the language barrier) and get your SIM card activated. As soon as it’s done, you’ll receive a text message.
If you are not lucky as I was, there was also no initial value on the SIM card, which meant that the card has to be loaded. If you are staying at a hotel, this is not too much of a problem as it’s possible to call a special number and load the cards. In this case, you’d just pay the sum at your hotel and let others handle the process, which worked fine. If you are not staying at a hotel, you might need to get to a shop of your provider again.
The prices and coverage of Indian SIM cards
Be aware that you might need to load both, telephone and internet volume, especially if you want to use Uber in India. However, this might not be a problem as regardless of the operator, the prices are relatively low. You’ll generally not pay more than 500 INR (~ 6.70 Euro / 7.50 Euro) for 2 GB of data or 100 minutes for phone calls. The coverage of Airtel India, which I used during my time in the country, was also very good – in the North, in the South and in the West. So as soon as you’ll have your SIM card in India, you’ll definitely have a great time! With this guide, you’ll most likely have an easier time getting a SIM card in India as well!
If you got any further questions, feel free to ask as always!