Buying SIM Cards in India

Buying SIM Cards in India

India is a south Asian country whose vast landscapes are diverse melting pot of different cultures, places, and wildlife. There are a lot of places to visit in the country especially when you want to learn about the country’s rich history. One place the you must definitely visit is The Taj Mahal located in Agra which is one of the most famous buildings in the world. If you want to take a deeper dive into India’s culture, you should visit the Holy City of Varanasi, a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. If you want to experience what the country offers when it comes to natural wonders, you should the beaches of Goa found in the western coastline of the country and offers a sweeping panoramic view of the Arabian Sea. Another site that showcases the country’s natural beauty is the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary located in Madurai which hold lush forests, vast numbers of ecosystems and diverse number of species.

If you’re looking forward on travelling to India, we’ll help you get one thing off your mind. We will guide you on buying a SIM card for your travel in this exciting country.

The First Thing You Need To Do

The first step to buying a SIM card actually doesn’t start itself but rather with our cellphones. Why? Most of the time, especially if you buy your phone from a particular service provider you can only use your phone exclusively with that provider hence you’ll need to get unlocked. An unlocked phone means that you can use it with any SIM Card.

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It is worth mentioning that though most phones are now readily unlocked depending on its brand and who you bought it from, it’s necessary that you check your phone if it’s locked or unlocked. There’s a simple way of checking if your phone is locked, simply turn off your phone and replace the original SIM Card with the a different SIM card from a different SIM Card provider. If a message such as “Restricted” and “Contact your service provider” your phone is locked. If you can still operate your phone and make calls and texts, good, it means that your phone is unlocked. If it is no need to worry, simply contact your service provider to get it unlocked. If for any reasons (like a lock up period) your service provider declines to unlock your phone, simply seek help from an independent phone store or tech store and ask your phone to be unlocked, this usually costs only a small amount.

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Choosing A SIM Card

Buying a SIM card in India can be hard as they require a lot of requirements. Luckily, we’re here to help you out. Make sure to prepare the following documents before purchasing one to avoid any hassle: two passport photographs, a colored photocopy of the personal details page of your passport, a colored photo copy of your Indian VISA and a photocopy of proof of where you are staying in the country. Another thing you should expect is that it might take 24 to 48 hours before your SIM card gets activated. There are three major service providers in India:

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Airtel is the country’s largest service provider. They offer their SIM card for INR50 to INR100 which comes with the same amount worth of credit. You can top this off with these packages: For INR1098 you get 3GB worth of data. For INR1748 you get 5GB worth of data. For INR2249 you get 7GB worth of data. And for INR3249 you get 10GB worth of data. Their packages vary from time to time and they might offer special promos so make sure that you check those out before purchasing one.

Vodafone India

Vodafone India comes second to Airtel as India’s largest service provider though is quickly catching up as this service provider offers very affordable packages. They offer their SIM card for INR50 to INR100 which comes with the same amount worth of credit. You can top their SIM cards off with these packages: For INR119 you can avail 325Flex package. For INR199 you can avail 700Flex package. For INR299 you can avail 1200Flex package. For INR399 you can avail 1750Flex package. You can also avail a total of 300MB worth of data for INR90 ang 1.5GB worth of data for INR190.


Jio is the smallest service provider in the country. They offer their SIM card called “Chan Dhana Dan” which costs INR309 and comes with unlimited calls, 1GB worth of data for 84 days and 100 text messages a day. This affordable package has made Jio one of the most popular service providers in the country hence there might be congestion interms of coverage.

In terms of coverage, all the service providers have good to average coverage throughout the country. It is strong in major cities but one may experience congestion problems due to the number of users.

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So where do you buy one?

With consideration to India’s process when it comes to purchasing a SIM card we highly encourage you to buy from the official stores and authorized resellers as paperwork needs to be done and assistance in setting up the SIM card is readily available, especially if you have limited knowledge of the native language. However, top ups are available practically everywhere from supermarkets, news agents, gas stations and even corner stores. You can also avail and activate top ups online.


Remember to prepare your two passport photographs, a colored photocopy of the personal details page of your passport, a colored photo copy of your Indian VISA and a photocopy of proof of where you are staying in the country before purchasing a SIM card and do the necessary paper works. You can only do these in official stores, hence it is important that you buy from one as you’ll need to go there anyway, if you buy your SIM card elsewhere. This also ensures the legitimacy of the product and you’ll have the advantage as assistance as it is readily available in the official stores. Another important reminder is to don’t buy SIM cards in the street as it is possible that it previously belonged to someone and using it is illegal. There are a variety of choices to choose from. Make sure that whatever you’re getting will suit all of your needs throughout your visit in the country.

Written by Gear Up To Travel

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