Travel to Southern India. Need a SIM

Flying into Mumbai next wednesday.
I thought we were going to wing it with wifi but my travel companion now wants a sim with data.

We are there for 30 days

My research says that getting a SIM for a foreigner is difficult. Is this the case?

Research also suggests that getting a sim at the airport on arrival is the quickest, most efficient method. Can anyone confirm and suggest which network?

Or can I get something reasonably priced in Australia before I leave?

Sorry for late notice.

Thank you


  • +2

    Airtel. Buy it at the airport. That's the easiest way

    • I thought that might be the case but some of the reports I read have suggested it's difficult and sim activation takes days.

      I believe the requirements are passport, visa and a passport size photo.


      • Recently came back from India. Activation was done within a couple of hours. Airtel has the best network it seems and plans are cheap too - Rs 249 ($5) for 28 days..1.5GB data per day and all local calls free.

        • +2

          Thanks mate.

          Sounds good.

          India has never been on my bucket list but am looking forward to the experience.

      • +1

        Activation isn't instantaneous. Takes a few hours. But you can get one anywhere, and it's cheap - 650 rupees for 30 days @1.5GB/day.

        • thx
          don't really need it until the next day.

          I might even email the hotel we are staying at and ask if there is somewhere nearby I can get it from.

  • I had a mixed experience like many people on the internet seem to. Got the sim in Delhi, but it worked further south

    I took a passport photo, and a printout of the prepaid page of their website with the 28 day sim I wanted.

    The airport store wanted to charge me 3x the price. Perhaps if it looked like it would be an easy transaction I would have paid the inflated price for convenience, but the guy had been having a screaming argument with the woman ahead of me and was clearly unhappy I had a printout with the regular price on it so I just left.

    The next store I tried, downtown, said they were out of sim cards.

    The third store, also downtown, were really nice, sold me the sim exactly as outlined on their website. Filled in a form, didn't take took long, activated about 4 hours later.

    Once I found a place to sell it to me, it was really easy. I had planned to just walk around my first afternoon there and had seen a number of stores on Google maps. I can understand buying at the airport if you are short on time, but seems you pay a price, and would be harder to return to the store if it never activated.

    I remember thinking I should have downloaded the airtel app to my phone beforehand, but now I can't remember why.

    • We're a bit short on time in Mumbai. The GF went a bit nuts booking overpriced tours. If it cost $15 instead of $5 I can live with that.

      It's somewhat ironic that Airtel's Indian website appears to be down at the moment. :-) edit: and now it works!

  • I bought at the Dehli Airport. It was 900ish Rupees so basically the dude there sold me a recharge on top of just the SIM. I didn't get around to inserting the SIM for two days and it worked straight away. Install the airtel app on your phone and get an extra 5 Gig of Data… Worked everywhere except the sensitive military areas in the Himalayas where prepaid is blocked.

    • I'm down south

      • Should not be any issues. On the expressways etc the speed was great.

  • I was using jio and you won't go wrong with Airtel either. There are plenty of their own exclusive outlets which is better for quicker sim card activation

  • Some providers only sell to Indian people - I luckily met some locals who got me a sim :)

    I used Jio and it was great. Sims are sooo cheap once you are in India, worry about it once you're there.

    For convenience, try the airport.

  • Was in India about a year ago, got a sim card in Amritsar without any issues at first major store (Airtel). Data only, decent speeds.

    I payed shop keeper a few dollars extra (seemed a lot for Indian sim, maybe $10?) and it worked no problems at all.
    They didn't ask to see passport or anything like that. Whole process took about 5 minutes, very easy.

    I think technically they aren't supposed to sell sims to foreigners? Even then you should have to register, etc. But I might be wrong?

    As a foreigner, probably 'not allowed', might vary by region. But in India money talks and there's always a way!
    If a shop won't sell it to you, just try the next one.

    Good luck!

  • +1

    To close this:
    Mumbai Airport Singtel kiosk is directly as you leave customs. The guy(s) there will ask for IR1000 cash for a 28 day SIM that normally cost IR250. They basically rip off their boss and pocket the extra IR750.

    I got 2x 84 day Singtel SIMs (we were there for 31 days) for approx IR1300 from a shop near our hotel. They photograph the passport and the shop set it all up for me while I waited. The process took 30 minutes for 2 phones that both worked when we left.

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