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‘Is it hard to get a sim card in India?’ Not anymore! How to get a sim card in India recently got even easier in 2019! Well, if you fly into Delhi Airport anyway, because as of 2019 you can now buy a sim card in Delhi Airport in a matter of minutes on one of the most competitive plans in the world!
Airtel is India’s largest network provider and works well in the majority of the country and right now, they are the only sim card provider located out of Delhi Airport and the Airtel Delhi Airport opening hours are 24 hours, making it easy to get a sim card when you land in Delhi as a tourist to India no matter what time you land.
Not flying into Delhi Airport?? Here are 2 other ways to get a sim card in India as a tourist!
How to get a Sim Card in Delhi.
Indira Gandhi Airport aka Delhi Airport has 3 terminals but terminal 3 is where you will most likely fly into because all international flights are operated out of terminal 3.
International Arrivals and Domestic Arrivals are located next to each other in terminal 3 Delhi Airport. On exit, once you have collected your bag, you will see a Costa Coffee straight in front of you leaving both International Arrivals and Domestic Arrivals (there are 2 cafes).
The Airtel Store in Delhi Airport is located between exit 4 and 5, opposite the International Arrivals exit and next to Costa Coffee. I have been told by the staff at the Airtel Store in Delhi Airport is open 24hours. It looks like this:
Remember you need a visa for India: Here’s my Step by Step Guide on How to Apply for an Indian Tourist Visa!
Before you get your sim card you will probably need to get some cash! There are a few ATM’s in Delhi Airport but SBI Bank is the ATM I suggest you use as it takes international bank cards and charges minimal fee’s. Note that in India, the maximum amount of cash you can get withdraw from an ATM is 10,000 Indian Rupee’s which is approximately £110.00 and $140.00 USD.
Luckily, SBI ATM Delhi Airport is attached to the Airtel Store next to exit gate 4:
Airtel Prepaid Sim Card Delhi Airport:
There is only one prepaid sim card option in Delhi Airport but that’s ok because it’s a good one.
(Note the Sim used to be 900Rs but has now changed to 615Rs!)
The India Sim Card deal is:
615Rs / £6.65 / $8.65
1.4gb of data each day which refreshes each day.
Unlimited calls to Indian numbers.
Validity for 2 months
**IMPORTANT NOTE – THERE’S A 99% CHANCE THEY WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT CHANGE, MAKE SURE YOU COUNT IT OR TELL THEM IT’S WRONG, EVEN IF YOU DON’T KNOW, BECAUSE THEY’VE DONE IT TO ME TWICE AND LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE HAVE TOLD ME THEY DID IT TO THEM TOO! THEY MAY TRY TO DISTRACT YOU TOO SO YOU FORGET ABOUT THE CHANGE ALL TOGETHER SO KEEP A WATCH ON THIS!**
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR INDIA
Have you got travel insurance for India yet? If you haven’t I recommend World Nomads and you can even purchase their insurance once you are in India and travelling! They are designed by travellers, for travellers with excellent customer service and a range of cover options.
3 Important things to note about Delhi Airport Sim Cards:
1 – You must have an unlocked phone. If your phone is not unlocked you will not be able to get a sim card in India. Instead, your best choice for internet in India is a wireless device like this!
2 – MAKE SURE YOU COUNT YOUR CHANGE and do not get shortchanged which is what they tried to do to me twice and a few other people who have read this blog post have told me they did it to them too, or they make you try to forget about your change altogether by distracting you with questions! These men know you are new to India and might not know the currency!
The ATM will give you either 500Rs notes or big 2000Rs so look out for 385Rs change if you give 2x500Rs notes, or 1385Rs change if you give 2000Rs.
3 – I read that there is a Delhi Airport free sim card for tourists when you show your e-visa on arrival but I have never seen signs for this and from what I read there is only minimal data on it -1.5mb which is not a good deal even if it was free and given out, so forget about this India sim card on arrival option! There’s no international sim card at Delhi Airport either or Vodafone in Delhi Airport.
More of my India and Delhi blog posts to help with your stay in Delhi!
How else do you get a Sim Card in India?
It is 100% possible to get a sim card in India away from the airport however it is much harder!
The biggest benefit of getting a sim card in Delhi Airport is that you don’t need to provide any extra paperwork, photos or documents.
Here are 2 other ways to get a sim card in India!
But when using the Airtel Store in Delhi Airport, you give them your passport for them to make copies, they take a photo of you and you fill in a few parts on a big form.
How long does a sim card take to activate in India? Just a few hours!
This means you will not be able to use it straight away in Indira Gandhi Delhi Airport but the airport does have wifi. You will just need to have a sim card in your phone that has a signal (your sim card from home, or from a country you’ve just been to) as they text you an access code to access the wifi in Delhi Airport.
How to get from Delhi Airport to the City.
This also means that it’s not as easy to get an Uber from Delhi Airport into New Delhi because you will have to rely on wifi which doesn’t reach to the Uber carpark in Delhi Airport. Here are other ways to get from Delhi Airport to the city safely:
Firstly, if you haven’t booked a hotel yet, or even if you have and it has a cancellation period, have a read of this post for the best hotels, hostels and Airbnb’s in Delhi because if you have good accommodation in Delhi in a good area you are much more likely to enjoy your stay!
If this is your first time to Delhi I’d suggest booking an airport pick up from Delhi Airport in advance to your hotel in Delhi, like this one, so you do not have to bargain with the taxi men at the airport door. Just remember you’ll need an extra 30 minutes or so to get cash and a sim card in case there is a line for sim cards.
If you don’t want to prebook a transfer or taxi, the next best option is to get a pre-paid taxi from Delhi Airport and email your accommodation beforehand to ask how much a taxi should cost so you have an idea.
Leave arrivals out of gate 4 which is next to the Airtel store and head to the yellow booth, tell them where you’re going and they will give you a fair price. You pay them upfront (make sure you get the right change) and you will be taken to a driver. The only downside to this is that they may not use GPS and may not know where your hotel is if it’s a smaller hotel, this happened to me once and I had to guide the taxi to my Delhi Hotel.
There are many taxi drivers outside of the arrivals doors on the road offering you a taxi but from experience, they will not go down as cheap as the pre-paid taxi’s or the price that your hotel told you to pay!
AIRBNB CREDIT FOR INDIA
India has some great Airbnb options, like these gorgeous houses in Jaipur! To get $30.00 off your Airbnb stay(which is 1-2 nights free accommodation in India!),open a new account using this promo code!
Delhi is a pretty crazy city and a lot of tourists often leave with a bad impression after being scammed or being overwhelmed but it is actually a really great city so after a few visits I put together these 10 points of how to enjoy Delhi as a tourist! Make sure you read this straight away!
One of my top Delhi Travel Tips, along with getting a sim card in Delhi Airport, is to book on a tour so you can learn about the city with a local, these are the best Delhi Day Tours to book online and it will give you one less thing to think about when you arrive if you book in advance:
For more of my India posts and to help you plan your India trip further, have a look at: