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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 making it easy to get a sim card when you land in Delhi as a tourist to India.
Not flying into Delhi Airport?? Here are 2 other ways to get a sim card in India as a tourist!
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. 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:
There is only one prepaid sim card option in Delhi Airport but that’s ok because it’s a good one.
The India Sim Card deal is:
900Rs / £10.00 / $12.50
1.4gb of data each day which refreshes each day.
Unlimited calls to Indian numbers.
Validity for 82 days.
That’s good and I never usually get through the 1.4gb of data each day even when I’m on my phone all day!
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 nearly happened to me, these men know you are new in India! The ATM will give you either 500Rs notes or 2000Rs so look out for 100Rs change if you give 2x500Rs notes, or 1100Rs 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.
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.
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:
If getting a sim card seems like too hard work, or your phone is locked, get a wifi device like this to keep you connected in India:
For more of my India posts and to help you plan your India trip further, have a look at:
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
JANUARY-MARCH: INDIA FOR MY GROUP TOURS!
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.