Home Asia How to Get a Sim Card in Delhi Airport! Buying a Sim Card in India!

How to Get a Sim Card in Delhi Airport! Buying a Sim Card in India!

by TheWanderingQuinn

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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. Well, if you fly into Delhi Airport anyway, because you can buy a sim card in Delhi Airport in a matter of minutes with 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 3 other ways to get a sim card in India as a tourist!

Sim Card in Delhi Airport

airtel prepaid sim card Delhi Airport

Keep reading for how to get a sim card in Delhi Airport!

Airtel Store in Delhi Airport Location

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:

Sim card in Delhi Airport, Airtel store Delhi Airport

Sim card in Delhi Airport, Costa Coffee Delhi Airport


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:

Sim card in Delhi Airport, SBI Delhi Airport

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

This means no matter if you are in India for 2 weeks or 2 months, this sim card will last you the whole duration of your India trip.

**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!**


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Get a free quote here while you’re thinking about it!


sim card in delhi airport, airtel prepaid

2 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! If you are on a contract in your home country, check with your network provider if your phone is locked or unlocked before you travel to India.
Tep Wireless

2 – MAKE SURE YOU COUNT YOUR CHANGE and do not get shortchanged!

I’m telling you this again, the men that work on at the Airtel Shop in Delhi Airport seem to do this to everyone, everytime, from what people have told me and they did it to me!

They give you a lot of notes which looks like the right change but isn’t, 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.

Delhi Airport Free Sim Card

In addition, 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.



How else can 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 which is why I really recommend getting a sim card in Delhi Airport, even if the queue is long and it’s late!

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 (although it doesn’t always work).

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 car park 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!

prepaid taxi delhi airport sim card in india

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:

 



 

 

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18 comments

Tony L January 5, 2020 - 3:43 pm

05/01/2020 Airtel guy tried to short change us by 200 INR. Thanks to your advice we checked our change.

Reply
TheWanderingQuinn January 7, 2020 - 9:00 am

That’s not good to hear but I’m so glad my post helped you not get shortchanged! Thanks for letting me know!

Reply
Lindsey January 13, 2020 - 12:49 pm

Really useful post thanks. Did you have to have your phone unblocked before travelling for the sim card to work? Do many places have wifi in New Delhi?

Reply
TheWanderingQuinn February 3, 2020 - 9:29 am

Hello, yes you do need an unlocked phone in order for the sim card to work, which is the case everywhere. Yes a lot of places have wifi though, all hotels and restaurants and cafes do in Delhi and all over India really.
Or you can look into a wifi device like the TEP one I recommend in this post so you can connect to wifi like that 🙂

Reply
Betty January 17, 2020 - 8:13 pm

Great details. Thanks so much. This is the first site I found with such details and current information for 2020.. Just last month experienced arriving in Jakarta at 2AM with no SIM card purchase available, pick-up ride didn’t show up, so I had no phone!!!! Did survive, but didn’t need that much drama being jet lagged!!!! So, I’m looking forward to smooth sailing upon arrival in Delhi around midnight!

Reply
TheWanderingQuinn February 3, 2020 - 9:21 am

Thank you Betty, I’m glad you found it useful, there is nothing worse than no internet these days, although this sim takes a few hours to work. I hope it goes well for you!

Reply
Barbara January 23, 2020 - 8:14 pm

Do you know if the shop is open at night? I will travel in february 2020 and I will be arriving to Delhi aftern 01am.
In november 2018, I got the sim card without any trouble. Although, it took almost a day to get the service.

Reply
TheWanderingQuinn February 9, 2020 - 12:47 pm

Sorry for the late reply. I was waiting until I went to Delhi airport again to ask. I asked them and they are open 24hours so you should have no problem! 🙂

Reply
Colin M January 30, 2020 - 6:43 pm

We are leaving for our India trip in just a week and this blog post has been so helpful! We will be making a connection to Vizag in Delhi airport. From my understanding we would have to exit the secure area to purchase this SIM card, then go through the security line again to catch our flight to Vizag. Is this correct?

Reply
TheWanderingQuinn February 3, 2020 - 9:19 am

Hello, Yes this is right, it is in arrivals after baggage claim so you might not be able to if you’re just connecting. Where do you fly to next as it seems like a few airports offer sim cards in arrivals in Indian airports now!

Reply
Colin M February 5, 2020 - 2:55 am

We will be going to Visakhapatnam. But we have a 13 hour layover in Delhi first! We should have plenty of time to purchase this SIM card

Reply
TheWanderingQuinn February 3, 2020 - 9:19 am

Also, I’m very pleased to hear it has been helpful! Enjoy your time in India!

Reply
C February 1, 2020 - 4:50 am

Hi! How did you activate your sim card? Having a hard time doing so and it says we need to load it first?

Reply
TheWanderingQuinn February 3, 2020 - 9:18 am

Sorry I’ve just seen this, is it working now? It should work after a few hours and of turning your phone off and on!

Reply
DaisyTells February 13, 2020 - 11:47 am

Glad your post gives a heads up on their short changing people. They sold me a faulty sim that never worked in the allocated slot and the big boss just walked away and left me once he had got my money. Another worker at least took a look at it, and eventually it had to be put in slot 2, which is only for voice and sms, no data. I was without data for days until I went to Airtel in Jaipur who confirmed the sim was faulty and I had to buy another one.
Tried to take the faulty sim back on my way back through Delhi, told that you cannot enter arrivals area so this kiosk is totally protected from anyone confronting them unless they are re-entering Delhi from overseas. Yes, it is a disrespectful and scamming low life behaviour and if you get a functional sim, lucky you. No guarantee with this mob.

Reply
Max February 20, 2020 - 8:02 am

Thank you for the note on the EXACT CHANGE! It in both places the Airtel and pre-paid taxi kiosks they tried to trick me. Airtel try to keep extra 500 (and did it very professionally I shall say!!!) while the pre-paid taxi cashier tried to keep another 200.
These pathetic people shall not represent their country!
I could not find free SIM for e-visa holders. One person advised they used to provide but stopped (government kiosk) and pointed out to Ashok travel (run by government I understand) to try that place too but there was no one in that kiosk.
And thank you for your overall review!

Reply
Ramon March 4, 2020 - 9:52 pm

Awesome tip regarding the SIM card for India: 10 euro for 1.5 gig per day!!!! I just returned from india and had 4G all the way!

Reply
TheWanderingQuinn March 15, 2020 - 1:23 pm

Good to hear! It’s such great value isn’t it!!

Reply

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