This is one of the most commonly asked questions by a traveller who wishes to travel to India. Smartphones and Internet are the essence of life now, however much you want to deny that! However, the answer to this question is not polar. Let’s first look at what all is there that can go wrong.
Your phone may not work in India with any of the local sim cards unless it is unlocked.
In most of the parts of the world, mobile phones are locked to their telecom carriers and only they (your telecom carrier) can unlock the phones for you. You will not be able to insert another sim or use it with another carrier unless you pass their criteria of getting the phone unlocked and then go through the procedure which can take time and may cost you money of you get it done privately.
Therefore, if you are getting an iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus or 6s Plus from USA with you, make sure it is unlocked beforehand.
Your phone may also not work, even if unlocked unless the GSM bandwidth of your phone is compatible.
In India, the compatible GSM bands are as follows:
2G capabilities: GSM 900, GSM 1800
3G capabilities: UMTS 900, UMTS 2100
4G capabilities: LTE 850 (5), LTE 1800 (3), LTE 2100 (1), LTE 2300 (40), LTE 2500 (41)
Some key points to explain the necessity of this:
- Lower frequency network bands provide higher coverage.
- Higher frequency network bands provide higher data speeds.
- Proper Bands are required for VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) services as it is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals.
Therefore, one needs to identify their home GSM bands and compare it with India’s for a functional phone.
For more information on GSM bands and compatibility visit http://lowestonline.in/different-network-bands-used-india-gsm-hspa-lte/
If you don’t have an unlocked phone, you most definitely cannot have a functioning sim card and therefore no communication. And as for the internet, in India, there are a lot of cafes & restaurants which offer free wifi but the OTP or One Time Password to activate these Wifis is sent to your Indian Sim Card. No Sim card therefore implies no OTP and hence no internet!
Most cities in India also unfortunately, do not have free wifi zones.
Therefore to use internet; you remain confined to your hotel rooms or airports that is if they also do not have the Indian OTP system.
If you have an unlocked phone then you have crossed a hurdle but just to take on another bigger one! Once you have an unlocked phone, you need to apply for a sim card in India.
Due to security reasons, getting a tourists SIM card in India requires foreign tourists to furnish a lot of documents and there are many many steps involved in the process. You have to produce local references, choose plans, provide specific identity certificates and all that jazz.
Read more on this on our blog ‘How to get Travel SIM card in India for calling and data?’
A lot of people end up buying a new phone in India because their phones end up practically becoming useless when they arrive here and realize this. The new phone too will not work in the native country and that is just putting money down the drain.
So, the next logical question to ask is;
Yes, to save your life we do have a pay as you go or a prepaid option in India called TRABUG
Yes, you can get the drums rolling!
Trabug offers a smartphone and a wifi device powered by a 4G connection. It is available on rental basis. Trabug is designed by and for travellers. It is for anyone visiting India. Whether you are travelling for business, leisure or to meet family and friends, Trabug provides a hassle free experience of staying connected in a foreign country.
Trabug is an android smartphone which comes with a 4G SIM card and saves you the hassle of purchasing a SIM card.The phone is delivered at your hotel/hostel and is picked up from whatever place you leave it at. For e.g. It can be ordered in Delhi and left for return at Mumbai.
The phone comes with reliable information about places to visit, eat, stay at, it is like a guide to new places.One can even use personal services on the phone without getting concerned as you get to checkout and wipe off all the personal data once you are ready to return it. One can also access the emergency information about police, hospitals, embassies, based on location anytime anywhere.
The Pocket Wifi Device
This is a small convenient pocket sized device that you can rent on daily basis. The device gives you access to high speed internet (4G) and lets you connect upto 10 devices. It is handy and lasts upto 6 hours after 1 full charge. It can be charged again using a regular USB android cord. It comes with a companion app.
Trabug gives you a lot of options of data/pricing plans to choose from.
For pricing, plans and more information; visit https://www.trabug.com/pricing/
Trabug has got a lot of great reviews from customers who have used it during their trip to India. Read them all here.. http://www.facebook.com/hellotrabug/reviews