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How to get Mobile internet in India: What is the best option?

Learn about the options you have to get internet in India, one of the most fascinating and exotic countries in the world.

28 października, 2023

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Here we will explain in detail everything you need to get cellular internet in India. This way, you can find that restaurant someone recommended to you, search for addresses on Google Maps, get transportation on the streets of Delhi, or chat with your loved ones on WhatsApp. We want to point out that our first recommendation is the Holafly virtual SIM card for India.  

Among the best tourist destinations in the world is India. A republic with more than 1.3 billion inhabitants, it is the second most populated country in the world. Therefore, due to its great extension, it has become a land of diversity and excitement. You can choose between the mountains of the Himalayas, deserts, heavenly beaches in Kerala, ancient cities like Varanasi, the breathtaking presence of the Taj Mahal, etc.

These are wonders that you’ll like to show your loved ones. However, to do so, you need to be connected to the internet. Otherwise, how will you send your photos, transmit the sounds of India in voice messages or upload photos of your visits to Facebook or Instagram? Keep reading to find out more!

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Options to get internet in India

There are several different alternatives to always stay connected to the internet when you travel to India. So, there are factors you need to consider, such as price, convenience, and security.

Virtual SIM for India

international travel esim for india

The Holafly virtual data SIM card for India is our top choice. Through their website, you can buy a card for 15 days with 6 GB of data 4G at USD 44. You’ll receive your card immediately by email after payment. This is a safe, fast service that provides you with clear instructions so that nothing fails when connecting. 

What are the advantages of the Holafly virtual SIM?

  • A user-friendly system. You buy it before you begin your trip in a few clicks. This way, you avoid looking for providers that don’t give you any confidence in unknown languages ​and wasting your time once you arrive at your destination. 
  • Instant delivery. As we’ve mentioned, the virtual SIM card arrives immediately on your email after payment.
  • 24-hour tech support. You have 24-hour customer service available in English via email, chat, or WhatsApp. You’ll never feel alone! 
  • You keep your WhatsApp number. Unlike the SIMs that people buy in India, Holafly keeps your WhatsApp number so that you can stay in touch with your loved ones through text messages.

How it works

  • When you have landed, activate your Holafly virtual data card on your smartphone.  
  • Make sure your cellphone is connected to the Airtel network, the best in India and the one that Holafly will link to. 
  • You’re ready to get internet in India. Please note that coverage with this network is not available in Diskit, Gulmarg, Jammu, Kargil, Kashmir, Katra, Leh, Plan Bandipora, and Srinagar.

SIM cards from local companies in India

If you decide to keep patience at your side and buy a chip for your cellphone when you arrive in India, it’s best to make a comparison of the benefits and coverage of each of the providers. There are more operators than you imagine.

Another problem is the language barrier. It may be easy to buy a data card (we recommend that you do it at official stores to avoid scams), but it won’t be so easy to activate it. Moreover, no one will help you in English.

Roaming is an expensive choice.

International roaming is a system whereby your domestic carrier, which doesn’t provide service in India, reaches an agreement with a local provider, at your destination, so that their customers continue to get coverage there. So far, so good. You just have to activate roaming in India and enjoy, at least until you get the bill. 

When you return to your home country, you’ll find yourself with a shocking bill from your provider company. An invoice that, surely, you won’t easily forget. Therefore, it’s important that you know the rates that the operator charges.  

If you are from the USA and have signed a contract with AT&T, you can get Internet for $2.05/MB with their per-per-use service. They also offer a daily plan called International Day Pass, which costs $10 per day, and includes unlimited data, minutes, and calls.

att roaming india
AT&T

On the other hand, T-Mobile is another American cellular operator. Their customers will be able to use international roaming to India, depending on their current plan. In other words, customers with a Global Plan will be able to enjoy roaming during their trip at no extra cost. However, those with any other plan will have to pay the standard price, which is $15 per MB.

T-mobile roaming india
Source: Ars Technica.

With O2 UK, you can get internet in India at $7.20/MB. They also offer several data packages for their users, such as 100 MB for $26, 500 MB for $45, and 1 GB for $65.

O2 Roaming India
Source: Daily Express.

In the case of Vodafone, users will be able to activate their roaming to India easily through their app. It costs $6 per day to use customer’s regular data, minutes, and texts that come included in their plan.

vodafone
Source: Zonamovilidad.es

Pocket WiFi to get internet in India

Another of the most popular cellular connectivity options when you want to remain online abroad is Pocket WiFi, a small pocket router that provides you with a stable network. Among the advantages of this device are connectivity, the possibility of sharing the internet with other devices, and that you can rent them before leaving on a trip with companies such as WifiBox, and having everything under control when you land.

But they also have several downsides. Among them is the need to always carry the Pocket WiFi with you fully charged. Without the device nearby, forget about connecting to the internet. Not to mention what the loss or theft of the device can mean. The economic impact that you’ll experience at the end of your trip will make you think twice when choosing this alternative to stay connected on your next trip. 

You can rent a portable WiFi in India with rates of 1 GB per day at maximum speed from $6.99/day. Once you use the data, you’ll continue browsing but at a reduced speed. 

Other possibilities to rent or even buy a Pocket WiFi are through Travelerswifi and Cello Mobile. In both cases, carefully review the terms and conditions of receipt or delivery because they may come along with additional expenses. 

Free WiFi in India

Connecting to the internet for free in India is not an easy task. When you find a café or restaurant to connect to the internet, the speed is so low and so crowded that you won’t be able to check Facebook or upload a photo to Instagram. 

Also, forget about security. We always recommend not using these open networks on websites where you need to provide your password, let alone check or carry out banking transactions. You never know who can steal your personal or financial information. Therefore, the best thing is to have an internet connection that ensures that your data will be protected. 

In case you still want to search for free WiFi like someone who goes hunting, you can use sites like Wi-Fi Space where you locate the open hotspots around not only you but also those in the geographical area you choose.

Another possibility is Google Station, which offers coverage in 400 connection spots in the country, especially train stations, so you can connect or download documents or videos to watch during your trip. A network that is growing day by day in India, where there are already 500 more free access spots planned through the contract agreement between Google and Cisco.

Internet coverage in India

As we have already told you, there are many providers, and the coverage varies depending on the provider. The company that has the best coverage is Airtel, the operator used by the Holafly virtual SIM card for India. Its 4G network reaches large cities and coastal areas. 

Another big provider is Jio, a powerful carrier that extends its network throughout most of India. You can also find cellphone companies such as Ideas Cellular and Vodafone. However, both have less coverage than the previous ones, and local operators are limited to small areas of India.

Is my cellphone compatible with internet networks in India?

It’s important that before embarking on an adventure you check that your cellphone will work in this country. For that, you need to find out if your smartphone is compatible with the frequency bands that operate in this country. 

Here you can see all the frequency bands that work for 4G, 3G, and 2G technology. 

4G B1 (2100), B3 (1800), B5 (850), B8 (900), B40 (TDD 2300), B41 (TDD 2500)

3G B1 (2100), B8 (900)

2G B3 (1800), B8 (900)

If you’re interested in checking the bands of each of the providers that operate in India, you can do so in Kimovil by entering the Tools / Check Frequencies section. You can also search by the brand and model of the smartphone, which saves you from looking for information among lost catalogs and websites.

Our recommendation

We already told you that our winning option is the Holafly virtual card. Why? Here are five reasons why it will become your favorite choice to stay connected on your trip to India. 

Holafly virtual SIM card/ Roaming

  • A small effort saves you a lot. You may believe that changing your card seems more bothersome than simply calling your provider to activate roaming. However, your pocket will appreciate it if you spend five minutes doing it. With Holafly prepaid cards for India, you know in advance how much you spend. No clowning around.

Holafly virtual SIM/ Pocket WiFi

  • The price does matter. With Pocket WiFi, you pay $6.99 for 1 GB per day, but with Holafly, you can browse for just over $3/day with 4 GB at 4G speed.
  • You finish your trip, and no surprise, phone bills will be waiting for you. Once you’re back home, all you have to do is change the Holafly virtual SIM for the one that you use with your local operator. And that’s it. If the option is a Pocket WiFi, you have no choice but to worry about taking care of it during the trip so that it doesn’t deteriorate or you don’t lose it, and return it upon arrival to avoid incurring more expenses.

Holafly virtual SIM /local SIM

  • With Holafly, you do everything before leaving your country. This way, you make sure that you’ll have a guaranteed connection as soon as you land. Moreover, if you experience any problems, you can contact 24-hour customer service in English. In the case of choosing a local SIM, you’ll have to be careful with scams. Remember that activation is not immediate and that if something happens with the card, all the available service will be in Hindi. 

Are you clear about which option to choose to get internet in India? We hope we have been able to help you.