Tourist SIM Card on Arrival

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#1 Feb 15th, 2018, 15:44
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  • kannan84 is offline
#1
After hearing about the difficulty in getting a local SIM card I thought of surviving my first week in Delhi with no or minimal connectivity but later on I came across an article about being issued a Tourist SIM card in a welcome pack at the airport.

Having never once set foot in India (until next month...), I'd like to know:

- where should I go about getting this free welcome pack and its crucial SIM card?
- what are the 3G / 4G bands used in India? Certain phones might not support those...
- any hassle to load up the sim card? I guess look for a telco shop and wander in..
#2 Feb 15th, 2018, 17:34
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  • nycank is offline
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by kannan84 View Post After hearing about the difficulty in getting a local SIM card I thought of surviving my first week in Delhi with no or minimal connectivity but later on I came across an article about being issued a Tourist SIM card in a welcome pack at the airport.

Having never once set foot in India (until next month...), I'd like to know:

- where should I go about getting this free welcome pack and its crucial SIM card?
- what are the 3G / 4G bands used in India? Certain phones might not support those...
- any hassle to load up the sim card? I guess look for a telco shop and wander in..

The free SIM card is no longer to be seen (As of yesterday) at the Delhi Arrivals.
BSNL. The provider, their stall which was to the extreme left after exiting the Customs was closed.

The bands are as follows:

Quote:
2G : GSM 900 MHz, GSM 1800 MHz.

3G : WCDMA/HSPA/UMTS 2100 MHz

4G : TD-LTE 2300 MHz, which is BAND 40.
GSMArena has the following information.

After you exit customs: To your 11 O'clock would be an Airtel Kiosk. Show him the Packages below.

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They might charge you more for SIM etc. but, their SIM gets activated in few hours.

As it stands, these are the best rates. They beat even SingTel's S$15/5day/150GB
#3 Feb 15th, 2018, 18:51
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#3
Wow that's amazing!

I will be travelling Mainly in HP.
Does Airtel cover HP or which provider is best for HP?

Not travelling until September so will of course re-check just before my departure.

Thanks
#4 Feb 15th, 2018, 19:09
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieUK View Post Wow that's amazing!

I will be travelling Mainly in HP.
Does Airtel cover HP or which provider is best for HP?

Not travelling until September so will of course re-check just before my departure.

Thanks
Yes, Airtel is in HP. As to which provider is best, you have to check the celltowers from Opensignal and decide. Airtel worked for me in 2015 in Shimla.

As to Plans, packages and promotions, you'll have to check in September as these keep changing.
#5 Feb 16th, 2018, 05:41
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycank View Post The bands are as follows:
Incomplete info. TD-LTE band 40 is only for Airtel and Jio. Vodafone uses FD-LTE on Band 3 (1800MHz), which is much more likely to be supported by US/European cell phones. (Jio uses several bands, varying by region, I can't keep track.)

2G (the horror!) and 3G are standard across providers.
#6 Feb 16th, 2018, 18:05
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#6
Thanks for the pricing and band details

Are they fine with selling those sim cards to tourists? Or do I have to go through some odd application process that requires a local Indian phone number? The latter is what many tourism writers/blogs still state as fact on their websites.
#7 Feb 16th, 2018, 20:08
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieUK View Post Wow that's amazing!

I will be travelling Mainly in HP.
Does Airtel cover HP or which provider is best for HP?

Not travelling until September so will of course re-check just before my departure.

Thanks
Airtel works fine in HP.
#8 Feb 17th, 2018, 00:03
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Have used both Airtel and Vodafone happily on Amrikan phone..
#9 Feb 17th, 2018, 03:45
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Originally Posted by edwardseco View Post Have used both Airtel and Vodafone happily on Amrikan phone..
My post was about 4G-LTE, not about happiness in general.

Not all phones support all LTE bands. Commonly used US LTE bands are not the same as commonly used non-US LTE bands. However, a premium US phone such as a Samsung S8 or latest iPhone will support all the Indian LTE bands. So it's partly a matter of how much you paid for your phone, not just whether it is from the US.

The 2300 MHz band (#40) used by Airtel is a Chinese band (uses TD-LTE, a different technology) and is not widely supported by US phones, although of course that is changing as already stated.
#10 Feb 17th, 2018, 10:43
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My post is about the OP numero uno. My people use the latest Apple monetary extraction indeed. However, I use a less expensive toy a Korean Note 3, doesn't catch on fire and has easily replacable batteries for the Apple fetishists out there. However, I wish all happiness..
#11 Feb 18th, 2018, 06:33
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#11
I'm using a very low priced Chinese superphone that's also sold in India so no problems radio frequency wise. It's a whopping 6.44 inch monstrosity and for the price of one Apple money sink you could have 5 of these XiaoMi phones.

I thought the Chinese firmware would be less than optimal but to my surprise it's actually super good. And the hardware is blazing fast. It never overheats too, unlike the Samsung's I used to have. What's up with Samsung and overheating?
#12 Feb 18th, 2018, 06:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kannan84 View Post I'm using a very low priced Chinese superphone that's also sold in India so no problems radio frequency wise.
First, some Chinese phones sold in China support TD-LTE Band 41, which is the most common Chinese band, but not 40. Second, most phones come in multiple versions that have the same name, so 'also sold in India' doesn't guarantee that it is exactly the same phone as far as LTE bands are concerned.

If you bought your phone in SG, Band 40 is not used in SG while band 3 is used by SK Telecom. So your phone likely supports Band 3, and may or may not support band 40.

All you need to do is look on the internet for the LTE capabilities of your exact phone, i.e. not "Xiaomi Redmi Note 5" but "Xiaomi MZB5917SG".
#13 Feb 18th, 2018, 09:59
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#13
Yes my extremely enormous brick does support Band 3 and 40.
#14 Feb 18th, 2018, 15:09
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#14
India is very familiar with Mi phones, although other brands seem to have stolen its limelight in recent years. I was very fond of my m4i, and sad that it came just an inch below the level of the Chennai flood in our house.

As RPG say, though: the devil is in the detail. The exact model number. Which you seem to have sorted out

I wonder (Android buffs?) if there is a way to make a phone reveal its supported channels? There are all kinds of "secret" options in Android. I found one on the net, just a couple a weeks ago, that fixed a bug I was experiencing with a new tablet, and that led me to lists of codes that I had no idea about. (This sort of thing. Google will know about other models)
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
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#15 Feb 18th, 2018, 19:23
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#15
Certain phones do indeed have secret engineering options for displaying diagnostic information but there are also various websites that serve as a database of telcos and the bands they use.

https://willmyphonework.net/

In the past one could install diagnostic apps as well; the one called Elixir 2 is my favorite. It gives all sorts of geeky information about your phone hardware and software. But on my Mi Max 2 it doesn't display the full range of geeky info due to permissions issues.
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