Which Device To Take To India?

#1 Nov 30th, 2014, 09:10
Join Date:
Nov 2010
  • CAP is offline
I'll be in Chennai and Kolkata for about 2 months, and need to decide on SIMs, phone service provider, and device. Here's the hardware I currently have available . .
- 3 year old basic Indian Nokia phone that I previously had an Airtel account with.
- Unlocked Samsung Galaxy 4G smartphone.
- Unlocked Samsung Galaxy 4G 8" tablet.

Domestic phone/SMS is most important. But mobile internet access would be nice. The device pros and cons are; the tablet has WiFi, but I'm not sure how much I can depend on finding WiFi spots, and I'd rather not carry the Tab with me all of the time. The old Nokia phone served me well in WB 3 years ago, but I don't know if it is obsolete now. And the smartphone is my daily USA phone which is good for light internet, but less 'computery' than the tablet. So I might need to do 2 separate SIMs. Also, the cost and ease of obtaining SIMs and plans as a foreign tourist probably matters.

Any recommendations would be most appreciated. Thanks!
#2 Nov 30th, 2014, 09:25
Join Date:
Aug 2013
Himachal, India
  • inditramp is offline


Buying a Prepaid SIM card in India as a foreigner

I see that you are from the US, make sure your phone / tablet supports GSM 900/ 1800 MHz (I believe most networks in US are CDMA as opposed to europe, but I may be wrong there)

Documentation needed
  1. 2 color passport photographs of yourself
  2. A photocopy of the personal details page of your passport.
  3. A photocopy of your Indian visa.
  4. A photocopy of the proof of your home address.
  5. Proof of where you will be staying in India. A letter from your hotel confirming that you are a guest will suffice.

Activation time 24 hours to 72 hours to indefinite

If you are staying with an Indian friend, it is easiest if he can get a SIM for you. That way you have a working SIM when you touch down.

P.S. I would suggest taking an el' cheapo Nokia phone and your smart phone. The Nokia for travel and smart phone for photographs / whatsapp and what not.
3G coverage in Chennai and Kolkatta is good, you should have no problems. Make sure to get a limited data plan (usually restricted to 2GB / 3GB) as opposed to an unlimited usage data plan. Telecom companies tend to throttle speed on unlimited data plans.

Costs are approximately
SIM acquisition under Rs. 500 appox.
2GB data pack Rs. 500 appox.
Rs. 1.5 / minute for outgoing local calls.
International SMS Rs. 5.
International calling is expensive, usually 10Rs / minute. So get a VOIP plan, that you can use if your hotel / home has WIFI. Voipraider has free US calling.

I hope this helps.
"I listen to the tramp, tramp of my feet, and wonder where I was going, and why I was going."
Last edited by inditramp; Nov 30th, 2014 at 09:35.. Reason: added costs
#3 Nov 30th, 2014, 11:10
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Land that shakes and bakes.
  • edwardseco is offline
Use Wifi to get up your Skype and call free with video. Made a huge impression..
#4 Dec 1st, 2014, 14:15
Join Date:
Dec 2007
London, UK
  • The_Londoner is offline
You really don't need two SIMs, you're planning to take Galaxy Smartphone and 3G plans in India are relatively cheap so use that to tether internet access to your Tablet.
Idle mind is a Devil's workshop.

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