Tourist Perspective of the Best SIM Cards for Calling and Data in India

In India, tourists can choose from several reliable SIM cards for calling and data services. Major operators like Airtel, Jio, Vi, and BSNL offer good network coverage, affordable data plans, and competitive call rates, making it convenient for tourists to stay connected and navigate the country during their travels.

here is a table comparing the best SIM cards for calling and data in India from a tourist perspective:

SIM Card Operator Coverage Data Plans Price Other Features





Starting from \$10

4G, unlimited calling, international roaming


Reliance Jio



Starting from \$5

4G, unlimited calling, international roaming


Vodafone Idea (Vi)



Starting from \$10

4G, unlimited calling, international roaming


Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited



Starting from \$5

4G, unlimited calling, national roaming

Here's a tourist perspective on some of the best SIM cards for calling and data in India:

  • Bharti Airtel

    Bharti Airtel

Airtel is one of India's largest and most popular telecom providers. They have extensive network coverage in urban and rural areas, making it a great option for tourists travelling across the country. Airtel offers various prepaid plans with good data allowances and competitive call rates.

  • Airtel 4g Router

    Airtel 4g Router

Bharti Airtel, India's top telecom operator, has announced a significant price cut on its 4G Home Wi-Fi router. This wireless router can connect up to 32 devices simultaneously, providing seamless internet access and flexibility to stay connected anytime, anywhere.

  • Airtel SIM Card

    Airtel SIM Card

Its SIM card offers reliable network coverage, competitive data plans, and affordable call rates. With widespread availability and various services, Airtel SIM cards cater to the diverse needs of customers across the country.

  • Services that Bharti Airtel offer in India

    Services that Bharti Airtel offer in India

Bharti Airtel is a leading telecommunications company in India, offering a comprehensive range of services to its customers. 

These services include mobile voice and data plans, high-speed home broadband, DTH satellite TV, enterprise solutions, Airtel Payments Bank, a rewards program (Airtel Thanks), IoT solutions, Airtel Xstream entertainment platform, and international roaming services. 

  • Vodafone Idea (Vi)

    Vodafone Idea

It is the result of the merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, combining their operations to create a unified entity. Vi is known for its network coverage, serving a large customer base across India. They have decent network coverage and offer competitive prepaid plans with data and calling benefits.

  • Vodafone SIM Card

    Vodafone SIM Card

Vodafone Idea Limited, commonly known as Vodafone, is one of India's major telecom operators. Vodafone provides mobile voice and data services, international roaming options, and various data plans to cater to different user needs. 

Vodafone was a significant player in the Indian telecom market, serving millions of subscribers with its network coverage and services.

  • Validity for Vodafone SIM Card

The validity of a Vodafone Idea SIM card in India typically depends on the type of prepaid plan you choose. The validity period starts from the day of activation or the date of the last recharge.

Validity for Vodafone SIM Card

To keep your Vodafone Idea SIM card active, you need to ensure that you recharge it before the validity expires. If you fail to recharge within the grace period after the validity ends, your SIM card may get deactivated, and you might lose your phone number.

  • Vodafone Documentation Requirements

To purchase a SIM card in India, tourists are typically required to provide valid identification documents, such as a passport and visa. These documents are part of the government's Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines to prevent misuse of mobile connections and ensure security.

Vodafone Documentation Requirements

Additionally, some operators may ask for address proof, like a hotel booking confirmation. Once you provide the necessary documents, the SIM card can be activated, allowing you to use mobile services during your stay in India.

  • Vodafone 5g router

5G technology offers significantly faster internet speeds and lower latency compared to 4G, and it is expected to revolutionise mobile communications and data connectivity. However, the deployment of 5G networks in India was still in its early stages, and the government was yet to conduct spectrum auctions for 5G frequencies.

Vodafone 5g router

  • Reliance Jio

Reliance Jio shook up the Indian telecom market when it was launched and quickly became popular due to its affordable data plans and extensive 4G coverage. They offer some of the best data packages, making it a favourite among tourists who require a lot of internet usage.

Reliance Jio

  • Jio Wireless Wifi

Jio Wireless WiFi, also known as JioFi, is a portable wireless router offered by Reliance Jio in India. It allows users to create their own personal Wi-Fi hotspot using Jio's 4G network. With JioFi, multiple devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets can connect to the internet simultaneously.

Jio Wireless Wifi

  • Reliance Jio 5g

Reliance Jio, a major telecom operator in India, had announced plans to introduce 5G services in the country. Jio's 5G network was expected to offer significantly faster internet speeds and lower latency, promising an enhanced mobile experience for users. 

Reliance Jio 5g

The introduction of Jio 5G was anticipated to intensify competition and accelerate the adoption of 5G technology in India. For the latest updates on Jio 5G, it is advisable to check reliable sources and official announcements from Reliance Jio.

  • Benefits of Reliance Jio 5g

With significantly faster internet speeds and lower latency, Jio 5G promises to offer an enhanced mobile experience, enabling smoother video streaming, faster downloads, and seamless gaming. 

The advanced 5G technology is expected to support a massive number of connected devices, facilitating the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. Jio's entry into the 5G market is likely to intensify competition.

Benefits of Reliance Jio 5g

  • BSNL

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is a government-owned telecom operator in India. It may not have the same 4G speeds as private operators, but it has widespread coverage, especially in remote areas. BSNL is a reliable option for tourists travelling to less urbanised regions.


India Mobile Network Coverage

Cellular telephone technology has evolved through various generations, each offering unique features and capabilities:

  • 2G (Second Generation)

Introduced in 1992, 2G was the first to use digital encryption for conversations, providing better security. It brought data services and SMS text messaging, but its data transfer rates are slower compared to newer generations.

  • 3G (Third Generation)

Succeeding 2G, 3G offered faster data transfer rates and introduced video calls, making it suitable for modern smartphones that require constant high-speed internet access.

  • 4G (Fourth Generation)

Building upon 3G, 4G provided ultra-broadband internet access for mobile devices. Its high data transfer rates made it ideal for USB wireless modems and even home internet access.

  • 5G (Fifth Generation)

The latest standard, 5G, offers even faster speeds (up to 10x faster than 4G), significantly lower latency (up to 50x lower), and increased capacity, allowing for many more connected devices simultaneously. It promises to unlock new use cases for mobile data and transform various industries.

India Mobile Network Coverage

In summary, each generation of cellular technology has brought significant advancements, from basic voice calls in 2G to the ultra-fast, low-latency capabilities of 5G, revolutionising how we communicate and use mobile data.

e-SIM Prices in India

eSIM, short for embedded SIM, is a virtual SIM card technology available in India. Unlike traditional physical SIM cards, an eSIM is built directly into a compatible device, such as a smartphone, smartwatch, or tablet. 

Users can activate eSIMs by scanning a QR code or receiving an activation link from their mobile network operator. The main advantage of eSIM is its flexibility, as it allows users to switch between different mobile carriers without the need to physically change SIM cards.

  • Here is the price of the eSIM for India:
Data Service Days Price (USD)







Total 6GB-Unlimited



Total 8GB-Unlimited



Total 15GB-Unlimited



The prices are for a single eSIM. You can purchase multiple eSIMs for a single device, but each eSIM will have its own data plan.

The prices are subject to change, so it is always best to check the latest prices before you purchase an eSIM.

What to consider when choosing the Best Mobile SIM Card in India

When choosing the best mobile SIM card in India, there are several important factors to consider. The right SIM card will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some key points to consider:

Network Coverage

Ensure that the SIM card provider has good network coverage in the areas you plan to visit. Major cities and tourist destinations usually have excellent coverage across all major operators, but if you plan to travel to remote or less urbanised areas, check for coverage in those regions.

Data Packages

Look for SIM cards with prepaid plans that offer sufficient data for your internet needs. Consider how much data you are likely to use daily and choose a plan accordingly. India has a rapidly growing internet user base, and data is generally affordable, but having enough data for navigation, social media, and communication is essential.

International Roaming

If you need international roaming services, check if the SIM card you are considering offers this facility. Be aware that international roaming can be expensive, so it's often better to use local data or get a separate international SIM card for such purposes.

Validity and Flexibility

Check the validity period of the SIM card and the prepaid plan. Some plans are valid for a specific number of days or months, and you might need to recharge to extend the validity. Choose a plan that offers flexibility and doesn't expire before your trip ends.

Data Speeds

If high-speed internet is crucial for you, research the 4G coverage and speeds offered by different operators. Some areas may have better 4G coverage and faster speeds than others.

Customer Service

Consider the reputation of the operator's customer service. In case of any issues or queries, it's helpful to have a responsive and helpful customer support team.

Remember that India has a highly competitive telecom market, and there are numerous options available. Take some time to research and compare the various SIM card providers and their offerings to find the one that best suits your needs during your stay in India.

Tourist Guide on selecting the Best SIM Card in India

In this guide, we'll help you navigate through the process of selecting the best SIM card in India. We'll cover essential factors to consider, such as network coverage, data packages, calling rates, and documentation requirements, ensuring you make an informed choice that suits your needs and budget.

Tourist Guide on selecting the Best SIM Card in India

  • Consider your needs

First, determine the primary purpose of the SIM card. If you mainly require it for making calls and sending text messages, a basic and affordable plan should suffice. However, if you depend on data for navigation, internet access, and staying connected, opt for a plan with a sufficient data allowance.

  • Check the coverage

Before choosing a SIM card, ensure that the network operator provides good coverage in the areas you'll be travelling to. You can verify coverage through online maps or seek advice from locals who may have insights into the best networks in specific regions.

  • Compare prices

SIM card prices in India vary depending on the network operator and the type of plan you choose. They generally range from around Rs. 100 to Rs. 500. Take the time to compare prices and features of different plans to find one that fits your budget and requirements.

  • Consider your budget

Set a budget for your SIM card purchase. India offers a wide range of plans catering to different budgets, so you can easily find an option that suits your financial preferences.

  • Look for deals

Be on the lookout for deals and special offers on SIM cards. Shopping around can help you find cost-effective plans, and you may come across attractive deals online or at local travel agencies.

  • Buy your SIM card at the airport

If you're arriving in India by plane, purchasing a SIM card at the airport is a convenient option. However, be aware that airport prices may be slightly higher than elsewhere, so compare with other sources before making a decision.

  • Buy your SIM card from a local store

Alternatively, you can buy a SIM card from a local store, which might offer more competitive prices. While this option could involve some haggling over the price, it often leads to more budget-friendly deals.

By considering your needs, comparing coverage and prices, and being on the lookout for deals, you can select the best SIM card in India that perfectly aligns with your requirements and ensures a seamless communication experience throughout your trip.


FAQs about the best SIM card in India, rewritten as questions and answers:

  • What is the best SIM card plan for tourists in India?

The best SIM card plan for tourists in India depends on your individual needs and preferences. However, some popular options include:

BSNL Guest Premium plan: This plan offers 2 GB of data per day, unlimited voice calling, and national roaming with free 100 SMS per day. The validity of this plan is limited to 15 days.

Reliance Jio: Reliance Jio offers the fastest 4G connectivity in India. They have a variety of plans to choose from, including plans for data only, voice only, and both data and voice.

Airtel: Airtel is another popular option for tourists in India. They offer a wide range of plans, including plans with unlimited data, unlimited voice, and both data and voice.

  • Which SIM card offers the fastest 4G connectivity in India?

Reliance Jio offers the fastest 4G connectivity in India. They have the widest 4G network in the country, and their speeds are consistently faster than other operators.

  • Does the best SIM card in India depend on my location?

Yes, the best SIM card in India can depend on your location. If you are travelling to a remote area, you may need a SIM card from an operator that has good coverage in that area. However, if you are staying in a major city, you will likely have good coverage with any major operator.

  • What are the benefits of using a local SIM card in India?

There are several benefits to using a local SIM card in India, including:

Better connectivity: Local SIM cards often have better connectivity than international SIM cards. This is because local operators have more towers and better infrastructure in India.

Lower prices: Local SIM cards are often much cheaper than international SIM cards. This is because local operators are able to offer lower prices due to economies of scale.

More flexibility: Local SIM cards offer more flexibility than international SIM cards. This is because you can easily top up your balance and change your plan as needed.

  • Which 5G networks are available in India?

Reliance JIO and Airtel have launched their 5G services in some cities of India. However, 5G is still in its early stages of development in India, and it is not yet widely available.