If you're planning a trip to India, a top tip for avoiding airport queues and getting out of the terminal quicker is to purchase your Indian local travel SIM card before you travel.
Until recently, there weren't many options for purchasing an India travel SIM before you left Australia. However, today we are looking at five of the best companies that offer such a service, allowing you one less thing to worry about.
While India has some of the cheapest telco providers in the world, purchasing a SIM card before you leave may be more expensive, but will definitely speed up arrival and make your trip more enjoyable.
You won't have to wait around at the airport, trying to change your rupees to purchase a SIM card on arrival, plus you won't have to worry about topping it up or worrying about how much data you actually got versus what was paid for.
Today, we'll be looking at the best India travel sim cards that you can purchase in Australia with fast free shipping to your door within a matter of days.
Best India Travel Sim Card
SIM corner is one of the best places to purchase SIM cards at an affordable price. If you're travelling overseas, then SIM corner can provide SIM cards that are activated on arrival for various countries such as India.
Related: Read our full review.
They also offer SIM cards that provide coverage in certain regions such as North America, Europe, and even South America too.
You simply search for the country that you're visiting on the website (i.e. India), you choose the SIM card duration that you want, whether that is 8 or 15 days.
Each sim card provides 4GB of data which isn't a lot compared to Australia but it will be sufficient for travelling and sightseeing. Use the wireless in the hotel.
The arrival date they request is the date you'll land in India, or the day you wish to start using the sim card from.
They don't require any identification, there's no commitments and once the sim card is finished you can simply throw it away.
You can purchase with PayPal only. However, they accept credit card payments through this platform. Shipping is five to six working days with the free shipping and one to three working days with the express shipping.
You then travel to your destination and simply insert the SIM card into your phone and you switch on to activate the sim card.
If you need to top up on, unfortunately most of their SIM cards do not offer this functionality. So if you think you will need more data, then you should purchase multiple SIM cards. i.e. Buy 2 and you'll get 8GB, then change the start dates.
SIM corner is one of the cheapest providers, and it is also one of the most well known companies in Australia and around the world for providing SIM cards.
They are our #1 go to and I've ordered many sims through their site.
Sims direct is another provider that we recommend when it comes to purchasing a SIM card for India. Their prices are a little bit more expensive.
However, you get a 15 day SIM card with six gigabytes of data for $55 the data speed with their SIM card is 4G and it allows for hotspotting and tethering.
The SIM card comes in three sizes, a nano SIM, micro and standard, and you can simply break off depending on the size of SIM card that you need.
The SIM card works in 18 countries, across Asia, including India plus countries such as China, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.
Similar to other Simcorner, you do not need to provide any identification, and the SIM card will work as soon as you arrive in your destination by simply plugging it into your phone and turning the mobile data roaming on.
They offer payments via Paypal although you can pay with your credit/debit cards via this platform and allows for faster dispatch.
Shipping is a lot faster with Sims direct and if you purchase within a certain time frame, chances are it will be delivered within 48 hours.
They currently offer a discount code of 10% off should you need to purchase multiple SIM cards.
If you want to get off the plane and have a fully activated sim card rather than purchasing locally, a prepaid India SIM card is probably the best option for you.
Prepaid Sims is another company that offers India SIM cards on an eight day or 15 day package with four gigabytes of ultra fast 4G data.
You can also hotspot and tether with this SIM card, and it also includes a multi SIM for nano, micro and SD, depending on your cellular device. Similar to the other providers.
They offer a self activating plug and play SIM card, and the coverage is valid in 18 countries across Asia, including India.
Calls are not included in this SIM card, so you will need to use a platform such as WhatsApp or line to call your contacts. They offer various delivery services including standard delivery and express post.
If you need your SIM card in the next few business days, they recommend that you purchase the express post option.
The pricing for this SIM card is $34 for an eight day plan, which is a little bit more expensive than SIM corner. However, you do get access to the other 17 countries as part of the deal.
TravelSIM is another option, trusted by over 100,000 Australian travellers and allows you to receive calls for free in 180 countries, including India.
While their fees for calling and data are lot more expensive than other providers mentioned today. this is the number one SIM card should you want to provide your loved ones with a way to contact you for free when you're away.
While many are focused on data, if you just need a way for people to contact you, then the TravelSim seems like the obvious choice.
TravelSim costs $25 and that includes $25 of overseas credit, which you can use for data, talking and texting. If you are travelling with a companion who also has a travel SIM, you can send SMS messages to each other for free.
The coverage in India is widespread.
If you're looking for lots of data, then TravelSim is not for you. Their data rates are 10cents per megabite which means 1GB of data would cost you $100.
With those data rates, you may quickly run out of your allowance so the SIM is a good option for receiving calls while travelling and also calling or messaging other people affordably. It's free to msg other people with TravelSims. It is not advisable for excessive data use.
You can purchase with PayPal as well as credit cards, including MasterCard, visa, and American express.
Shipping is fairly quick and you can recharge your SIM card via their website at any time. They have a support office in Australia and you can contact them any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also use their SMS support desk as well.
One of the interesting features with travel SIM is you can also set it up as an Australian SIM card should you wish, and you can get a monthly plan starting at $30 per month, which he uses the Optus 4G network.
That means when you go travelling, you don't need to change your SIM card. It will just start working overseas with your travel SIM credit.
This is quite handy for people who maybe do a lot of travelling and do not want to constantly swap SIM cards every time.
5. Klook India Sim Card
Klook is a platform for booking activities in countries such as India. They also sell sim cards such as their 4G India Sim Card. *If you're flying via Bangkok or other Asian cities you can often collect an Indian sim card, after placing an order online.
A 10 day sim card, with 5GB of 4G data, dropping down to unlimited 128kbps data once consumed can be purchased for $15.
This is by far the cheapest option however coverage is limited to the following areas; Mumbai, New Delhi, Panjab, Rajasthan (Jaipur), Uttar Pradesh West, Uttar Pradesh East, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Kolkata.
The sim card is provided by Dtac, which is a Thailand company and you'll need your passport to redeem at the Klook service desk in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi rail link or in Siam Center in the city.
Unlike some other sim cards here you can extend your data by calling the helpdesk however it's a Thai company and international credit cards could be problematic.
How To Use Prepaid Travel Sim?
Gone are the days of having to call up a call centre and activate your travel sim. Most sim cards are self activating once inserted into your phone.
Simply turn off your phone. Remove the current sim card and replace with the travel sim card. You may need to break your sim card from the plastic to match the existing sim. Usually this is Standard, Micro or Nano sim. Newer phones are almost always nano sims.
Turn the phone on, enable data roaming. Restart the phone. Your device should connect to the new network. If it doesn't then you will need to manually enter APN settings.
Your sim card provider will provide instructions on how to do this.
Make Sure Your Phone Is Unlocked
Some customers have issues trying to use a travel sim card because they bought a phone locked to another network. This is common in phones that are purchased under a 'leasing' agreement, where you don't actually own the phone.
This is to stop you selling your phone to someone else and defaulting on your contract with your telecommunications provider. If you're unsure if your phone is locked then you should visit the retail store for your telco and ask, or call the help desk.
Most phones that are on a contract but you're paying to own the phone will not be locked and can be used with travel sims. In Australia it's rare for phones to be locked (with the exception of leasing). If in doubt, try a friends sim card from a different network in your phone before buying your travel sim card. If it works then you're good to go.
It's unlikely you'll get a refund if your phone is locked and the sim doesn't work so ensure you're fully sure it will work before purchasing. Also it's nearly impossible to unlock newer phones while on the road so unlock it before leaving the country.
All five recommendations above are good options when it comes to purchasing a prepaid travel sim card for India. After using all five options, we recommend checking out Simcorner for the best prices, if you're just looking for an India only sim card. If you need other countries then consider Simsdirect or PrepaidSims.
Rhys is a successful entrepreneur with a PHD from University Colleague London with a strong interest in product reviews, blogging and traveling. Based in Melbourne, he loves to write about electronics, tech and travel.