Using phones in India


Telecommunication plays a vital role in everyone's life as it keeps you connected. When moving to India, you will definitely want to keep in touch with your family and friends. There are several phone service providers in India with offers at attractive rates. Before you choose a provider, make sure to compare the different offers available in the market.

Although use of landline phones and its subscribers have decreased considerably all over the world, India continues to use landline phones in many cities and towns. Due to the emergence of internet and wireless based technologies, there has been surge in demand for mobile phones, smart phones and tablets.

India is the second largest telecommunication market with 1.053 billion subscribers, as of 31st August 2017. Although the number of mobile phone users is high in major cities and towns, the situation is different in villages. In rural regions, only 36% of the population has access to phone services. However, with the advent of new ‘Digital India’ policy, the situation is likely to improve even in the villages and remotest areas.


Irrespective of the duration of your stay in India, it is always good  to have a fixed landline connection at your place of residence. Some of the major phone service providers in India include names like Airtel, BSNL and MTNL.

You can apply for landline connection either in person or by calling a toll free number. You can also apply online. In any case, you will have to produce your identity card, passport size photos, fa completed application form and proof of address to get the landline connection. Moreover, you will also have to pay a security deposit, and produce a reference letter issued by your home country's embassy or consulate in India.

 Useful links:

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

Mobile phones

Over the years, the telecommunication market of India has expanded significantly. The number of telephone subscribers reached 1,123.96 million and the mobile subscriber base increased to 1,099.51 million at the end of November, 2016. While in major cities the inhabitants enjoy several benefits like free wifi facilities, there still much room for improvement in rural areas.

Note that foreigners can continue using their mobile phones in India provided it is compatible with GSM 900 and 1800 frequencies. Otherwise, they can make a request to their mobile phone service provider in their home country and get their phone unblocked. In some cases international roaming services are also offered, which can be very useful, but very expensive.

It is best to buy an Indian SIM that will allow you to make all calls at reasonable rates. A SIM card costs around INR 300 to INR 500, with some balance for talktime..

You can purchase a SIM either from a kiosk in the airport or from any of the provider's shops. You will have to produce a passport-size identity photo, your passport and visa and a reference (it can be either your employer or your landlord). You can choose between whether you want a postpaid or a prepaid SIM card.

 Useful links:

Idea Cellular
Reliance Mobile

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
Recommend Your favourite team
Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
Write a comment

See also

Want to become a digital nomad in India? The digital nomad's guide to India will help you make the most of your nomadic life abroad.