I can't answer your question about India; however, if you travel much internationally, I might want to purchase a Mobal phone which can be used all over the world. There are two phone models that they sell. One is $50 and the other $100, the difference being the number of countries in which the phone can be used. The less expensive model doesn't work in North and South American, the Caribbean, and Central America, primarily. After the initial expense of buying the phone, you pay no monthly fees but only the charges for the calls made and received. The calls are billed to your credit card. You keep the same phone number regardless of where you travel (a UK number) so you don't have to change phone information for family at home every time you travel. You also don't have to keep buying and re-inserting SIM cards. I have used my phone in only two countries so far--France and Ethiopia. The quality of reception was excellent. For normal communication with folks back home it is cheaper to locate an internet cafe and then you don't have to worry about time differences. But for emergencies and convenience, it is great to have a phone along. You can check out the company on-line www.mobal.com. I first saw it advertised in a travel magazine with recommendations from Arthur Frommer and Rick Steves.
Thanks granny - but that's WAY! WAY! beyond the cost of using an airtel sim. In fact - I find their cost hard to believe! NO! I want a local airtel sim. Just want to know how to most easily obtain one.
If you're ok with prepaid simcards and top ups, that's the way to go! other way is to rent an Indian cell phone rental, you'll find several companies that offer local India solutions, some of them are Worldcell, Phonerental and Planetfone.
Is it still easy to buy an airtel or other sim card for a gsm cell (mobile) phone in Mumbai? I've heard new regulations make it more difficult.
It is quite easy but you need 2 passport size photos and a photocopy of your passport and visa. A lot of shops can do the photos and photocopy but I prefer not to hand my passport over. I last bought a sim card in Nov 08. for 350 rupees including some airtime.
hey man .. i dont think it is that easy... if you have some relatives then it is fine. to get the sim card on his/her name but otherwise it is difficult as you need address proof and many other things.
After terrorist attacks and due to national security, in India, it now also difficult to get new sim card. But, if someone manages to do this, he will be caught soon and also the IMEI number codes are also should be real.
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