India – derived from the River Indus, is the second-most populated country in the world. By landmass, it is the 7th-largest country in the world.
India does not need an introduction – everyone knows something about this country.
Known for being the largest democracy in the world, having the most tigers in a country worldwide, a big fan of cricket, and home to plenty of official languages.
And let's not forget about the attractions this country has to offer. Of course, the Taj Mahal. The famous Ranthambore, and the Amber Palace.
You could visit the busy cities (sometimes a bit too busy) or the stunning nature in the countryside.
One thing an Indian friend of mine said, which I found funny, is that no matter where you are, even in the middle of the desert, there will always be people around. There is no reason to feel lonely in India ;)
What you should not do, in many cases, is roam internationally in India.
International roaming can be expensive, which is why using local and travel eSIMs is recommended to save money.
And if you get a travel eSIM, you do not have to deal with the SIM card registration bureaucracy and skip the queues in India.
How much will a local or travel eSIM for India cost you?
You can get an eSIM for India for as little as 5 USD, with 1 GB of data for 7 days, up to 69 USD, with 20 GB for 30 days, from Jio, Airtel India & VI India, Airalo (Indicomm), Holafly & Nomad.
Those are some generous data allowances, right?
In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Indian mobile operators (Jio, Airtel India & VI India), Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's do this.
Original publication: 13th of September 2022. Last updated: 13th of September 2022.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the Indian Mobile Operators
To get the best service available, in terms of reception and speeds, you want to go with the local mobile operators directly instead of with a travel eSIM.
That is because you will have a higher priority on the network in case of network congestion.
However, that does not mean travel eSIMs will always be slow.
In fact, some mobile operators throttle (prepaid) on select plans or all plans for “optimization” reasons (read: we cannot be bothered to invest in our network).
Anyway, which Indian mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
Currently, Jio, Airtel India & VI India offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.
You also have several other options for getting an eSIM for your trip to India: You can choose travel eSIMs from Airalo (with Indicomm), Holafly & Nomad.
Not only can you set up these eSIMs before arriving in India and activate them upon landing, but you can also avoid India's SIM card registration scheme, which is mandatory for anyone using Indian SIM cards and eSIMs.
While mobile data is already affordable in India, getting a travel eSIM will not break the bank – not at all.
Plus, I have plenty of experience with Airalo, Holafly & Nomad, and I can assure you they work well – and other Phone Travel Wiz readers also had pleasant experiences with them.
So let's see what these travel eSIM providers have to offer in India, right?
Airalo eSIMs for India (Indicomm)
If I could only get a travel eSIM during my trip because I do not have the time or opportunity to buy a local SIM card or eSIM, then I would always get an eSIM from Airalo.
Airalo has eSIMs for around 190 countries, offers eSIMs at the lowest prices (on average compared to the competition) & has good service.
Airalo usually partners with the local mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, or both.
And if it needs to partner up with multiple mobile operators, it does so, allowing you to have the best reception at all times.
Anyway, you can get an India eSIM for as low as 5 USD, with 1 GB of data, up to 13 USD, with 3 GB of data.
Those prices and data allowances are not too bad, right?
Especially knowing that the Indicomm eSIM uses the Jio network – the best network in India with the best coverage and the fastest speeds.
So you do not have to worry about reception and speeds with the Indicomm eSIM, even in remote areas.
The following two Indian Indicomm eSIM options are available:
- India/Indicomm 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
- India/Indicomm 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD (most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers)
What do I mean by most popular?
85.7% of Phone Travel Readers get the 3 GB Indicomm eSIM.
The rest (14.3%) get the 1 GB Indicomm eSIM.
For Airalo eSIMs, the links above will automatically get you the Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers available – a code is not necessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Overall, the Indicomm eSIM gives you fantastic value for your money.
Airalo Indicomm eSIM Pros
Are there any other reasons why you should get the Indicomm eSIM for your trip? For sure:
- You can activate your Indicomm eSIM as soon as you land in India
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to India's best mobile operator – Jio
- Indicomm eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming) and have generous data allowances
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration with the Indicomm eSIM, saving you time
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Airalo website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
There are many other small pros, but these are the major ones.
It would be disingenuous not to mention some cons, so here we go.
Airalo Indicomm eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Indicomm eSIM?
- The Indian mobile operators, including Jio itself, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to Jio's network, the best in India, your speeds will not be as fast as going with Jio itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Indicomm eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Indicomm eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Indicomm eSIM Overall Thoughts
Honestly, the Indicomm eSIM is fantastic.
The plans offered with Indicomm eSIMs are generous and affordable.
You get fast speeds and access to India's best network, Jio, without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.
And everything, purchasing and topping up, can be done online on the Airalo website or Airalo app (downloading the app is recommended).
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Indicomm eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
But if you do wish to make actual calls, so not through apps like Whatsapp, consider a Jio, Airtel India, or VI India eSIM or an Indian SIM card (but you will have to deal with the SIM card registration laws).
Nomad eSIMs for India
Another travel eSIM provider I recommend is Nomad.
In fact, I have been in close contact with Nomad as soon as I partnered up with them.
For example, upon my recommendation, it started offering the Nordics regional eSIM – an eSIM that can be used in Denmark, Finland, Sweden & Norway.
Yes, I really try to get the best offers and deals for you 🥰.
Another thing I have been pushing Nomad for, and Airalo and Holafly (to be discussed next) for that matter, is lowering its prices or increasing its data allowances.
In June, Nomad started offering a 2 GB eSIM variant upon my request for India and various other Asian countries (because Phone Travel Wiz readers asked for such an eSIM) at competitive prices.
In August, Nomad dropped its prices again for its China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand & Vietnam eSIMs (which are even cheaper than Airalo – that is remarkable on its own!).
So yes, Nomad is looking out for you 👁👁.
Anyway, in India, it uses the Truphone network, which uses a combination of local networks (Jio, Airtel India & VI India), allowing your eSIM to switch to the network with the best reception automatically.
This way, you will always be connected!
You have the following five options with Nomad for India:
- India 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 15 USD/15.50 EUR/13 GBP/20 CAD
- India 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 28 USD/28.50 EUR/24 GBP/37 CAD
- India 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 33 USD/33.50 EUR/28.50 GBP/43.50 CAD
- India 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 50 USD/50.50 EUR/43 GBP/65.50 CAD
- India 20 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 69 USD/69.50 EUR/59 GBP/90 CAD
Even though Nomad dropped its prices for India eSIMs, you can still get 3 USD off your first Nomad purchase by using code ADU123!
- Check out my Nomad eSIM reviews
Of course, going with Nomad has some pros and cons, so let's go over them.
Nomad India eSIM Pros
So, why should you get a Nomad eSIM? Because:
- You can activate your Nomad India eSIM as soon as you land in India
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration, saving you time
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on all Indian networks, allowing you to have the best reception at all times
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Nomad website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.
Nomad India eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Nomad India eSIM?
- The Indian mobile operators have much more generous data allowances and cheaper plans
- While you get access to four networks, your speeds will not be as fast as going with the Indian mobile operators themselves because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad India eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Nomad India eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Nomad India eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Nomad India eSIM is a great premium eSIM.
You will always have the best reception because the Nomad India eSIM automatically switches to the best network at your location.
However, just like the other travel eSIMs mentioned in this guide, you do not get a (local) phone number with the Nomad India eSIM.
But you can get up to 20 GB of data.
Luckily, you can top up your Nomad India eSIM with more data if you want.
Holafly eSIMs for India
The last travel eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.
I knew they existed when they offered travel SIM cards for the Spanish market only.
Then they pivoted to the global market, still offering travel SIM cards.
Eventually, they started offering travel eSIMs for the Spanish market only again before going global.
There are many travel eSIM providers nowadays – new ones pop up every week like mushrooms, so I did not bat an eye.
Until they did something revolutionary.
In 2022, Holafly started offering unlimited data plans for its eSIMs.
And these unlimited data eSIMs can be used in various Asian countries, almost all European Union member states (except for Liechtenstein) & a few other countries, like Canada and the United States.
Unfortunately, unlimited data eSIMs are not available in India… yet.
I say yet because Holafly's goal is to offer unlimited data plans for every country it covers: 100+ countries.
And I can tell you that I get positive emails multiple times a week from Phone Travel Wiz readers that have used the unlimited data plans in East- and Southeast Asia, Europe & North America; they love these eSIMs.
For now, you have only one Holafly India eSIM (which uses the Airtel India network & VI India network,which is the fastest mobile operator in India, by the way):
- India 6 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 44 USD/47 EUR/34 GBP
Not much choice, as you can see.
As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, you can get 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – awesome, right?
- Check out my Holafly eSIM reviews
Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.
Holafly India eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly eSIMs? Well, because of the following:
- Holafly India eSIMs are affordable compared to roaming
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to VI India's network – the fastest network in India
- Unlike going with VI India directly, you do not have to worry about SIM card registration because it is unnecessary
- You can activate your Holafly India eSIM as soon as you land in India
- The Holafly India eSIM offers the most data
But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.
Holafly India eSIM eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get a Holafly India eSIM?
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly India eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- Indian mobile operators, including VI India, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get full (4G/LTE) access to VI India's network, your speeds may not be as fast as going with VI India directly because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- You cannot top up your Holafly India eSIM – you would have to buy another eSIM if you need more data
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly India eSIM (yet)
Holafly India eSIM Overall Thoughts
While you have only one option for the Holafly India eSIM, it is the most generous eSIM (in terms of data) in this guide.
And the price for the Holafly India eSIM is low compared to expensive Pay As You Go roaming rates for India.
But it still is not cheap.
Best eSIMs for in Asia (not just India)
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Indicomm, Holafly India, or Nomad India eSIMs in any country than India.
There are some eSIMs out there that allow you to use your allowance in several East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
Sadly, India is not one of them, but I still want to introduce them to you because they will be much cheaper than buying multiple eSIMs, or SIM cards for that matter, per country.
I highly recommend these Asia/APAC eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple East- and Southeast Asian countries to save money!
Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, which used to offer a meager 4 GB of high-speed data before allowing for unlimited data at snail speeds, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries.
The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular eSIM for Phone Travel readers, and I have no doubt that the Asialink eSIM will be popular too.
Just like in Europe, many readers tend to visit multiple Asian countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like India).
The Asialink eSIM can be used in the following 14 countries:
Below is an overview of how much each Asialink eSIM costs:
- Asia/Asialink 1 GB eSIM for 1 day, costing 5 USD
- Asia/Asialink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
- Asia/Asialink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for India
Because of Airalo's previous Asia eSIM, I used to recommend Nomad's APAC eSIMs instead (to be used in 8 countries).
This eSIM can be used in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore & Thailand (1 GB/7 days/15 USD – 20 GB/30 days/69 USD).
The Holafly Asia eSIM has only one variant: 8 GB for 30 days, costing 47 USD/49 EUR/34 GBP.
This eSIM can be used in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam.
Basically, the same countries as the Airalo Asialink eSIM with just fewer options (1 variant (8 GB) vs. 6 variants (1 GB/3 GB/5 GB/10 GB/50 GB/100 GB) and much more expensive.
So yeah, the Asialink eSIM is superior, I would say.
Remember, the Airalo links above will automatically offer you the best deals.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for India (Airalo vs. Holafly vs. Nomad)
In this guide, I went over various eSIMs for India: Airalo (Indicomm), Holafly & Nomad.
Below is an overview of my recommendation order:
- Airalo's India Indicomm eSIM (best value for money)
- Airalo's Asia Asialink eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other East- and Southeast Asian countries)
- Nomad India eSIM (excellent performance)
- Holafly India eSIM (generous data plans at premium prices)
- Holafly Asia eSIM (to be used in 13 countries)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in India
Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?
Consider getting an Indian SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.
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