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SIM Cards in India: The Best Prepaid Plans | 2024 Guide

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 ;)

Normally, I made a quick remark about international roaming being expensive in general.

However, India is home to one of the lowest, if not the lowest, mobile data rates in the world. And the Indian operators have another gift for you.

You can get a free Indian SIM card from Jio, Airtel & VI (Vodafone Idea) in their stores. However, you will be required to top-up or buy a plan when obtaining your complimentary SIM card (could be up to 300 INR – 3.60 USD). 1 GB of data will cost you at least 11 INR (0.15 USD).

Free SIM cards AND spending less than a quarter on 1 GB of data – quite unheard of!

But before you go out and try to get your free Indian SIM card, there are many things to be aware of when trying to get SIM cards in India – it can be time-consuming, especially for tourists and travelers.

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in India. Let's go.

Buying a SIM Card in India Guide (logos of Jio, VI & Airtel)

Original publication: 31st of December 2019. Last updated: 1st of March 2024.


Table of Contents

What is the Best SIM Card in India?

If you want to buy the best SIM card in India, I recommend going with Jio. It is, overall, the best option. VI may have faster average download speeds, but mobile data speeds are already slow in India, making the difference marginal. Jio also offers the most variety in plans.

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India has four mobile operators offering prepaid services easily accessible to travelers:

  • Jio
  • Airtel India
  • VI (Vodafone Idea)
  • BSNL (+MTNL)
Cellular Connectivity Illustration by Phone Travel Wiz

In this guide, I will stick to the mobile operators and the most popular MVNOs, all in bold above, to limit the length of this guide (but also not to overwhelm you with all the options available).

But if you are interested in getting a SIM card from one of the unbolded MVNOs, you would have to do the research yourself for the time being. I stopped actively testing and reviewing MVNOs to spend time reviewing travel eSIMs instead, like the ones for India.

Anyone living in or visiting India can buy an Indian SIM card with no real restrictions, but you do have to comply with India's SIM card registration regulations.

Regarding the registration requirements, you must show your passport at the point of sale.

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Where Can You Buy an Indian SIM Card (+Prices)?

You can expect to pay the following for Indian SIM cards:

  • Jio: free, but (select) plan purchase/recharge required
  • Airtel India: free, but (select) plan purchase/recharge required
  • VI (Vodafone Idea): free, but (select) plan purchase/recharge required

Be aware that SIM cards sold at airports can be more expensive than the prices mentioned earlier.

Use the Wise Currency Converter tool (free) for up-to-date INR (Indian Rupee) to your currency (let's say GBP – (British) Pound (Sterling)) exchange rates.

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
© Wise

For reference, below are some exchange rates between INR and USD (US Dollars):

  • 1 INR = 0.10 USD
  • 10 INR = 0.10 USD
  • 100 INR = 1.20 USD
  • 1000 INR = 12 USD
  • 10 000 INR = 120.10 USD

For any other currency, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

(Travel) eSIMs for India

The use of (travel) eSIMs has exploded in recent years.

Not only do more phones have eSIM capability (some US-sold iPhones are eSIM-only), but the number of providers adopting technology has proliferated as well.

This includes local mobile operators offering eSIM and platforms selling eSIMs (travel eSIMs).

If you want a local Indian eSIM, you are out of luck because the mobile operators do not sell them (to prepaid customers

But remember that you have to comply with India's SIM card registration regulations, even when you get an Indian eSIM.

If you do not wish to deal with registration for whatever reason, like privacy, consider getting a travel eSIM for India.

Many eSIM providers have eSIMs for India only, eSIMs for multiple Asian destinations & even global eSIMs, which I discuss in my India eSIM buying guide.

Buying an eSIM for India Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Discover+, Indicomm, Alosim & Airalo)

Here is a quick introduction to your India travel eSIM options:

  • Airalo: Indicomm (India only), Asialink (14 countries in Asia) & Discover+ (130 countries worldwide + up to 200 worldwide minutes & 200 worldwide SMS)
  • Alosim: India
  • Holafly: India – all variants include unlimited data
  • Nomad: India, APAC (15 or 20 countries, depending on the variant) & Global (109 or 139 countries, depending on the variant)
  • SimOptions: Asia (32 countries)

And I know you love discounts, so use one of these codes when getting a travel eSIM:

  • Airalo: NEWMAY15 for 15% off (if you have never bought an Airalo eSIM before). Otherwise, AIRALOMAY10 for 10% off (for existing users) – only the first 3000 users can redeem either discount code)
  • Alosim: PTW for 5% off (as many times as you wish for as many eSIMs as you want)
  • Holafly: PHONETRAVELWIZ for 5% off (as many times as you wish for as many eSIMs as you want)
  • Nomad: ADU123 for 3 USD off (on your first-ever Nomad order only)

If you want to know about all the prices, data options & covered countries (for the regional and global eSIMs), check out my India eSIM buying guide.

Buying an eSIM for India Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Discover+, Indicomm, Alosim & Airalo)

Indian Prepaid SIM Cards Explored

Below, I will guide you through Jio, Airtel India & VI (Vodafone Idea), and go through:

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices, and availability
  • Recharge/top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs)

Let's see what India can offer us in terms of SIM cards.


Jio

Jio Logo
© Jio

Reliance Jio Infocomm, just Jio, is the largest mobile operator in India. When it entered the market in late 2015 as a 4G/LTE-only mobile operator, its goal was to disrupt the Indian telecom market.

With an aggressive pricing strategy, which led to a price war, significant investments in infrastructure, leading it to be the operator with the most towers, and getting rid of Indian national roaming, it quickly became the most prominent player. So much so that Vodafone India and Idea had to merge into one company to stay competitive.

You could say that Jio's goal to disrupt the Indian telecom market succeeded. It is now the third-largest mobile operator in the world (420+ million subscribers).

Jio uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: N/A
  • 3G: N/A
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20), 850 MHz (Band 5), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2300 MHz (Band 40)

This is what you will learn about Jio:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Jio SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Jio

Jio has the best coverage in India.

Its 4G availability and 4G coverage experience are the highest of all the Indian mobile operators.

Below is Jio's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – Jio

You can get a Jio SIM card for free in Jio stores. However, you will be required to purchase a plan or recharge to get your free SIM card.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

You may want to get a travel eSIM for India, which can be cheaper than getting a SIM card from Jio (in some cases).

Especially when getting an eSIM covering popular Asian destinations if you do not stay in just India or a global eSIM valid for up to a year if you want one eSIM to work practically worldwide.

My India eSIM buying guide analyzes various eSIM options of eSIM providers I have tested extensively worldwide.

Here is a quick introduction to them:

  • Airalo: Indicomm (India only) & Discover+ (130 countries worldwide + call and text feature) – use code NEWMAY15 (15% off – first-time users only) or AIRALOMAY10 (10% off)
  • Alosim: India – use code PTW (5% off – no limits)
  • Holafly: India – these eSIMs have unlimited data – use code PHONETRAVELWIZ (5% off – no limits)
  • Nomad: India, APAC (up to 20 countries) & Global (up to 139 countries) – use code ADU123 (3 USD off – first-time users only)

For more information, such as the prices and data allowances, check out my India eSIM buying guide.

Buying an eSIM for India Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Discover+, Indicomm, Alosim & Airalo)

But let's continue with Jio for now.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Jio

Jio top-up vouchers are sold in Jio stores and other stores, including kiosks, phone stores, and grocery stores.

To top up your Jio SIM card, dial *305*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *305*123456#. The same can be done as *368#.

You can tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *333# to check your Jio balance.

You can also use the MyJio to refill and check your balance (Android/iOS).

MyJio App
© Jio

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Jio

Jio has sixteen data-featured prepaid plans:

All Jio plans can be activated on the MyJio app or online.

Moreover, all plans allow you to continue using data after exhausting your data allowance. However, your speeds will be throttled to 64 Kbps.

I will list all the prices in INR (Indian Rupee).

To convert INR to your currency (let's say GBP – (British) Pound (Sterling)) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
© Wise

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

JioPhone – Jio

The JioPhone plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access), minutes & SMS (max. 100 SMS/day).

The following JioPhone plans are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
75 INR0.1 GB/day + 200 MB (2.5 GB)Unlimited50 SMS23 days
91 INR0.1 GB/day + 200 MB (3 GB)Unlimited50 SMS28 days
125 INR0.5 GB/day (11.5 GB)300 SMS23 days
152 INR0.5 GB/day (14 GB)Unlimited300 SMS28 days
186 INR1 GB/day (28 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
223 INR2 GB/day (56 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
895 INR2 GB/day (24 GB)Unlimited50 SMS/28 days (15 000 SMS)336 days (28 days * 12 cycles)

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions

Jio India JioPhone Plans
© Jio India
1 GB/Day Pack Plans – Jio

The 1 GB/day Pack plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access), minutes & SMS (max. 100 SMS/day).

The following 1 GB/day Packs are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
149 INR1 GB/day (20 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2000 SMS)20 days
179 INR1 GB/day (24 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)24 days
209 INR1 GB/day (28 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions

Jio India 1 GB day Plans
© Jio India
Value Pack Plans – Jio

The Value Pack plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.

The following Value Pack are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
155 INR2 GBUnlimited300 SMS28 days
395 INR6 GBUnlimited1000 SMS84 days
1559 INR24 GBUnlimited3600 SMS336 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions

Jio India Value Plans
© Jio India
1.5 GB/Day Packs Plans – Jio

The 1.5 GB/day Packs plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access), minutes & SMS (max. 100 SMS/day).

The following 1.5 GB/day Packs are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
199 INR1.5 GB/day (34.5 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2300 SMS)23 days
239 INR1.5 GB/day (42 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
259 INR1.5 GB/day (45 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)30 days
269 INR1.5 GB/day (42 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
479 INR1.5 GB/day (84 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
529 INR1.5 GB/day (84 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
666 INR1.5 GB/day (126 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
739 INR1.5 GB/day (126 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
2545 INR1.5 GB/day (504 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (33 600 SMS)336 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions
2 +Jio Saavn Pro subscription

Jio India 1.5 GB day Plans
© Jio India
3 GB/Day Packs Plans – Jio

The 3 GB/day Packs plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access), minutes & SMS (max. 100 SMS/day).

The following 3 GB/day Packs are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
219 INR3 GB/day (44 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (1400 SMS)14 days
399 INR3 GB/day (90 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (9000 SMS)90 days
999 INR3 GB/day (252 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
1499 INR3 GB/day (252 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days

1 + JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions
2 + JioCinema, JioCloud, JioTV & Netflix

Jio India 3 GB day Prepaid Plans
2 GB/Day Packs Plans – Jio

The 2 GB/day Packs plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access), minutes & SMS (max. 100 SMS/day).

The following 2 GB/day Packs are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
249 INR2 GB/day (46 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2300 SMS)23 days
299 INR2 GB/day (56 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
388 INR2 GB/day (56 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)28 days
398 INR2 GB/day (56 GB) 4Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)28 days
533 INR2 GB/day (112 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
589 INR2 GB/day (112 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
719 INR2 GB/day (168 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
789 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
805 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 5Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)84 days
806 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 6Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)84 days
808 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)84 days
866 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 7Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)84 days
909 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 8Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)84 days
1099 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 9Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)84 days
1198 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 10Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)84 days
3178 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)365 days
3225 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 5Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)365 days
3226 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 6Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)365 days
3227 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 11Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)365 days
4498 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 10Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)365 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions
2 +Jio Saavn Pro subscription
3 with Disney + Hotstar
4 + Chaupal, Discovery+, DocuBay, EpicON, Hoichoi, JioCinema, JioCloud, JioTV, Kanchha Lannka, Lionsgate Play, Planet Marathi, Sony LIV, Sun NXT & ZEE5
5 + ZEE5
6 + Sony LIV
7 + Swiggy
8 + Sony LIV & ZEE5
9 + Netflix
10 + Chaupal, Discovery+, DocuBay, EpicON, Hoichoi, JioCinema, JioCloud, JioTV, Kanchha Lannka, Lionsgate Play, Planet Marathi, Prime Video, Sony LIV, Sun NXT & ZEE5
11 + Prime Video mobile edition

Jio India 2 GB day Prepaid Plans
Jio Freedom Plans – Jio

The Jio Freedom Plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access), minutes & SMS (max. 100 SMS/day).

The following Jio Freedom Plans are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
296 INR25 GBUnlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)30 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions

Jio India Jio Freedom Plans
© Jio India
No Daily Limit Plans – Jio

The No Daily Limit plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access) minutes & SMS.

The following No Daily Limit are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
296 INR25 GBUnlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)30 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions

Jio India No Daily Limit Plans
© Jio India
2.5 GB/day – Jio

The 2.5 GB/day plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.

The following 2.5 GB/day plans are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
349 INR2.5 GB/day (75 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)30 days
2999 INR2.5 GB/day (912.5 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3662 INR2.5 GB/day (912.5 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions
2 + Sony LIV & ZEE5

Jio India 2.5 GB day Prepaid Plans
Annual Plans – Jio

The Annual Plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access) minutes & SMS.

The following Annual Plans are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
2545 INR1.5 GB/day (504 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (33 600 SMS)336 days
2999 INR2.5 GB/day (912 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3178 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3225 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3226 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 4Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3227 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 5Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3662 INR2.5 GB/day (912.5 GB) 6Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
4498 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 7Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions
2 + 1 year Disney+Hotstar Mobile subscription
3 + Subscription to ZEE5 via JioTV app
4 + Subscription to Sony LIV via JioTV app
5 + 1 year Prime Video Mobile Edition subscription
6 + Subscription to Sony LIV and ZEE5 via JioTV app
7 + Chaupal, Discovery+, DocuBay, EpicON, Hoichoi, JioCinema, JioCloud, JioTV, Kanchha Lannka, Lionsgate Play, Planet Marathi, Prime Video, Sony LIV, Sun NXT & ZEE5

Jio India Annual Prepaid Plans
JioLink – Jio

The JioLink plans are data bundles (with 5G NR access). These plans can last from around one month to half a year.

The following JioLink plans are available:

PricePlanData 1Validity
699 INRMonthly5 GB/day + 16 GB (156 GB)28 days
2099 INRQuarterly5 GB/day + 48 GB (538 GB)84 + 14 days
4199 INRHalf yearly5 GB/day + 96 GB (1076 GB)168 + 28 days

1 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions

Jio India JioLink Plans
© Jio India
Data Booster – Jio

The Data Booster plans are, as the name implies, data add-ons (without 5G NR access). They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

The following Data Booster plans are available:

PriceDataValidity
15 INR1 GBbased on the registered plan
19 INR1.5 GBbased on the registered plan
25 INR2 GBbased on the registered plan
29 INR2.5 GBbased on the registered plan
61 INR6 GBbased on the registered plan
121 INR12 GBbased on the registered plan
222 INR50 GBbased on the registered plan
Jio India Data Booster Plans
© Jio India
JioPhone Data Add-ONs – Jio

The JioPhone Data Add-ONs are, as the name implies, data add-ons (without 5G NR access). They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

The following JioPhone Data Add-ONs are available:

PriceDataValidity
26 INR2 GB28 days
62 INR6 GB28 days
86 INR0.5 GB/day (14 GB)28 days
122 INR1 GB/day (28 GB)28 days
182 INR2 GB/day (56 GB)28 days
Jio India JioPhone Data Add-Ons
© Jio India
5G Upgrade – Jio

The 5G Upgrade plan is a data add-on (obviously, with 5G NR access). It cannot be purchased as a standalone plan.

The following 5G Upgrade plan is available:

PriceData 1, 2Validity
61 INR6 GBbased on the registered plan

1 applicable on plans Rs119, Rs149, Rs179, Rs199 & Rs209
2 unlimited 5G data applicable only in cities where Jio True 5G has been launched and user has been invited for Jio Welcome Offer

Jio India 5G Upgrade Add-On
© Jio India
Data Packs – Jio

The Data Packs are data add-ons (without 5G NR access). They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

The following Data Packs are available:

PriceDataValidity
148 INR10 GB 128 days
181 IN30 GB30 days
241 INR40 GB30 days
301 INR50 GB30 days
331 INR40 GB 230 days
444 INR100 GB60 days
555 INR55 GB 355 days
667 INR150 GB90 days
2878 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 1365 days

1 + Chaupal, Discovery+, DocuBay, EpicON, Hoichoi, JioCinema, JioCloud, JioTV, Kanchha Lannka, Lionsgate Play, Planet Marathi, Sony LIV, Sun NXT & ZEE5
2 + 3 months (90 days) Disney+Hotstar Mobile subscription
3 +JioCinema, JioCloud & JioTV subscriptions

Jio India Data Prepaid Packs

APN/Internet Settings – Jio

  • Name: JioNet
  • APN: JioNet

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Airtel India

Airtel Logo
© Airtel

Bharti Airtel, just Airtel, is India's second-largest mobile operator. It has been a player in the Indian telecom market for more than 25 years.

Its first international venture was in Sri Lanka (Airtel Lanka).

Now, Airtel is active in 19 countries in South Asia, Africa, Jersey & Guernsey in Europe.

With all its subsidiaries, Bharti Airtel is the second-largest mobile operator in the world (440+ million subscribers).

Airtel uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: Shut down in 2020 for 4G/LTE refarming
  • 4G/LTE: 900 Mhz (Band 8), 1800 MHz (Band 3), 2100 MHz (Band 1) & 2300 MHz (Band 40)

This is what you will learn about Airtel:

* Coverage
* How to Get an Airtel SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Airtel India

Airtel has extensive coverage throughout India.

Its 4G availability is high, so is its 4G coverage experience. Airtel is the best mobile operator for video calls, voice calls through apps (VoIP), and online gaming.

Below is Airtel's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – Airtel India

You can get an Airtel SIM card for free in Airtel stores. However, you will be required to purchase a plan or recharge to get your free SIM card.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

You should consider getting a travel eSIM for India because they can sometimes be cheaper than getting a SIM card from Airtel.

Especially if you get an Asia-wide eSIM or a global eSIM.

I discuss various eSIM options of eSIM providers for India in my India eSIM buying guide, which are:

  • Airalo: Indicomm (India only) & Discover+ (130 countries worldwide + minutes and SMS) – use code NEWMAY15 (15% off – first-time users only) or AIRALOMAY10 (10% off)
  • Alosim: India – use code PTW (5% off – no limits)
  • Holafly: Indiaunlimited data eSIMs – use code PHONETRAVELWIZ (5% off – no limits)
  • Nomad: India, APAC (up to 20 countries) & Global (up to 139 countries) – use code ADU123 (3 USD off – first-time users only)

As I said, check out my India eSIM buying guide for more information, as I have to continue with Airtel for now.

Buying an eSIM for India Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Discover+, Indicomm, Alosim & Airalo)
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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Airtel India

Airtel top-up vouchers are sold in Airtel stores and other stores, including kiosks, phone stores, and grocery stores.

To top up your Airtel SIM card, dial *121*3# or *121# and follow the instructions.

You can tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *121*1# to check your Airtel balance.

You can also use the Airtel Thanks app to refill and check your balance (Android/iOS).

Airtel India Thanks App
© Airtel India

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Airtel India

Airtel has two data-featured prepaid plans: Truly Unlimited (combo) & Data (data).

All Airtel plans can be activated on the Airtel Thanks app or online.

I will list all the prices in INR (Indian Rupee).

To convert INR to your currency (let's say GBP – (British) Pound (Sterling)) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
© Wise
Truly Unlimited Plans – Airtel India

The Truly Unlimited plans are combo bundles with data (with 5G NR access) minutes & SMS.

The majority of plans also give you access to Amazon Prime Video (30-day trial), Apollo 24|7 Circle (for 3 months), Airtel Xstream Premium, Hellotunes, Wynk Music, Shaw Academy (1 year).

The following Truly Unlimited are available:

PriceDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
155 INR1 GB 1Unlimited300 SMS24 days
179 INR2 GB 1Unlimited300 SMS28 days
199 INR3 GB 1Unlimited300 SMS30 days
209 INR1 GB/day (21 GB) 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (2100 SMS)21 days
239 INR 1 GB/day (24 GB) 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (2400 SMS)24 days
265 INR1 GB/day (28 GB) 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
289 INR4 GB 1Unlimited300 SMS35 days
296 INR25 GB 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)30 days
299 INR1.5 GB/day (42 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)28 days
319 INR2 GB/day (62 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (3100 SMS)31 days
359 INR2.5 GB/day (77.5 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (3100 SMS)31 days
399 INR3 GB/day (84 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
455 INR6 GB 1Unlimited900 SMS84 days
479 INR1.5 GB/day (84 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
489 INR50 GB 2Unlimited300 SMS30 days
499 INR3 GB/day (84 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
509 INR60 GB 2Unlimited300 SMS1 month
519 INR1.5 GB/day (90 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (6000 SMS)60 days
549 INR2 GB/day (112 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
666 INR1.5 GB/day (115.5 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (7700 SMS)77 days
699 INR3 GB/day (168 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
719 INR1.5 GB/day (126 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
779 INR1.5 GB/day (135 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (9000 SMS)90 days
839 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
869 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 4Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
999 INR2.5 GB/day (210 GB) 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
1499 INR3 GB/day (252 GB) 5Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
1799 INR24 GB 2Unlimited3600 SMS365 days
2999 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3359 INR2.5 GB/day (912.5 GB) 4Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days

1 + Hellotunes & Wynk Music
2 + Apollo, Hellotunes & Wynk Music
3 + Airtel Xstream Play, Apollo, Hellotunes & Wynk Music
4 + Apollo, Disney+Hotstar, Hellotunes & Wynk Music
5 + Apollo, Hellotunes, Netflix Basic & Wynk Music

Airtel India Truly Unlimited Plans
© Airtel India
Data Plans- Airtel India

The Data plans are, as the name implies, data bundles (without 5G NR access).

The following Data are available:

PriceDataValidity
19 INR1 GB1 day
29 INR2 GB1 day
49 INR6 GB1 day
58 INR3 GBN/A
65 INR4 GBN/A
98 INR5 GBN/A
99 INRUnlimited2 day
118 INR12 GBN/A
148 INR15 GB 1N/A
149 INR1 GB 1N/A
181 INR1 GB/day (30 GB)30 days
301 INR50 GBN/A

1 access to Airtel Xstream Play for 28 days

Airtel India Data Only Plans
© Airtel India

APN/Internet Settings – Airtel India

  • Name: Airtel Internet
  • APN: airtelgprs.com

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

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VI (Vodafone Idea)

VI Vodafone Idea India Logo
© VI

Vodafone Idea, known as VI, is the third-largest mobile operator in India.

It formed as a merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

The agreement of the merger was agreed back in 2018.

However, it took until Q3 2020 before the two companies became one and offered their services under one brand.

VI is the 7th largest mobile operator in the world (280+ million subscribers).

VI has the fastest mobile download and upload speed in the country.

According to Opensignal, the average mobile download speed is 11.9 Mbps, and the average mobile upload speed is 4.5 Mbps.

Speedtest reports an even higher mobile download speed of 15 Mbps.

VI uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 Mhz
  • 3G: Being shut down for 4G/LTE refarming
  • 4G/LTE: 900 MHz (Band 8) & 1800 MHz (Band 3), 2100 Mhz (Band 1), 2300 Mhz (Band 40) & 2500 MHz (Band 41)

This is what you will learn about VI:

* Coverage
* How to Get a VI SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

VI has extensive coverage throughout India.

Vi does have the worst 4G availability and 4G coverage experience of the big three players.

Below is VI's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

You can get a VI SIM card for free in VI stores. However, you will be required to purchase a plan or recharge to get your free SIM card.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

You can consider getting a travel eSIM for India, which can, in specific scenarios, be cheaper than getting a SIM card from VI.

Especially if you get an Asia eSIM (for when you visit at least two or more supported Asian countries) or a global eSIM (for frequent travelers visiting multiple continents).

In my India eSIM buying guide, I analyze various eSIM options of eSIM providers I have tested extensively worldwide.

But I will introduce them here quickly:

  • Airalo: Indicomm (India only) & Discover+ (130 countries worldwide + up to 200 worldwide minutes & 200 worldwide SMS) – use code NEWMAY15 (15% off – first-time users only) or AIRALOMAY10 (10% off)
  • Alosim: India – use code PTW (5% off – no limits)
  • Holafly: India – include unlimited data – use code PHONETRAVELWIZ (5% off – no limits)
  • Nomad: India, APAC (15 or 20 countries, depending on the variant) & Global (109 or 139 countries, depending on the variant) – use code ADU123 (3 USD off – first-time users only)

Once again, check out my India eSIM buying guide to learn more about these eSIM options.

Buying an eSIM for India Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Discover+, Indicomm, Alosim & Airalo)

For now, I will continue with VI.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

VI top-up vouchers are sold in VI stores and other stores, including kiosks, phone stores, and grocery stores.

To top up your VI SIM card, dial *199*5# or *199# and follow the instructions.

You can tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *111# or *199*2# to check your VI balance.

You can also use the VI to refill and check your balance (Android/iOS).

VI India App
© VI

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

VI has four data-featured prepaid plans:

All VI plans can be activated on the VI app or online.

I will list all the prices in INR (Indian Rupee).

To convert INR to your currency (let's say GBP – (British) Pound (Sterling)) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
© Wise

Click on the links above to jump to the plans you are interested in.

Unlimited Plans – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

The Unlimited plans are combo bundles with data (without 5G NR access) minutes & SMS.

The majority of plans also give you access to VI mobies and TV. Many also allow you to roll over unused workday data (Monday-Friday) to the weekend (Saturday & Sunday).

The following Unlimited are available:

PriceDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity 
98 INR200 MB UnlimitedN/A14 days
155 INR1 GBUnlimited300 SMS24 days
179 INR2 GB 1Unlimited300 SMS28 days
195 INR3 GB 1Unlimited300 SMS1 month
199 INR1 GB/day (18 GB) 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (1800 SMS)18 days
209 INR4 GB 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
219 INR1 GB/day (21 GB) 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (2100 SMS)21 days
239 INR1 GB/day (24 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2400 SMS)24 days
269 INR1 GB/day (28 GB) 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
296 INR25 GB 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)30 days
299 INR1.5 GB/day (42 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
319 INR2 GB/day (62 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (3100 SMS)31 days
329 INR4 GB 1Unlimited600 SMS56 days
359 INR3 GB/day (84 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
368 INR2 GB/day (60 GB) 2, 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)30 days
369 INR2 GB/day (60 GB) 2, 4Unlimited100 SMS/day (3000 SMS)30 days
399 INR2.5 GB/day (70 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
409 INR3.5 GB/day (98 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
459 INR6 GB 1Unlimited1000 SMS84 days
475 INR4 GB/day (112 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
479 INR1.5 GB/day (84 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
499 INR3 GB/day (84 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
537 INR50 GB 1Unlimited100 SMS/day (6000 SMS)60 days
539 INR2 GB/day (112 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
599 INR1.5 GB/day (105 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (7000 SMS)70 days
601 INR3 GB/day (84 GB) 2, 5Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
666 INR1.5 GB/day (115.5 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (7700 SMS)77 days
699 INR3 GB/day (168 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (5600 SMS)56 days
719 INR1.5 GB/day (126 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
839 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
901 INR3 GB/day (210 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (7000 SMS)70 days
902 INR2 GB/day (180 GB) 2, 3Unlimited100 SMS/day (9000 SMS)90 days
903 INR2 GB/day (180 GB) 2, 4Unlimited100 SMS/day (9000 SMS)90 days
949 INR12 GB 1Unlimited1200 SMS180 days
1066 INR2 GB/day (168 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
1449 INR1.5 GB/day (270 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (18 000 SMS)180 days
1799 INR24 GB 1Unlimited3600 SMS365 days
2899 INR1.5 GB/day (547.50 GB) 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
2999 INR850 GB 2Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3099 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 2, 5Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days
3199 INR2 GB/day (730 GB) 1,2, 6Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days

1 +Vi movies and TV access
2 +Binge All Night (surf, stream, share all you want from 00:00 – 06:00) & Vi movies and TV data (Vi Movies & TV VIP access-Full access to premium movies, originals, live TV, news & more)
3 +Sun NXT subscription
4 +SonyLiv subscription
5 +Disney+ Hotstar subscription

VI India Prepaid Unlimited Plans
Disney+ Hotstar VIP Plans – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

The Disney+ Hotstar VIP plans are combo bundles with data (without 5G NR access) minutes & SMS. You also get 3-month access to Disney+ Hotstar in one plan.

Do note that if you are a tourist and get one of these plans, you will also get access to Disney+ Hotstar. However, you will not be able to use your subscription back home (perhaps you can if using a VPN and setting the location to India may work, but that is not something I can confirm yet).

The following Disney+ Hotstar VIP are available:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity 
151 INR8 GB 2N/AN/A30 days
399 INR2.5 GB/day (70 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
499 INR3 GB/day (84 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
601 INR3 GB/day (84 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (2800 SMS)28 days
901 INR3 GB/day (210 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (7000 SMS)70 days
1066 INR2 GB/day (168 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (8400 SMS)84 days
3099 INR2 GB/day (730 GB)Unlimited100 SMS/day (36 500 SMS)365 days

1 +Binge All Night (Surf, stream, share all you want from 12 midnight to 6am without pack deduction, at no extra cost!), Vi movies and TV (Vi Movies & TV VIP access-Full access to premium movies, originals, live TV, news & more) & Hotstar Subscription (Get 3 Months access to Disney+ Hotstar Mobile & enjoy online streaming of exclusive TV shows, serials, live sports, dubbed Hollywood movies)
2 +3 months of Disney + Hotstar subscription only

VI India Disney + Hotstor VIP Plans
© VI India
Combo/Validity Plans – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

The Combo/Validity plans are combo bundles with credit & data (without 5G NR access).

The following Combo/Validity are available:

PriceCreditDataValidity 
198 INR198 INR500 MB30 days
204 INR204 INR500 MB1 month
VI India Combo Prepaid Validity Plans
Data – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

The Data plans are, as the name implies, data bundles (without 5G NR access).

The following Data are available:

PriceDataValidity
17 INRUnlimited 11 day
19 INR1 GB24 hours
24 INRUnlimited1 hour
25 INR1.1 GB1 day
29 INR2 GB2 days
39 INR3 GB3 days
49 INR6 GB24 hours
57 INRUnlimited 17 days
58 INR3 GB28 days
75 INR6 GB7 days
82 INR4 GB 214 days
108 INR6 GB 315 days
118 INR12 GB28 days
151 INR8 GB 430 days
181 INR1 GB/day (30 GB)30 days
298 INR50 GB 528 days
418 INR100 GB 556 days
698 INR10 GB 228 days
999 INR50 GB365 days

1 unlimited night data between 00:00 – 06:00
2 28 days of SonyLIV mobile
3 3 months of ad free music
4 3 months of Disney+ & Hotstar VIP
5 with Vi movies and TV (Vi Movies & TV classic access to premium movies, originals, live TV, news & more)

VI India Data Plans
© VI India

APN/Internet Settings – VI (Vodafone Idea India)

  • Name: VI
  • APN: www

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

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The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in India

Getting a SIM card from Jio would do you well when considering an Indian SIM card.

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my SIM card buying guides for other destinations around the world.