India offering Free SIM cards for Foreign Tourists on arrival

One of the first things probably we all consider  when we travel outside our home country is phone connectivity. There is always an option to activate international roaming on your current number  however in the past that has resulted in some heavy phone bills for me. Over the last 2 years whenever Ajay and I are on a longer trip like in the US and Australia we bought ourselves local SIM cards online and got it delivered to our hotel addresses. It was a fairly simple, convenient and painless process.

Though if you have traveled to India before, you will realize that getting a local SIM card can be quite a daunting task. All applications need to be filed physically with telecom operators and from application to number activation can take a few days. Now here is a piece of good news, the tourism ministry of India will very soon be launching a free SIM card availability service for foreign tourists travelling to India on e-Visas.

Free SIMcard

This service will debut at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and in the next phase be extended to 15 other international airports in the country where e-Visa facility is currently available.

To avail pre-loaded SIM Card, foreign tourists will have to contact the  BSNL kiosk on arrival and submit a copy of their e-Visa and the bio page of the passport. SIM cards will be pre-loaded with a monetary value of INR 50/ USD 0.80 talk time and 50 MB data and will be activated on immediately. The SIM cards will come with 30 days validity period and will enable travelers to contact the 24-hour tourist helpline numbers which will be available in 12 different languages apart from English. India is a popular tourist destination and ranks among the 40 most visited countries in the world. Currently e-Visa service is open to citizens of 161 countries and one million e-visas were issued by the government last year. We are happy that the tourism ministry in the country is taking initiatives to make the country more tourist friendly.

What are your thoughts about the free SIMcard initiative? If you have traveled to India, share with us your experience.


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