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1) GSM band
The GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) frequency band for India is the same as Europe and most parts of the world at GSM 900 and GSM 1800. The US and Americas GSM is different so your US mobile cell phone won’t work in India. Also, it is best to get a local Simcard so you will require an unlocked phone that can take new Simcards.
2) Mobile Phone and Simcard
You should be able to pick up both a phone and a Simcard from the airport when you arrive. I highly recommend doing this because it may not be possible to get a Simcard anywhere else. They usually require an address and a letter from a local Indian organization stating why you need the Simcard. The airports are more relaxed so definitely do it right when you arrive. You can get basic local phones for around 1000 rupees (US $20) and if you’ve brought your phone from Europe or Australia it should work without a problem. An advantage of buying a cheap Indian cell phone is that it will be more resilient to power fluctuations when charging and you won’t mind so much if it gets lost or stolen.
3) Simcard has limited life
Usually a Simcard will stop working after 3 months of inactivity. They claim this is to stop terrorism. It is a bit annoying if you plan to come back next year. One way around it is to lend it to your friends who may be going to India within the 3 months after you get back.
4) 3G Simcard with data
It’s now possible to get simcards with plenty of fairly high speed Internet almost everywhere in India. You can also get USB mobile Internet dongle for your laptop which is really nice. Again it can be difficult to get outside of airports but ask around and you should be able to find some solution.
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