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Sharell Cook

A Cell Phone Solution for Travelers From the US to India

By May 23, 2009

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Fortunately, coming from Australia, my cell phone is fully compatible with the Indian GMS cell phone network. All I need to do when I arrive in India is put an Indian SIM card into it. However, this isn't possible for travelers from the US. Even if you have a cell phone with a GSM carrier (T-Mobile and AT&T), the GSM network in India operates on a different frequency -- 900/1800 MHz.

As a result, I often get people from the US asking me for advice about how to maintain cell phone communications while they're in India. The cheapest and most convenient solution is to rent a cell phone and SIM card (or just a SIM card if your cell phone does work in India) from a company in the US.

I recently came across a Florida based company called Rebelfone, which has some attractive solutions. They're offering cell phones for rent for only $1 per day, and SIM cards (from the Idea network) for an upfront fee of $4.99 and no monthly fees for the first three months. What about the cost of calls? Outgoing local calls are 10 cents per minute, and outgoing calls to the US are 50 cents per minute. Incoming calls are free while you're in Delhi. Otherwise, they're 8 cents per minute.

What's also good about Rebelfone is that they have no contracts, no minimum commitments, post paid service, and around the clock customer support. They offer a price guarantee as well.

More information is available from the Rebelfone website.

Other India Travel FAQs:

September 30, 2009 at 10:26 am
(1) cesar says:

I use to contract the phone rental service with Altel Phone Rental. But… They have unbeatable rates for India! Thanks for the advice!

October 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm
(2) Johnathan says:

There are a lot of companies in the US that do this, I’ve rented from both cellhire.com and phonerentalusa.com with good rates and excellent service. My 2cents.

October 23, 2009 at 5:20 am
(3) goindia says:

Thanks for the feedback Jonathan! :-) It’s always good to know there are more options.

June 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm
(4) starman1695 says:

There are many quad-band (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) phones that can be purchased in the US.

March 8, 2012 at 9:10 am
(5) babu says:

Can We sign a contract with AT&T and take that mobile to another country
before the end of the contract??
what are the problems ?
i bought it with my Credit Card!
Do they Take all my money in my account ?
Please Help!

January 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm
(6) Suresh says:

It is easy

Most prepaid call rate in India, is 2 cents, per minute, maximum.

1. Buy a cell phone after you land in India. (All phones sold in India are unlocked).
2. Also buy a sim card. (Choose what carrier you need, Airtel prepaid, idea prepaid, bsnl prepaid, etcetera, there are several, check out their websites for their prepaid rate plans).
3. To buy a sim, ou will need an id, (copy of drivers licence or copy of passport). And a paper from your landlord or hotel that you are staying there.
4. You will be set up by the shop where you buy the phone and sim, and you will be talking in an hour.

Notes: Ask for a sim card that has life-long validity so that you will be able to use the same sim the next time you visit India.

A Sony smart phone may cost around R10,000.00 or $200.00. If you can bring along an unlocked gsm phone, you could save this money. If you have some gsm phones laying around, bring them along, you maybe able to get them unlocked.

Another thing, you will need atleast a year to know and really enjoy India. While here, observe the locals and try to dress like them, try to blend in, you will just be fine. I see a lot of grey color, grey shirt with top two or three buttons undone, no under shirt, grow a beard, Long plaited hair and salwar and kemmeesz for women, they are like exlarge pajamas. Dont forget to visit the southern parts of India. Try the local food, Breakfast: Idli or Dosha, with a sauze called saambar or chutney. There is also pooree for breakfast.

Lunch, most common is rice meals with several vegetable curries and fish curry.

Evening snack, Chaya (tea) and Vadaa.

Dinner, chappaathi and curry etcetera.

Eat with your hand, You will see a wash basin where you wash your hands before sit down to eat.

There is so much to say but if you are smart and keep your eyes open you will learn in a few days.

July 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm
(7) Rajani says:

I learn everyday!

I plan to visit New Delhi.
I have an old phone that I could use.
So are you saying that I should get it UNLOCKED here in the US? I think so as 6 yrs ago, I was charged Rs 4000 to get my US cell phone unlocked. I did without a phone sharing a phone with a friend. Please advise.
Also, I will not be in one place as I ahve to travel around India from New Delhi to Hyderabad to Mumbai to Chennai and I cannot give one address anywhere. Will the life long SIM card be given without a local address?
Thank you. As for dressing and eating, never a problem. I blend in so much that the locals say I must be a foreigner as I dress mroe Indian than they do:)

January 26, 2014 at 5:36 am
(8) High Fly Tourism says:

Explore India with our phone rental service. We provide phone on rent with prices as low as 15$/10days. We deliver as soon as you arrive in India so that you don’t need to go anywhere and we operate 24X7.
Incomings calls are free and making an outgoing call to us is only a quarter of dollar/minute.
Visit hftourism.com/phone-facility or write us at info@hftourism.com

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