Making phone calls in and from India

Being away from home in a foreign country, its natural for one to connect to the loved ones every now and then. Making that phone call home would actually reinvigorate you for the rest of the journey in India. Since making a call comes under the very basic needs of a person, one should definitely be well- informed of the options.

So what are the options available while travelling in India for making phone calls? Let’s find out! 

Most hotels in India will have the option for you to make long distance calls from the hotel room. But it is best advised to avoid using these facility from the hotels as they may charge huge amounts on the pretext of premium rates and service charges. So unless money is not an issue, there are other affordable avenues to explore for making calls in and out of India.

Making phone calls in India
Making phone calls in India

How to make a phone call

Making calls from India has become effortless and easy on the pocket. One can look for STD or ISD booths across India. Usually every locality; every nook and corner will have shops with STD and ISD booths. You can make local, national and international calls from these outlets. The booths will have a meter and you will be billed for the duration of your call without any overheads.

Sometimes at the STD booths, the call is put through a net phone and the regular rate is charged. You can differentiate that from a regular call if you get an echo while calling and even ask the operator for switching to regular call or charge accordingly.

Buying a Mobile phone or SIM card in India

Cell phones or mobile phones could also be used by procuring the pre-paid SIM Card from a local Service Provider. This to my opinion is the best option as you would always have a phone with you and make calls at your own convenience at any time of the day. Moreover call charges that are offered are also very consumer friendly hence this would for sure be light on your expenses too.

There are various service provides; Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Idea, TATA to name a few.  Most shops will need to see proof/receipt of where you are staying such as your hotel, your yoga ashram or guest house. You can always ask your hotel to assist you in buying a SIM. Make sure you have all these details with you otherwise no one will sell you a phone or a SIM card in India. If a shop owner says they can’t sell you one because you are a foreigner then just look into another shop.

You should remember that if you are a foreigner, you will have to provide passport copies with photographs and valid visa of course for pre-paid connections and have a local Indian address. This is to avoid illegal activities in India. You will have to verify your connection, make sure you do this correctly. Make sure your mobile phone is un-locked for all networks. If you are a foreigner traveller in India, it may not easy to buy a SIM card. If you have roaming facilities, then use it. But the fact is that even the tiniest of shops in India will sell SIM cards. You just need to deal with the bureaucracy.

In addition, when you step out of the customs at the IGI airport in Delhi or other any other major airport in India, there will be a stall where you can buy pre-paid SIM cards.

Be connected always!

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90 thoughts on “Making phone calls in and from India”

  1. Hello Shalu,

    Another great post on Indian Travel facility. I also agree with you. Calling from hotel is certainly wastage of money. Local shop or booth are the best place for ISD call.

    The foreigners will benifit from your post 🙂

  2. Yes, Buying a new connection is better option than wasting your money @ STD booth or hotel land-lines. India is a country where mobile connections are cheaper than basic needs.
    Happy calling.:)

  3. Hi Shalu jee

    The better choice for them is to buy SIM, but will they be able to buy – with many people hovering around them to extract money on one pretext or another.A big question?

    BTW- The Lunch & dinner will be on me – one has to be in Pind baluchi – Choice will be yours.

    Thanks for sharing this.


  4. Hi Shalu

    It is true when a person away from his/her family phone is the best option to contact their love ones. Land Line phones or fixed phones are best options as their is not any harmful radiations. We always try to use our basic mobile phones whenever at home. Mobile phones produce EM waves which are harmful for women and children. Thats why in developed countries we can see easily STD/PCO which are difficult to find in our country. Moreover always try to avoid long conversation on mobile phones. It is very important for health on long term. As these radiations lead to very serious diseases. So Friends use Basic Phones ans stay healthy 🙂

    • Ivaan
      Land lines has to be best choice but sometimes tourists to India may not have access to it unless they are staying with a friend. I agree that in developed countries, one do not find STD/PCO booths. I think its typical of South Asian countries to have them.
      Thanks for your comment.

  5. Thanks for helping so many of us for explaing the telephone calls …as we move into some new cities or countries your tips are proven worthy not in India but are good guidelines in other countries too

  6. Thanks Shalu for this info. I was wondering whether I’d be able to get a SIM card when I arrive at Delhi airport this weekend and you just confirmed it. I used an Airtel SIM card last year in Kerala 200Rps. which included 99Rps. worth of credit, which lasts ages. However-if I remember correctly-should you not use the SIM for 3 months, then you need to go through the process of buying a new one when you return to India.



    • Terry

      If you don’t use your phone for 90 days then its automatically deactivated. Some are now saying that it gets deactivated in a month if there is no activity.

      You might have to get another one. But the best way is to find out when you reach there by starting your phone with the sim in it.
      Best wishes

  7. this is good but it is a traditional way a little bit. for me i prefer to buy a Sim card locally. by this you can forget the trouble of going until this place for a call. no every things become easy and quick . also technology make life as comfortable.

  8. Yes of coarse taking local connection is a great option. Different mobile companies provide offers on ISD calls also, so its good to know the details and choose whatever best suits you. Telephone booths are not easily accessible now a days, So I don’t think so its a good option. Agreed?

  9. Well I am an Indian Proud Indian. You have shared such a wonderful article about making calls in India and in India. This would help lots of tourist who is willing to visit India . Keep up the good work

  10. If I ever visit India and I will at some point, this information will be very helpful indeed. It is really important to be able to communicate via phone, when you are in a foreign country. Thank you for sharing this with us. Cheers!

  11. great post it’s very useful and helpful information about making phone call in India ,it is a very useful information for tourist to reduce their extra expanses in making isd calls.its true that hotel and restaurants charge very expansive rates ,,using public telephone booth is best idea and it is less expansive

  12. Internet phone service is an efficient and faster means of communication that connects people over internet that too at very affordable and low rates.

  13. I have listened many times about making phone calls in India. You have shared interesting topic.,,. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Now-a-days people use smart phones, which has internet, thus people can make a call anytime and talk to their loved ones. Generally websites use Gmail to make these international phone calls facility, so that users can use it anytime, with no waiting time.

  15. Phone call is effective way to communicate with people. There are different means of communication, but phone is the fastest way. With change in time and technology, it is the era of making PC to phone calls and getting in touch as and when you want.

  16. Hi Shalu, Now a days India is going very forward in the direction of communication. It is good to us every people has their phone and able to connect from one people to another. Cost of new connection is also reduced. Hence almost STD and land line phones are at their last stage due to low cost handsets.
    Keep Posting.

  17. If you are Traveling or on a business visit to India, a prepaid plan would be ideal, Evan if you plan to stay for as long as 4-6 months, a prepaid plan would be a cheaper and easier alternative.

  18. Hello,
    The blog is so nice… It gives nice information about phone calls….. It’s a great idea because nowadays most of people use mobiles and Tabs… I think it is good because you cannot use the number it is automatically deactivated… I thankful to the admin of this blog…

    Regards Chhaya

  19. Hi shalu, buying sim card is better option than using std booths etc specially if u stay in india for longer time. But now days are gone when people have to stand outside of booth and then they have to put 1 or 2 rupees coins for dialing. In cities like Noida, gurgaon, Meerut it will be very hard to find std booth. But on the other side if you travel to chennai, then you will realize that there are still std booth. Now according to the latest news Thailand had carrier based sim. Now thailand people will be having carrier free SIM. soon it may be applied in india. But those who all have the smartphone they didn’t need of think all this they straightly goes and recharge a data pack and use voip apps like BOLT, Skype, Viber,FB

  20. Hi Shalu jee.

    It’s true that calling home when being away on a tour or journey, is one of the basic need of a person and to get this need fulfilled she can not bother even to spend some extra bucks to make that phone call.But why to spend more money when cheaper options are available.Local phone booths are best option,if you cannot avail of mobile sim and you can find them on every corner of street. A very informative article indeed..great work Shalu jee.

  21. Hmmm Shalu, I do agree making ISD from hotels and restaurants is so much expensive in India Meerut it will be very hard to find std booth. But on the other side if you travel to chennai, then you will realize that there are still std booth. Now according to the latest news Thailand had carrier based sim.

  22. Holla author of this blog, I am from germany and I am going to come Delhi in India for my company’s work. I am trying to learn some basic things about lifestyle of India. I hope this things help me when I will be in India.

  23. Another great post from you mam, you have explained it quite awesomely. Foreigners suffer a lot and are cheated by the hotel owners. I am sharing this post of yours with my foreign friends who are planning to visit India 🙂

  24. Hello shalu mam,This is my first visit to your blog and your posts are simply superb.This post will surely help lot of foreigners who are planning to visit india.Thank you for sharing such an useful info mam.

  25. Good post Shalu mam. Getting a phone and a native sim card is the first requirement when we are in a new country. This would be very helpful for those all who are planning to visit India. I would really love to recommend this article to two of my friends in Amsterdam who are planning a trip to India. Thanks mam!

  26. Thanks for the very informative post about making phone calls in India I will now know how to do so I’m thinking of travelling there that was one of my main concerns THANKS!

  27. first of all i would like to thanks all of you for the great post and keep updates. and i will share with my all friends that great ideas!

  28. This is one of those articles that every foreigner might read and have a go as once they got stuck in between at any place they have to be aware what to do in that situation if they don’t have any other source of communication.

  29. Hi,
    This is a great and informative post it will be extremely helpful for the tourists you always share something great for tourists

  30. Thanks for sharing such outstanding and an enthusiastic information with us. Your research and collection of information is really exceptional. The article covers full of great knowledge and well authored. Useful sharing!

  31. Very useful Guide for All Over Visitors in India, And also Your Explain to “best advised to avoid using Calling facility from the Hotels”.Thanks For Awareness for All Tourist In India.

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