This is excellent news for foreign tourists coming to India. Tourists who apply for an e-visa to India will now get pre-activated free SIM cards. This is a brilliant move since getting a new SIM card isn’t as easy as getting one in many other countries we’ve been to before.
These SIM cards, launched in partnership with state-owned BSNL will initially be provided to foreign tourists arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. This service will soon be extended to 15 other airports where e-visa is applicable.
The good part about these SIM cards is that they come with a talktime of ₹50 and 50MB of data since you don’t have to run around for local currency or stand in queue for a phone to make those calls to your loved ones, coordinating with your taxi and so on. BSNL’s service is good as long as you don’t have to “talk” to them, and you get signal even at places where Airtel and Vodafone fail.
We are told that BSNL will be collecting a copy of the e-visa and the first page of the passport before providing the pre-loaded SIM. I hope they take scanned/soft copies of the respective documents and not force tourists to bring printouts. We’ll have to wait and watch to see how that unfolds.
I love what the Indian Tourism Department is doing, first with the e-visas and now with the free SIM cards. FYI, citizens of 161 countries can avail the e-visa facility for travelling to India.