Getting an international SIM card means cheaper call rates and assured coverage across borders as compared to the rates offered by your home provider. The U.S. is a popular travel destination and Indian cellular service providers have many options that are customized for the U.S. traveler. These include international SIM cards, roaming facility with the existing SIM card and single-use calling cards. Hence, finding a convenient cell phone plan for an Indian traveler to the U.S. is simple and accessible.
An important aspect to keep in mind is that many of these international SIM cards for mobile phones are specific to the country you are visiting. Thus, it is important to purchase the right kind of the SIM card for the U.S. trip. Alternatively, global SIM cards work in most of all countries.
Local SIM Card Options Within The U.S. For Indian Visitors
While evaluating whether to use an existing Indian SIM card in the U.S. you should be aware of your alternatives available locally in the U.S. Having to buy a local SIM card in the U.S. has its own advantages. A valid passport is all that is required to purchase a local SIM card at any U.S. airport. This can be a prepaid option that will be usable for limited period. Multiple such SIM cards can be purchased for different cost denominations.
While SIM cards are available from AT&T, T-Mobile is the most popular option for temporary calling cards in the U.S. and known for its inexpensive options.
Verizon and Sprint services might also be available for international visitors to the U.S. but they have a more complicated system and not the most compatible with all cell phones.
Buying local also means running around for a SIM card as soon as you land at your destination.
How To Keep In Touch With Family Using Indian SIM Cards In The U.S.
Utilizing an Indian SIM card in the U.S. is also an option to keep in touch with family and friends back home. You can either activate the ‘roaming’ feature on your phone wherein your provider offers cellular service abroad.
Indian service providers like Airtel and Vodafone offer some plans that allows the mobile to be used abroad to receive texts and phone calls from anywhere. This, however, requires you to have an Airtel or Vodafone number.
Below is a list of preferred international/global SIM card options from India that can be used in the U.S.
- Airtel World SIM
Airtel is a popular option in India and as such provides a variety of inexpensive international SIM cards for the international traveler. You have the option to choose from One-day validity, Ten-days validity or Thirty-days validity, each offering free data, some amount of free calling and unlimited incoming calls and text messages.
Airtel allows you to retain your Indian mobile number. Any calls being made to your Airtel India number are automatically forwarded to the new Airtel number you access in the U.S.
You can buy a plan that suits you here.
- Reliance Passport SIM
Reliance Passport SIM offers both postpaid or prepaid SIM cards. While it doesn’t retain the original Indian mobile number, it allows you to own the international number permanently and can be used in India as well. The one advantage of Reliance Passport SIM is that it allows you to set a credit limit on the SIM thus, avoiding huge phone bills after your trip to the U.S.
You can buy the Reliance World SIM here.
- T-SIM Global SIM Card
Offering an affordable global SIM card, T-SIM Global SIM Card offers over 100 free minutes, text messaging options and over 1 GB data. Apart from the U.S. this SIM card can be used in 164 other countries as well.
You can buy the T-SIM Global SIM Card here
- Clay Global SIM Card
Clay Global SIM card has free incoming calls with a limited airtime for outgoing and local calls. They offer the SIM card for free once you purchase one of their international plans.
To buy any of these global SIM cards, you will need copies of your passport, visa and air tickets.
Even though these global SIM cards are great deals, there is no denying the fact that international SIM cards for cell phones are more cost-effective, if your trip only involves a single country.
You can buy the Clay Global SIM Card here
With unlimited local and international calls, Lyca has a bunch of cheap options for global SIM cards. If your tip is limited to just the U.S., purchasing one of Lyca’s plans will be the most cost-effective,
You can buy the Lyca Global SIM Card here
Don’t Want To Change SIM Cards, Here’s What You Can Do On Your Visit To The U.S.
Various locations in the U.S. provide free Wi-Fi. Using your WhatsApp account for text messages and calls while using Skype for video-chats is an easy way out to keep up with your communications with family back home.
If your trip to the U.S. is very short and you want to (only) receive text messages, you can convert your plan from postpaid to pre-paid. If your cellular service provider has a tie-up with a local U.S. service provider, you might be able to receive calls and texts. You won’t be able to take calls.
This facility can be activated only while still in India and should be first confirmed with your service provider before you start your journey to the U.S. This will allow you to retain your Indian mobile number while having the ability to receive text messages.
If you wish to have a postpaid mobile phone, you should activate ‘international roaming’ by making a deposit, usually around INR 15K. This amount is refundable.