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Using phones in asia?

Travel Forums Asia Using phones in asia?

1. Posted by tamara1kt (Budding Member 20 posts) 1y

tamara1kt has indicated that this thread is about International Telephone Calls

Hello,
I am travelling around India and SE Asia for 6 months and have a few queries about the best way to purchase a phone/sim card. I will want to be calling people in England potentially (although I can always just skype etc. instead, which would probably be better), and I'll want to be able to call my travel partner in case we lose each other or whatever, and then potentially any people we meet whilst away. I won't be taking a smartphone, instead I will just use an old crappy phone because they hold charge a lot better, plus it won't matter so much if it is lost or stolen. But would it be best to buy one here, in the UK, then take it with me, or to buy one in the first place I go and take it everywhere, or to buy a phone in each country?
Then there's sim cards - I was told by the Vodafone man that I should buy a sim card there, not in England, which seems to make sense. But do you need to buy one in each different country, or would simply buying one in India (my first stop) suffice for the rest of SE Asia? Also, would it just be a pay-as-you-go type deal, where you just put some money on it when needed or is it different? Help please! Thank you :)

2. Posted by Vorion (Budding Member 16 posts) 1y

Hello, Tamara

I warmly welcome you to India and SE Asia.

Being connected with someone whom you trust is recommended, someone to call for help, it boosts our confidence levels and relieves travel anxiety. A basic phone will do the work. I also recommend taking a smartphone along with a dumb phone. Smartphones have become a part of Travelers essential itinerary and a good guide too.

Don't take out the Smartphone unless you need it. Use it only for things like Maps, planning, browsing about local places, etc. The fear of losing a phone is common. And we can't blame our feelings. It tends to lose (anything) when we don't pay attention to our environment and our belongings. It doesn't normally happen, but it happens.

In India, Airtel/Vodafone rules the market. But BSNL is the best when it comes to Pan India coverage. You get 3G in most of the places where even Airtel and Vodafone fail to connect. In remote villages, you only get 2G reception. Buy a phone in India, a dumb phone of your choice, but look for 900 and 1800 Mhz Band Frequency, same as the UK and European Bands. It works throughout the Asia, Africa, and Europe. For 3G, 2100 Mhz.

There are many dual SIM variant phones in the market, popular brands like Nokia(MS), Samsung, LG, etc. Price starting from Rs.1200 ( GBP 12) to Rs.2500. You can also get local brand phones like MicroMax, Karbonn, Spice.
Why dual SIM? Obviously, you know the reason. You can use your Home country SIM and Local country SIM at the same time. Both remain online at the same time. Simple!

I recommend pay as you go, we call it as Prepaid. Prepaid SIMs are very popular in Asia. The top-up shops are around the corners of all towns. As a traveler, I recommend you to keep the phone balance above Rs.200. You may not know when you need it badly. Especially, when going to remote villages, you can't expect recharge shops in all the villages.

Using the right discount pack (booster pack/Rate cutters) will give you discounts like 60-80% of the call rates. No pack for International SMS, the Standard Rate of Rs.5 per 160 character is applicable. Signing up for Postpaid number is a hassle, unnecessary responsibilities that come with the service. Don't get into one.

With the right pack, you can reduce local calls to Rs 0.30 per minute, STD calls (interstate) Rs.0.50, Roaming in other states of India would be Rs.1.00 for both incoming and outgoing calls, there is a pack for that too. Calls to the UK can be reduced as low as Rs.3/Minute. 3GB of 3G data for a month would be Rs.400-500.

For SIMs, you have to buy each one in the respective countries. You can use India SIM in other countries. But I recommend it because of the cost and fluctuation in the reception from area to area in a foreign land.

For any other details, feel free to ask. I would be happy to help you in anyway I can.

Have a wonderful time in India and SE Asia.

Regards,
Pravin

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jul-2015, at 08:51 by Vorion ]

3. Posted by Amarivera (Budding Member 6 posts) 1y

If I were you I wouldn't buy many celphones, it's just a waste of money and I would keep my current one and just buy a new SIM card that I can recharge in each country

4. Posted by tamara1kt (Budding Member 20 posts) 1y

Quoting Vorion

Being connected with someone whom you trust is recommended, someone to call for help, it boosts our confidence levels and relieves travel anxiety. A basic phone will do the work. I also recommend taking a smartphone along with a dumb phone. Smartphones have become a part of Travelers essential itinerary and a good guide too.

Don't take out the Smartphone unless you need it. Use it only for things like Maps, planning, browsing about local places, etc. The fear of losing a phone is common. And we can't blame our feelings. It tends to lose (anything) when we don't pay attention to our environment and our belongings. It doesn't normally happen, but it happens.

...

Pravin - thanks so much, your reply is really helpful! I will definitely take note of all of your advice. Thank you for taking the time

5. Posted by Vorion (Budding Member 16 posts) 1y

You are most welcome, Tamara.
All the best.

Pravin

6. Posted by Angelina01 (Budding Member 8 posts) 1y

Hey Tamara, thanks for starting this thread. I 'm planning to go visit SE Asia later this year and this information helps.
Cheers

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