Given we are off to India soon (for up to 12 months), I am wondering whether it would be worthwhile taking my old mobile phone. Not sure if it's even possible, but am thinking it could be easy to send text messages to loved ones at home.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this matter regarding feasability, cost, etc?
I reckon if it's not sim locked and triband, there is certainly no harm in taking it. Depending on how long you are going, you could probably get a prepaid sim card in India which would end up saving you tons of money in roaming costs as well....
Most mobile networks in Asia are on GSM 900/1800, with the exception of Japan and Korea (any other?). I agree with Sam that you should get a prepaid SIM card, which is generally cheaper than to go on roaming, since you'll be there for about 12 months.
Well as most said it is better to buy a prepaid GSM Connection from the place where you gonna be most in india. With that connection you can roam any where in india and even outside india in case you are travelling to neighbouring countries.
So bring in a sim "not locked" phone which has triband so you could just plug in a sim from any of the indian providers. Depending on the place you gonna be most the suggested connections are Hutch or Airtel which has more states covering. You will have to produce some address proof which has also photograph to make the connection lively for sometime.
Please note that India has many zones (roughly every major state is a zone). So you are on "India roaming" in case you buy phone in one state and go to another state. Though it will still be far more cheaper than International Roaming. As already said, take the prepaid from the place you are going to be most (and hope that you are there when you land up???)
The best option though is to make calls from STD PCO booths. They are every where and it comes around Rs.12/min (for US/europe)(or less if you are lucky to get IP booth).
Keep your mobile for emergency. Using mobile is more expensive than using the STD/ISD booths, especially while roaming (inter-state).
Internet is also easily available in case you want to send text. You can get as low as Rs.5/15 mins. Surely more time consuming than SMS, but you will be checking mails anyway, wont you.
SMS charges whithout roaming is Rs. 5 for international SMS. On Roaming it may be Rs. 7
So make your choices