Keeping in Touch in India
- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals India Guide (PDF)
Expats shouldn't have much trouble keeping in touch with family and friends while they're in India, especially if they live in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Internet, telephone, mobile phone, and postal services are available and service standards are generally good.
Internet in India
Internet speeds in India generally lag behind other large economies. Nevertheless, broadband usage is steadily growing and even though a relatively small percentage of the population has access to high speeds and fixed lines, this still translates to millions of people. There are numerous companies and services to choose from, expats shouldn't have too much of a problem finding something that suits them. Costs vary between companies and depend on the package, but they generally increase with download speeds and the amount of data being used.
When out and about in big cities, expats will frequently come across free WiFi hotspots. However, internet speeds can be slow. Another option is internet cafes, of which there are many to choose from.
Landline telephones in India
There are multiple fixed-line providers in India, including the state-run BSNL and MTNL as well as various private companies.
To get a line installed, expats will need to fill out an application form and submit certain documents, including proof of identification and residence. Once that's done, the line will be activated in a few days.
Mobile phones in India
Mobile telephones are the most common form of communication in India, offering affordable packages and coverage in remote areas of the country.
Owing to its size, India is divided into various cellular zones that are often called 'circles'. These usually correspond with the different states, but not always. Each circle has its own dialling code and inter-circle calls might carry extra charges.
The largest operators in India include Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, Jio, and BSNL. Payment plans can either be pre-paid or post-paid, but navigating the different available packages can be challenging. If at all unsure, locals can often give good recommendations.
Postal service in India
India Post is the national postal service and is generally reliable. Regular post usually takes two to three days between major cities or neighbouring states, and up to six days to the rest of the country. At higher prices, expats can send registered post and speed post at their local post office. Private courier companies also offer competitive rates, with same-day delivery in metros and next-day delivery to most towns.
English media in India
Indian newspapers are printed in all of its major languages, including English. The Times of India is published nationally. The Hindu is popular in the south and The Hindustan Times has a large readership in the north. Some foreign newspapers are available in Indian cities, but they may arrive a day or two later than the date they're released in their home countries.