Placing Teams in India? Tips for Keeping Them Connected

Sue Durio, Worldwide ERC® - Oct 08 2018
Published in: Ask the Experts

India is quickly amassing a reputation as a destination for global mobility work opportunities. And thanks to a rapidly expanding wireless network and mobile-first market, remote workers now have plenty of options to stay connected within and outside of the country. In fact, there are so many options that it can be somewhat daunting to the newly placed remote worker. If you are placing employees in India, here are a few tips to help them get and stay connected while there.

Related: Survey: Mobile Assignments on the Rise in India

SIM Cards are a Must

One of the first stops your employees will want to make upon arrival in India is to purchase a SIM card. There is no shortage of suppliers, starting with providers’ kiosks in the international airport after clearing the customs area. Recommend that your remote employees choose only a reputable vendor, such as one of the large vendor retail shops downtown or in malls.

Your remote workers will find that India offers numerous options for carriers. According to Android, Airtel is the leading carrier in the country, and offers a robust network for LTE, 3G, and calls. “To pick up an Airtel SIM, you'll need to head to a retail store near your location with a copy of your passport, visa, and a photograph. You'll be able to walk out with a SIM card in under 10 minutes, and the number will be activated in an hour or two,” they write.  

Vodafone’s Pre-Paid Sim card is another popular option, as is the relatively new Jio 7, a 4G-only mobile network introduced in 2016.

Documentation is Critical

Regardless of the provider or location you choose, make sure your employees know what to bring with them. They should be prepared with the following documentation:

  • Passport and a copy of the personal details page for the vendor to keep
  • 2 color passport photographs
  • Indian visa and a photocopy for the vendor to keep
  • Proof of their home address in their country of residence
  • Proof of where they will be staying in India

Choose the Right Phone

You, and your remote India employees, don’t have to be experts on phones to be able to stay connected in India. But, you do need to be aware of some basics. For instance, there are three bands of coverage in India: Band 3 (1800MHz), Band 40 (2300MHz), and Band 5 (850MHz). If your employees plan to buy a mobile phone to use while working in India, they should be sure it supports all three bands.

In addition, it’s a good idea to look for a phone with two SIM card slots. “India's 29 states and seven union territories are broken down into 22 telecom circles, which are largely defined by state boundaries. Moving between circles incurs roaming charges for calls and texts, which is a main reason why phones with two SIM card slots are preferred in the country,” notes the Android Central blog. “Having two SIM slots available makes it that much more convenient for those traveling between two circles to cut down on charge.

And if they plan to bring a phone from home, make sure your employees contact their carrier before traveling to India to be sure it is unlocked.

An Option for Shorter Stays

If you are making short-term assignments, you might suggest that employees consider Trabug. It’s a phone specifically for tourists coming to India. Trabug is a smartphone powered by a 4G connection. It's compatible with all Indian networks so they will not need to get a local SIM card nor need to buy another phone to stay connected. Trabug ships the employee’s phone to their hotel or other designated location, and it’s waiting for them upon arrival. Note that these plans top out at 80 days, but Trabug will customize plans for employees with longer stays.

Related: Navigate Mobility in a Protectionist World at the India Global Mobility Summit

Prepare Your Employees

Getting and keeping your remote employees connected in India is not complicated if you plan ahead and have the right information. Hiring managers may want to provide India employee placements with a “getting connected” guidebook or FAQs to help them navigate the options and process.

Want more great information about making the most of mobile assignments in India? Consider attending the India Global Mobility Summit this October in Bengaluru. Register today to reserve your spot and hear from mobility professionals with extensive experience working in India.