Internet, Telephone, Post

ndia is known for its IT industry, knowledgeable software engineers and programmers. However, in terms of the total population of over one billion people, only a small proportion of the population – less than 10% – have access to the internet. The use of computers is concentrated in the cities, but this is increasing at a rapid pace. Meanwhile, India is in 4th place in the global ranking with 81 million users. As for mobile communication, India is already ranking first. More than 600 million people are connected by cell phones.
Internet cafes are available in all Indian cities and even in many villages, they are so numerous that one need not look far for one. Due to the recent terrorist attacks, however, strict safety regulations apply here. You have to identify yourself if you want to enter an internet cafe and state your ID number. So do not forget your passport. You have to pay 20 to 30 cents for one hour.

Almost 40% of all Internet users in India rely on Internet cafes. Only a minority have a direct connection via cable. Internet-enabled smart phones are a good alternative for many.

Wifi Hotspots in India are primarily found at airports. A list of hotspots can be found at: http://www.wifihotspotlist.com/browse/intl/2000044/
Mobile Internet using data cards or USB flash drives is now offered by many providers such as Reliance, Tata, Airtel and BSNL. The speed is acceptable and it allows the use of Skype or YouTube. Reliance for instance offers a good coverage, so that you can use the mobile Internet service in all major and small towns in India.

Cyber cafe

Cyber cafe inside

Cyber cafe inside

Public telephones

Public phones are found on almost every street corner, many shops have a small red coin operated telephone, from which you can make calls within India. For International calls you have to look out for yellow signboard with STD-ISD printed on it. Such phones are plentiful and they work without any problem. Its still cheaper via the so-called Net-phone providers, found mostly in Internet cafes.Here, you can make calls to Europe for a few Rupees per minute. The cheapest way is of course to use Skype on the computer.

Telephone booth

Foreign cell phone

in general, your cell phone from your home country will also work in India, as most providers have roaming agreements with their Indian counterparts. However, the call charges are exorbitant; you should expect to pay several Euros per minute.  For emergencies, however, it makes sense.

Indian cell phone

The number of registered Indian cell phones (known here as: “Mobiles”) is now over 600 million. You can get a cell phone for a small amount, for under 20 €, used phones are even cheaper, and the call charges are so moderate that even the poorer population can afford a cell phone. In rural areas, hardly any effort is made to expand the fixed network coverage, since building a cellular network is naturally a lot easier and more cost-effective. Coverage is generally good, but there are always areas, especially when you are travelling, where there is no reception.

With an Indian cell phone you can also make relatively cheap calls to your home country,  the connection is generally clear and without problem. As with mobile Internet, cell phones too have prepaid and post-paid plans. In the prepaid plans you pay in advance and get talk time. Prepaid vouchers for registered cell phones can be bought at almost every street corner; also many shops sell them.
But, of course, you have to first get a SIM card from one of the cellular service providers. The biggest service providers are Reliance, Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Hutch, Tata and BSNL. Reliance and Airtel have very good coverage. You can use such a SIM card in your own cell phone so long as it has no SIM lock or provider lock. To buy a SIM card you must have a fixed Indian address, which will be confirmed. An Indian cell phone number for tourists comes into question only if you stay in one place for some months (a tourist visa after all is valid for 6 months). Once you have a SIM card, you can make cheap calls within India and abroad.

To call India from abroad  

Through Call-by-call providers you can make cheap calls to India.  Call quality is generally good, and if not, simply choose the number of the next provider.  The country code for India is: 0091

Post

Post offices in India do not have a very good reputation. There are problems, especially in the case of parcels coming to India from abroad, as it often happens that they are opened at the customs and plundered. In the case of letters it works better. Letters or postcards to or from India take about 5-7 days and almost always arrive. A letter to Europe or the US costs about 90 cents, a postcard only about 10 cents.

You can send registered letters through the Indian post office and also make remittances within India.

Letter box


Courier Services

Much of the mail and parcel traffic in India today takes place by courier. They offer the safest and fastest service with tracking facility, but are also much more expensive than regular mail. For shipments within Pune you pay about 30 cents and to other places in India 1 €. Shipments abroad are really expensive. When you send a Din-A Envelop with documents to Europe for instance, you will have to pay about 20 €. DHL is one of the largest providers in India, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Post. DTDC is a little cheaper.

Currier office

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