How to buy a SIM Card at Chennai Airport 2024: Best Plans + Updated Price

This article is written for international travelers who will be arriving at Chennai International Airport and need cellular connectivity during their visit to plan trips or stay in touch with contacts. 

Guide to buy a sim card at Chennai airport

In this post, readers will learn where and how to easily purchase a SIM card at Chennai Airport to have mobile access, as well as alternative options if they are unable to at the airport.

I. Can I Buy a SIM Card at Chennai International Airport (MAA)?

Yes, you can buy SIM card at Chennai Internationnal airport.

Buying a SIM card at Chennai International Airport is convenient and saves time. You can start using your phone immediately after landing, ensuring you have local connectivity for navigation and communication right away.

However, SIM cards at the airport can be more expensive compared to buying them in the city or online. The data plans available at the airport might also offer less value or fewer options than those found elsewhere.

If your phone does not support eSIM, this is the fastest and easiest way to get internet access for travel in India.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Chennai Airport?

Chennai airport map
Chennai airport map

At Chennai Airport, you can find SIM card booths from top providers in the arrival halls. Seek out the Airtel, Vi, Jio, and BSNL booths just before immigration for a fast post-landing connection.

Chennai airport map
Where to buy SIM card at Chennai Airport

What to prepare: Passport or local ID and cash (preferred by most kiosks)

Cost: Prepaid SIM packages start at INR 199.

Pros:

  • Convenient – immediate purchase upon arrival.
  • No need for planning.

Cons:

  • Can involve waiting in line, especially during peak arrival times.
  • Limited plan options compared to online purchases.
  • Cash might not be readily available for all travelers.

Our recommendation: If you do not know which provider to choose, we recommend Jio mobile operator.

III. Do SIM Card Shops At Chennai Airport Open After Midnight?

No, the airport does not have many nighttime arrivals, SIM shops here (Airtel, Jio, BSNL) will be closed before midnight. This means if you arrive late at night, you might not be able to buy a SIM card from those stores.

IV. Chennai Airport SIM Cards Price

You can buy a SIM card at MAA Airport for just ₹269, which includes 2 GB of data per day for 28 days. Below is a popular data plan from Jio that you might consider:

Jio data plan
Jio data plan

The most popular tourist SIM card plans at MAA Airport are offered by the three major mobile network operators: Airtel, Jio, BSNL.

Here’s a comparison table of popular tourist SIM card options available at Chennai Airport, including Airtel, Jio, Vi (Vodafone Idea), and BSNL:

NetworkPlan NameValidityDataSMSPrice (USD)Price (INR)
AirtelAirtel Xstream Prepaid eSIM (4GB Daily)30 Days4GB/Day100 SMS/Day9741
JioJio Welcome Offer28 Days10GB100 SMS/Day7577
Vi Vi™ RED (Data + Talk)28 Days2GB/DayUnlimited11891
BSNLBSNL Tourist SIM30 Days10GBUnlimited8655

Notes:

  • Prices may vary due to vendors and promotions.
  • Table based on public info, not exhaustive.
  • Compare prices from various vendors before buying.

V. Registration Process When Buying a SIM card at Chennai International Airport and What to Prepare

Good preparation makes the registration process easier. Here are some things you need to know.

Preparation:

  • Documents:
    • Photocopy of your passport
    • Photocopy of your Indian visa
    • One passport-size photograph
    • Proof of residence in your home country (if your passport doesn’t have your address) – e.g., ID card, driver’s license
  • Knowledge:
    • Choose a provider based on your needs (data, calls, etc.) and compare plans beforehand.
    • Have an unlocked phone compatible with Indian networks.

Registration Process:

  1. Locate a SIM card vendor
  2. Choose your plan
  3. Present documents
  4. Fill out the form
  5. Verification and activation
  6. Payment

This process can be complicated, and many tourists don’t like sharing personal information. An easier option is to buy an international SIM card online before you leave or use an eSIM, which doesn’t need a passport.

VI. India eSIM for Chennai – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Chennai Airport

Gigago eSIM India
Gigago eSIM India

With some drawbacks of buying a SIM card at Chennai International Airport such as limited options and overpriced services, right now, eSIM is your best option.

Strengths of India eSIM by Gigago
Strengths of India eSIM by Gigago

In this way, Gigago stands out as the top eSIM provider for visitors to any country. For India, Gigago has various data plans, starting at 3GB for 30 days at $14.50

Gigago provides many India eSIM plans for tourists with range from $14.50$29.90 , so there’s an option for everyone, no matter how much data you need or how long you’ll be in India.

VII. Can I Buy Tourist SIM Cards Outside of Chennai Airport?

Yes, you can buy a SIM card outside the airport with our recommendation:

  • Mobile phone stores: Several mobile phone stores are located near the airport, including:
    • Fathima Mobiles (known for good customer service)
    • Airways cell city / Jio sim center
    • Karpaga Vinayagar Telecom (limited online presence but good reviews)
  • Malls: Malls near the airport, like Grand Mart, might have mobile phone stores selling SIM cards.

VIII. FAQs about SIM Card at Chennai Airport

Are there any language barriers when purchasing a SIM card at Chennai Airport?

While English is widely understood in major airports like Chennai, you might encounter vendors who are more comfortable speaking Hindi or Tamil. Don’t hesitate to use simple phrases or ask for clarification if needed.

Can I use the SIM card to make international calls?

Yes, you can make international calls using your Indian SIM card. However, international call rates can vary significantly, so be sure to check the specific charges beforehand to avoid unexpected costs.

What should I do with the SIM card after my trip to get rid of it safely?

It’s really important to throw away the SIM card in a safe way to prevent any security problems or harm to the environment. Many official stores, like the ones at the airport, have ways to safely throw away old SIM cards.

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