I am a foreigner traveling to India and I need a cellphone there. What are my options?
You can take your current US cell phone to India and just use it if it is enabled for International calling (contact your service provider to make sure). However it is sure to be expensive to use (a phone call between India and US may cost between $1.29 and $2.49 per minute).
There is an affordable alternative that can save you as much as 90% of the usage cost. You can use your US phone by replacing its SIM card serviced by a local operator. Your phone must be triband GSM and ‘frequency unlocked’ (contact your US service provider to find out). In case your US phone does not confirm to this, you can buy a handset (a Micromax phone can cost as low as $20) and you can use a local SIM card with it. Preferred local service providers are airtel, reliance and vodafone and you can get a prepaid connection for the duration of your stay.
There are numerous places to get a handset and a SIM card in India starting from the Airport where you arrive in India. You will have to fill out a registration form, submit your picture and a copy of your passport and have a verifiable local address. It takes about 24 to 48 hours to activate your service after all requirements have been completed and approved. Make sure you carry ample photocopies of your passport and pictures from here as you might need them for administrative purpose.