Getting Mobile Internet in Goa

The mobile internet in Goa has greatly improved and you are unlikely to be far from a shop selling 3/4G dongles and prepaid SIM cards. You may not get the best broadband speed in Goa, but we had little trouble running an internet based business on a 3G dongle. We also regularly used video conferencing and watched some BBC TV via a slow proxy.

 

WHAT  YOU NEED AS AN INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLER TO GET CONNECTED

Getting a prepaid SIM and dongle in India is a slightly more bureaucratic than in the West. Experiences differ according to providers and their agents,  but with some preparation all should be fine.  Here what you may need

  • A photocopy of your passport.
  • A photocopy of your visa. (many shops have photocopying machines and will charge around Rs.5 for making you a copy – if they have electricity)
  • A Passport sized photograph.
  • Proof;of where you are staying in India. (Our shop accepted our landlords mobile number, but try to get a note from who is providing your accommodation or the  front-desk).
  • Proof of residency in your home country. (i.e. a utility bill or some other official document with your address)
  • Your original passport for reference.

More recently the Indian Government restricted providers to selling packages with SIM connectivity for longer than 3 months. Expect to pay around RS. 3,000 – 4,000 (£35 – £50) for a dongle and some pre-charged credit. (Update as 20/12/2013 this does not seem to have been enforced. We have 6 months on our package. However, the Government have taken charge of activating data cards and you need to wait 3 days from purchase to be able to make that phone call to get started.)

 Top Tip: Use a shop or agent close to you. Although it should only take 10-20 minutes to get you connected, your continued service depends on the agent submitting your details.

 Another Tip:  Pack a long USB cable for laptop use. You usually get a short one with your dongle, but having a long one allowed us to find the best spot in our apartment (well actually we dangled it over our balcony).

 Scam Alert: We were sold a “special  deal” where we would supposedly get automatic monthly top-ups. No such package existed and we were charged for credit that never came. If possible, it is worth checking in advance the online rates for your planned provider as shops will show out of date tariffs – if it suits them. Here’s the data packages for our provider Reliance.

WHO IS THE BEST INTERNET PROVIDER FOR GOA?

You are probably best to ask locally and base your choice on the experience of others using internet where you are staying:

Reliancewas our choice as they were the only provider (in 2012) who did not charge roaming when traveling to other Indian states.  Additionally other dongle users and shops in Benaulim South Goa told us they were the most reliable. We had some connection issues when we stayed in another guesthouse there, but the beach was a reliable spot. It appeared to perform well when we toured in North and South Goa. (Update our experience using Reliance in January 2014 in South Goa has been incredibly frustrating. Mostly unusable and their customer service repeated say it will be “definitely” be fixed in so many hours and it never is. Interestingly they also claim to have no return policy.  Our internet shop as stop selling Reliance because of complaints

Tata DoCoMo  (Tata Proton).  We used a Tata proton back in 2008 when connection speeds were generally 2G and it was reliable. Judging by the amount of advertising in Goa and the fairly positive comments on internet forums it is a contender.  Update 15/03 2016 testing again in 2015 it was very poor for 3G, although it was being used by local beach shacks for their customers).

Airtel –  is the most popular network in India. We used them in Mumbai and it gave us the best dongle speeds we have experienced (around 4-5 MB per second).  However, it never connected for more than a second or two in Goa (North or South).   We were not happy with their customer service or that they sold us a Mumbai SIM that (should it have worked) would carry a heavy roaming charge where we planned to use it.  On reflection, maybe we should have taken notice of the  extremely irate customer in their shop when we were buying!.

Vodafone   is the second most popular provider in India and and in 2011 the rolled out 3G to Goa, but we can not comment on their service.  Update 15/03 2016. We now use Vodafone which for our area (Benaulim Beach) has the fastest speed (approximately 5-6 mbps). It’s much faster and more reliable than BSNL (the Indian Government owned Broadband). It is the most expensive for data too.  I have seen other recent reports from travellers across Goa finding this to be the best service.

  One extra tip is that you can buy a dongle from Idea which unlike other provider is not locked can be used to host other SIM cards. This is what we did to try out different services.

 

Have you used 3G or 4G internet in Goa. If so tell us about your experience?

8 Comments

  1. C Pennington 5 October, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    I found these tips on Goa very informative and interesting as 4 of us are travelling to Goa in December.

  2. C Pennington 5 October, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    Very good website, very interesting and informative

  3. Anna 16 January, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Thanks for a useful post. I am based in Anjuna and having trouble getting online and find most bars pretty slow too – do you where you can buy a Reliance or Tata Dongle from?

    • David Waumsley 7 February, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

      So sorry I picked up on this comment very late. I don’t have an answer as I don’t really know Anjuna.

      Yes, many of bars are just running one dongle plugged in to a router so it can be shared. It is next to useless but allows them to say they have it. Some are better.

      We have broadband now from the only supplier in Goa – BSNL. It is not good either.

  4. Bhashit Parikh 3 November, 2016 at 5:27 am #

    Hey David,

    Very helpful stuff here. Better than anything else I have found about Goa anywhere else. If you are still there, is there any chance you could provide a latest update?

    Thanks.

    • David Waumsley 3 November, 2016 at 9:13 am #

      Hi Bhashit. Thanks. Yes I will update this soon. For where we are Benaulim Vodafone is still the best. I just checked now (we are still here) and I was getting 6mbps. BSLN have just come on for us after another week of not working. Diwali holidays!

      Idea brought out a 4G for Goa this year. Although it never manage 4G – only 3G – in the 3 months of trying it it was similar speeds to Vodafone. BUT less reliable and more expensive. Vodafone wins.

      All seem to be moving the prices down as a result of Reliance new offer. We have not tried that as they have given us a run around and broken their life deal with us. Life to Reliance means 8 months and staff just send us in circles. Did a trip to Panjim to try and sort it, but it was a waste of time.

  5. Garry 22 December, 2017 at 12:12 am #

    Hi David, On my property near Majorda Beach I use Vodafone MiFi but it runs on 3G. Has Vodafone launched their 4G services in South Goa?

    Most of my Guest access internet via this 3G device and just looking at their consumption, sometimes 1GB and more on daily basis, demonstrate overall good experience.

    I am hoping with 4G it would get even better. Any update about 4G rollout in Goa will be appreciated.

    Regards
    Garry

    • Debbie Waumsley 22 December, 2017 at 6:46 am #

      Hello Garry,

      This year we are using Vodafone and Idea. We’ve experienced 4G on Idea a few times but the signal drops frequently. We prefer Vodafone as the speed is better, more stable and they don’t block as many sites as Idea does. We’re not sure if Vodafone’s out with 4G yet.

      We feel we need both providers as neither delivers a constant service.

      Kindest regards,

      Debbie

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