Is there a possibility to preserve an unused Indian mobile number for a period of time?

  • I travel to India a couple of times per year. I purchased an Indian SIM card and I find that there is no network for this Indian service provider in Southern Germany (Friedrichshafen/Konstanz). And as per Indian telecom rules, the service provider deactivates a number that is not in use for more than 90 days.

    I would like to know if there are any method to preserve my Indian number when I am in Germany and not using the Indian number. For further information, the Indian service provider is Vodafone. And the plan is called a prepaid connection (for people who are familiar with the Indian telecom system).

    What is the cheapest way to preserve my number? Or what is the cheapest alternative? German telecom companies charge heavily for roaming and I have no interest in using them in India.

    One option that comes to my mind is leaving it with trustworthy people in India and ask them to put it in a phone every so often, for the minimum needed activity. (Which for some phones can be as little as receiving a text which is free of charge.)

    Yeah I did try that a couple of times but a) they cannot be doing it every time for me b) I would like to use the SIM card immediately on arrival in India (I arrive in different cities and travel a bit before reaching my final destination).

    This would be easy if you can find someone with a dual-sim phone, of which (s)he only needs to use one SIM.

    I find it unusual that Vodafone has no roaming agreements with Germany, since it is a large multinational provider. Maybe roaming has to be enabled explicitly, or maybe you have tried the SIM only in your Indian phone which does not support the bands in use in Germany?

    Can you just leave a big enough balance in the account to cover the time away? I thought that with Vodafone what happened after 90 days is that they started deducting Rs20/month from the account, and only terminated the service when the balance fell below Rs20. Leaving Rs200 in there should cover you for a year(?).

    @Federico Poloni it is really strange. The concept behind choosing Vodafone was that I used a Vodafone connection in Germany as well. But when I insert the Indian sim here in Germany it appears as No service. I use an iPhone which I believe should operate seamlessly across continents

    Hello Müller, for the benefit of the community, please could you mark my answer as correct?

  • Shumon Saha

    Shumon Saha Correct answer

    5 years ago

    You can use the number indefinitely for a few $/€/£ every year. Just create an online account on the network provider's website and top-up ccassionally.

    I have Jio and I top up online with ₹1699 every year.

    For Vodafone,

    1. International roaming has to be activated before leaving India by sending a text SMS ACT IR to 144.

    2. Create an online account at

    3. Top up with around ₹300 every year on the Vodafone India website or at a shop.

    According to the Telecom of India, mobile numbers can't be deactivated if they have ₹20 after 90 days of no usage. After that, network operators are allowed to deduct ₹20 every month (while keeping the number active). When the balance ultimately falls below ₹20, then the network provider can finally deactivate the number.

    1. Monitor the ₹20 deductions from abroad, and top-up online if necessary.

    When you activated this International Roaming, were you able to receive Network for the Indian number in Europe? Assuming there is no network, is there a possibility to credit the Indian number with money?

    @Müller yes I have topped up my Vodafone India number online without my phone on the network. The added credit gets stored on Vodafone's servers. Without an Indian number at the moment, you will probably find it impossible to create an online account. Therefore, it's best to ask a friend in India to top up your number for Rs. 500 in an Indian mobile shop on using their online account. That's a small price to pay, for a high probability of your number being active for your next visit to India.

    @Müller and yes, with international roaming activated on Vodafone before leaving India, we were seamlessly connected to a network in Europe. It's not a big deal :)

    I can confirm what @shumon is telling. I use the above technique from past two years in states and my India no is active

    If you use this method, during the period when 20rs is being withdrawn monthly, do you get access to network? i.e receive SMS and such?

    How about people in USA? and traveling to India every year or so?

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM