Mobile phones are a vital part of our lives now. People like to be connected with their families and loved ones even when they are on vacation, even if its remote Lew-Ladakh! Due to the sensitivity of the region Leh Ladakh is in ( sharing border with China), there are quite a few restrictions regarding to mobile phone connectivity. And before planning a trip here, you need to know some things about the operation of mobile phones in this area.
Only postpaid mobile phone connections works in entire Jammu and Kashmir which means this applies to Ladakh too. So your prepaid mobile numbers are useless here. If we talk about network coverage, BSNL (or MTNL in Delhi) works the best followed by Airtel. These two also have the widest coverage. In fact, if we talk about remote places of Ladakh, we’d advise you to get BSNL connection as it works the best in these places. But as the case is with BSNL connection, you’d often experience bad quality calls or call drops. Reliance recently built its towers in Ladakh but people have been praising its network and the internet speed. Aircel and Vodafone connections mostly don’t work in Ladakh and have very limited coverage. Ditto for Idea – no connection!
All the postpaid numbers work fine in Leh but as you move away from it to places like Pangong lake or Nubra valley, your network is mostly gone. BSNL got good coverage there so you will probably get its connection alive in the valley. The same holds true for Pangong as well. Tip: if your calls are not going thru, try sending a normal message. It will eventually go. If all goes well, you can use BSNL at Nubra, Pangong, Hanle and even Tso Moriri.
We would advise you to buy BSNL postpaid connection if you are planning to travel to remote places in Leh ladakh but if you are going to stay in and around the main City, Airtel and Jio postpaid connection are the best choice. If you are thinking of purchasing a new sim connection in Ladakh, it’s not going to be an easy task as people from outside Ladakh are not issued sim generally so it’s better to bring your own postpaid number. Also, it is advisable to explain your family and friends that you will not be in touch as networks can go down in remote places if weather is bad. All the best!