If you plan to visit this year, the one mentioned below is the most recent update of the Mobile Network in Leh Ladakh in the year 2020; which will also remain applicable for years to come, in fact. My cell phone will work or not in Ladakh is one of the main questions asked by anyone planning to visit there. Reversal about a decade or more, and the answer to that question probably would have been no.
Fortunately, this is no longer the condition. Tourism in Ladakh has increased several times in recent years; and as a result, the availability of basic amenities has also improved dramatically. The authorities are taking all possible steps to facilitate the visit to Ladakh. Along with facilities like hotels and local transport, cellular connectivity in Ladakh is much better now than it was a few years ago.
Which mobile network works in Leh Ladakh?
The first thing you should know here is that only postpaid cell phones work in Ladakh; and across the state of Jammu and Kashmir, actually. This is applicable by law and a mandate for all cell phone companies. If your connection was prepaid, your cell phone will be as good as a paper weight the moment you move on to J&K status.
If you were carrying a postpaid connection, your cell phone reception will depend on exactly where you were. It will continue to change as you move from place to place. In some locations, you will have full connectivity to 4G data; and in some others, you will be completely off the grid. More details about it are provided in the article below.
Best Mobile Network in Leh Ladakh
By far, BSNL is the best mobile network in Ladakh, with the highest coverage. Airtel will be the second best chain, closely followed by Jio in the third. Vodafone and Idea are next in line, but both offer coverage only in limited places.
BSNL network in Ladakh
The thing with a BSNL network is that there will be a slight compromise in voice clarity and data connectivity will also be poor; but you will be covered in most major tourist attractions.
- If you were carrying a postpaid BSNL network, you will have full connectivity in the city of Leh. The data speed will be practically good. Voice quality in Leh will also be acceptable.
- With BSNL, you will stay connected in most places in the Nubra valley, with the exception of Turtuk and Warshi. At Hunder, Diskit and Panamik, your phone will work perfectly.
- BSNL will also operate in Pangong, but only in the morning. Remember that even if you called, the voice will be extremely bad and you will hardly understand the other person. On the positive side, you can at least send text messages.
- At Tso Moriri, your BSNL network will continue to come and go at regular intervals. The last time I was there, I couldn’t make or receive calls, but I managed to send an SMS.
BSNL prepaid phones do not work in the city of Leh; it must be a postpaid phone.
MTNL network in Ladakh
Since BSNL and MTNL are practically the same business, everything I mentioned above about BSNL will also apply to MTNL connections.
Airtel network in Ladakh
- Airtel Network’s coverage in Ladakh lags behind BSNL only in terms of coverage; but it makes up for that gap by offering better sound quality and a faster Internet.
- You will have full network and 4G internet in the city of Leh.
- In the Nubra valley, you will have full connectivity and 2G internet in Hunder and Diskit. There is still no air coverage in places like Turtuk and Warshi. Until May this year, Airtel will have 3G connectivity in Hunder.
- There is no Airtel network in Pangong or Tso Moriri.
- Airtel has full connectivity in Kargil with 4G data. As a matter of fact, you will remain connected throughout the stretch between Leh and Kargil. You can lose the network for a while at some points, but not for long.
- With Airtel, you can expect to get connectivity even on Drass.
Surprisingly, Airtel also has complete connectivity on the Stok Kangri trail. You will remain in a network at Stok Base Camp, Manokarma Camp and Stok Kangri Summit.
Airtel 4g in Ladakh
4G connectivity in Airtel is only available in the city of Leh, nowhere else.
Jio connection in Ladakh
Will Jio work in Ladakh? The answer is a definite yes, with a few exceptions. The Jio network in Ladakh has improved tremendously in the past two years. Their coverage is in fact slightly greater than Airtel; with better voice and internet clarity than BSNL.
- Your Jio phone will have full coverage in the city of Leh.
- In the Nubra valley, Jio has already started providing 3G connectivity on Diskit and Hunder. It does not work further, if you also want to visit Turtuk.
- There is still no Jio connectivity in Pangong and Tso Moriri.
- The Jio provides complete connectivity in Kargil, in addition to 4G data.
Vodafone network in Leh Ladakh
Unfortunately, Vodafone has yet to improve its services in Ladakh. Its coverage is limited only to the city of Leh and nowhere else.
Network of ideas in Leh Ladakh
Like Ladakh, Idea phones will also work only in the city of Leh; nowhere else in Ladakh.
In addition to the cell phone companies, let me also break this down by regions in Leh Ladakh.
Mobile network in Nubra Valley
BSNL, Airtel and Jio will work on Hunder, Diskit and Panamik. Only BSNL can provide some connectivity at Turtuk, but it does not count or depend on it. Jio is already providing 3G internet until Hunder and Airtel start in May. Vodafone and Idea do not work in the Nubra valley.
There is no cell phone connectivity on the Agham Shyok road; the direct route from the Nubra valley to Lake Pangong.
Mobile network in Pangong Tso
Only BSNL has coverage in Pangong; but this also occurs mainly in the early morning and only in some places. The clarity of the voice will not be good and there will also be no internet. However, you can still send text messages. Your cell phone will turn off the network near Sakti when you start to climb the Chang La Pass. BSNL users will start to get connectivity after Tangtse and then it will be a case of “come and go”. However, this will be limited to just around Spangmik. If you travel towards Man and Merak, expect to be completely out of the network.
Mobile network in Tso Moriri
Like Pangong Tso, only BSNL phones can have some connectivity at Karzok, but that is also highly doubtful. Even if you get the network, it will still come and go and you will not be able to make calls as such.
Mobile network on the Hanle and Chushul route
There is no mobile coverage in the Changthang valley; including Hanle, Umling La, Chushul, Loma, Nyoma, Mahe and Sumdo. There is also no connectivity in Chumathang.
BSNL users may occasionally receive a signal at Hanle, but I wouldn’t count on that. Suppose you can have no connectivity at all once you go beyond Spangmik.
Mobile network in Sham Valley
There is no cell phone connectivity in Sham Valley, regardless of the network you are on.
Mobile network in Zanskar Valley
Only BSNL works in the Zanskar valley and also in the city of Padum. There are no mobile networks available elsewhere in the Zanskar Valley.
Mobile network in Jispa
BSNL may work in Jispa, but it doesn’t really count on that. Connectivity will be mostly intermittent.
Mobile network in Keylong
BSNL and Airtel both have connectivity in Keylong.
When you start driving from Manali, you will lose the network somewhere near the Rohtang Pass. Vodafone and Idea will not be working again until Leh. BSNL, Airtel and Jio users, however, can expect to get another day of coverage in Keylong and Jispa. After that, it’s a complete dead zone up to Upshi. After crossing Upshi and starting to approach the city of Leh, all phones will be back on the network.
Mobile network in Kargil
BSNL, Airtel and Jio phones work well in Kargil. From Srinagar, if you were on a postpaid connection, you will have some connectivity to Sonamarg. Your phone will be dead again until you reach Kargil. In Kargil, BSNL, Airtel and Jio will provide an excellent network with good 4G voice and data clarity. On the stretch from Kargil to Leh, Airtel will continue to come and go at regular intervals.
Cellular telephone network in Leh
The mobile network connectivity in Leh is really great. No matter what network you’re on, you’ll get full coverage. Airtel and Jio provide 4G internet in the city of Leh. Vodafone and Idea do not yet have 4G in Leh, but their speed is decent enough.
Mobile network in Khardung La
Only BSNL works at Khardung La. If you were a Jio or Airtel user, you will lose connectivity, but you will recover it again while driving to the Nubra valley. For BSNL users, the network will continue to come and go throughout the day, from Leh to Nubra Valley; and it will also work at the top of Khardung La.
How can a foreigner obtain a mobile network in Ladakh?
Foreigners can obtain a prepaid Airtel SIM in Leh at the main office which will be activated within a few hours. Just bring your passport and a copy of your visa. 4G speeds depend on where you are in Leh, but can be more than 10 to 15 Mbps if you are near a tower.