I came across a question about recommending a "good" cellular operator for mobile internet across North India. This question has been put on hold as "off-topic", specifically as a question about price shopping. We already have a few similar questions:

In essence the question is just asking for recommemdations about operators who may work best across a wide swathe of North India (a region that is in some parts geographically and politically difficult). Maybe the question can be worded better but I feel the OP should be informed about such shortcomings in the comments.


The question is tagged as cellphones and the description of the tag goes

Issues with taking your mobile phone with you, and buying a phone, SIM card, or cellular data plan in another country.

I can't find any reason to see how the question violates the tag.

2 Answers 2


The first and the second questions were asked many years ago and that's the main reason they are not closed. If they get asked now, there will be a lot of close votes.

The third one has also got some close votes, obviously not enough to get closed. One of the reason could be that it's specific enough, not too broad and the answers given are objective.

  • The question referenced here also appears to be generic and the answers would be along similar lines to the third question. As for being too-broad, the question isn't closed as being too-broad, it is closed as being off-topic. Hypothetically, would you consider a question like - "what cellular operator can I use for my trip to the north pole?" as shopping based?
    – RedBaron
    Mar 29, 2019 at 4:53
  • @RedBaron I think that would be a good question. it even has potential for the SE hot qustion list.
    – Dirty-flow
    Mar 29, 2019 at 7:08
  • Well, if you change North Pole to the Himalyas, you'll get the question which has been closed as off-topic for being shopping based.
    – RedBaron
    Mar 29, 2019 at 9:07
  • it depends on the region - if there are several operators and you ask for the "best" or the "cheapest" one, it's a shopping question. If there are none, one or two and the network coverage is bad, it's on-topic.
    – Dirty-flow
    Mar 29, 2019 at 9:25

Easy: it's considered a "shopping question". SE isn't here to google and price compare for you.

To expand: StackExchange at its core is meant as an archive for questions and answers that will continue to be useful to people for many years. That's the biggest reason why questions about things like phone operators aren't welcome, because any answers we give will be woefully out of date and useless even a few months into the future (let alone years), and in fact could be outright misleading if someone takes our advice without looking at the date of the question.

A better place to ask that question would be a website like Reddit or a forum specifically meant for these kinds of questions.

  • 5
    But the question does not talk about prices at all! It is just asking about operators who may have best connectivity across a wide geographic area. To my mind such questions are on topic on TravelSE. Suppose the question was reworded to "I am travelling to Himalyan mountains and politically sensitive regions of Kashmir. What Indian cellular operator should I use so that I have internet connectivity throughout the trip?" Would you consider that to be a shopping question? Well this question is in essentials the same question (just worded differently)
    – RedBaron
    Mar 29, 2019 at 4:50
  • 1
    Exactly. Basically there are good questions on the topic of shopping and the topic of recommendations, but "which backpack should I buy" and "which airline is best value" type of questions are the ones we're trying to avoid. Having said that, you may be able to save your question by changing it to ask about what qualities to look for, to ask about specific details of a product or service that would help you decide, or making your question very narrow and focused. Many such questions have been saved by making those kinds of changes in the past. Mar 30, 2019 at 9:12
  • 2
    Even if you change the question, given the general rate of change in global telecoms, the "right" answer today will probably be "wrong" in a few months time, and therefore is likely to contribute nothing to the long term "archive of good questions and answers" objective of SE.
    – alephzero
    Mar 30, 2019 at 17:47
  • @RedBaron "Best connectivity" is also something that changes over time. Companies come and go, improve their networks, etc. Mar 30, 2019 at 19:38

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