Looking for ways to switch your Airtel SIM card on? We can help, regardless of the SIM card size you’re using. It doesn’t even matter that you’re using a phone number from a different carrier since you get to keep it. Also, as you’ll see below, we got our Apple iPhone users’ back with separate instructions for an embedded-SIM card, so no one is excluded. It’s always a good idea to double-check you’re making the right decision through our carrier reviews section too. Then, read our Airtel SIM review to see how it compares to others. With that done, let’s get into how to activate Airtel SIM card.
1. Activate Airtel SIM card: Postpaid SIM
Unless you’ve already gotten one at the Airtel store, at which point you could’ve begun the activation process, you need to order an Airtel SIM card. Here’s what’s required to request a postpaid SIM card from Airtel:
- Make sure to select New connection at the top.
- Enter your full name, a mobile number that’s you can be contacted at, your city, and your house number or flat number.
- Click on Submit.
- If your location is within Airtel’s delivery range, the SIM card will be brought to your doorstep on the same day.
- Have any of the Proof of Address and Proof of Identity documents Airtel requires with you when their executive arrives.
Steps to activate Airtel SIM card
Here are the steps required for activation of a postpaid Airtel SIM card:
- Send an SMS containing your 20-digit SIM card number to 121.
- Tip. You can find the number printed on the dust jacket of your SIM card package. If it isn’t there, check the full-size SIM card/mini-SIM card you punched your micro-SIM/nano-SIM card out of. It should be near the bar code.
- You’ll receive a confirmation message. Send an SMS containing the number “1” to 121 to confirm.
- Airtel will call you. When the voice machine instructs you to, enter “1” on your keyboard again.
- Your new SIM card will be activated within a few hours. However, for security reasons, you might not be able to send SMS for the next 24 hours.
2. Activate Airtel SIM card: Prepaid SIM
The process is similar – you can have a SIM card delivered to your address or visit their official website. If you opt for the latter option, you can fill the form at the Airtel prepaid SIM card request page. Once again, make sure to select No, I want a new connection before entering details and clicking on Submit. The primary difference is that you can dial *123# to access the USSD menu for a prepaid Airtel SIM card activation or can call 59059 to get instructions for activation from the voice machine.
3. Activate Airtel SIM card: eSIM
If you have a physical SIM card and want to switch to eSIM, do this:
- Send an SMS to 121 with these contents: eSIM e-mail ID. For example, eSIM [email protected].
- You’ll receive an SMS asking you to confirm your decision. Send anything in an SMS to 121 within 60 seconds.
- Accept the call from 121.
- Log in to the e-mail address you provided. Airtel will mail the QR code to the provided address.
- Tip. If you don’t get an e-mail within 30 minutes, send NOSIM to 121 if you are a postpaid SIM card user. For prepaid SIM card users, send NESIM to 52212 (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu) or NESIM to 51619 (every other location in India).
- To enable an eSIM profile through the QR code, use the steps listed under the second headline in our O2 SIM card activation guide.
- The Airtel eSIM card activation process will be complete within 2 hours.
4. Upgrade from 2G/3G Airtel to 4G Airtel
- Get a 4G capable smartphone.
- Order a new 4G Airtel SIM card, visit the nearest Airtel store, or follow method 3 to enable an eSIM card.
- While waiting for arrival or activation of the new SIM card, copy contacts from the old SIM card to the new phone.
- Before you remove the SIM card, call 51111.
- After the pre-recorded call ends, swap SIM cards.
- Tip. New 4G users (in eligible areas) get free mobile data for the first month from Airtel, at a rate of 1 GB per day.
5. Can I transfer my Airtel phone number from postpaid to prepaid and vice versa?
Yes, you can transfer Airtel prepaid to postpaid online or in the nearest Airtel store. The activation steps are identical, and the whole process lasts up to 48 hours after you successfully submit your identity/address documents. Your “old” number will contain to work up until the moment the activation goes through. Also, Airtel will add your current prepaid balance to your next postpaid bill.
6. How to transfer SIM card from another carrier to Airtel
We went through the detailed steps in our Vodafone Idea SIM card activation guide (method 4). Since both are India-based carriers, the steps for performing MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and getting the 8-digit UPC (Unique Porting Code) are identical. Unlike Vodafone Idea, it takes 48 hours (if the other carrier and Airtel are in the same state) or up to 4 days (different states) for the activation to finish. Your old phone number will continue to work during that time. If you have yet to obtain a new Airtel SIM card, refer to the postpaid/prepaid guides above. The only difference in the process is:
- Select Yes under Do you want to port this number? (prepaid SIM).
- Select Switch to Airtel (with same number) (postpaid SIM).