Read our BSNL SIM review, bought their SIM card, and waiting for it to arrive? In the meantime, get accustomed to the activation process that awaits. That’s also a good time to learn that it’ll be much easier than with some other carriers worldwide. Why? BSNL is focused on delivering its service to as large a part of India as possible instead of topping the Internet speed charts. Their goal is focused on providing base connectivity to crowds of people that’d have no other options otherwise. Those are sadly usually less tech-savvy and live in rural areas. With that said, here’s how to activate BSNL SIM card.
1. Activate BSNL SIM card: Prepaid and Postpaid
- Insert a SIM card you received and turn the phone on.
- Provided any other SIM card phone number but the new one? You’ll see an SMS alert right away.
- If no alerts arrive and there’s no signal on the phone, wait. BSNL employees perform the initial activation process manually, and it takes them up to 72 hours from the time you signed the contract. The process usually lasts between 4 and 24 hours, however.
- When you see the network, call either 1507 or 123 on your phone.
- The telephone verification process begins.
- Follow the provided audio instructions, and the BSNL SIM card will be activated afterward.
2. Activate a BSNL 4GB SIM card after transitioning from 2G/3G
Although most people are relying on 2G or 3G GSM SIM cards, BSNL announced they’re striving for a full switch to 4G in 2021. Here’s how transitioning from a 2G/3G BSNL SIM card to a 4G SIM card from BSN works:
- Don’t swap SIM cards yet. From your existing (old) SIM card, send an SMS to 53734 containing “RE4G [last 6 digits of your new SIM card number which is 18-20 digits total] [circle/STD code for your state in India]“.
- When taking Mumbai as an example, we sent this: “RE4G 123456 22“ to 53734.
- Tip. You can find the SIM card number either in the package itself or printed on the full-size SIM or mini-SIM card you punched your new SIM card out of.
- You should receive a new SMS message. To verify that you want to proceed, text “RE4G YES“ to 53734.
- After a new verification, remove the SIM card and insert a new SIM card (4G SIM).
- Tip. You can also wait for the signal to go away and use the old number in the meantime.
3. Activate an expired BSNL SIM card
The carrier disables a prepaid SIM card if it hasn’t been topped up in (usually) 6 months. Additionally, they might disable it if you haven’t done anything with it in the last 90 days. Luckily, you can recharge it to extend its validity like this:
- Send an SMS containing “Ext Validity” to 51505.
- Confirm that you want to extend it.
- The validity fee, usually between 20 and 50 rupees, will be deducted from your account balance.
4. Can I keep my number after porting to BSNL?
If you need faster 4G speeds and even to use 5G in the future, you should switch away from BSNL. However, if you need an affordable payment plan for someone that doesn’t care about Internet speed or latency, and doesn’t mind occasional poor connectivity, switch to it. And yes, you can keep your phone number after the transition. For instructions, check method 4 in our “activate Vodafone Idea SIM card“ article. Also, be patient since the process can take between 2 and 15 days. The exact time depends on whether BSNL and the other carrier operate in the same state or not.
5. How to enable GPRS and Internet settings for BSNL SIM card?
Although unusual that you can call and text, but not enable mobile data and thus access the Internet, this happens regularly. The problem lies in the APN settings your device didn’t recognize, you forgot to accept or even declined. To solve the problem, send an SMS containing “GPRS“ To 53733, which is a toll-free service. Also, and accept the APN settings when they arrive in a follow-up message.
6. Contact BSNL Customer Service
You have a right to remote Customer Support, but we still suggest visiting the nearest BSNL store if possible. However, if they can’t help, resort to contacting BSNL Customer Care 24/7 toll-free numbers: 1800-180-1500 and 1800-180-1503.