How to Activate Your Airtel eSIM


Airtel offers an eSIM service for subscribers with select smartphones, including a few Apple, Samsung, Google Pixel, and Motorola Razr (2021) phones. eSIM or Embedded Subscriber Identity Module, as the name suggests, is embedded directly into your smartphone or any device in place of or along with your physical SIM card. The eSIM service not only saves space for a phone manufacturer but also enables remote SIM provisioning of any mobile device.  

How to activate your Airtel eSIM

If you are an Airtel subscriber, you can activate the eSIM functionality provided you have a compatible device. As mentioned, recent flagship phones from Samsung, Apple, Google, and Motorola Razr (2019) are part of the compatibility list. If the subscriber has an eSIM, then the mobile operator can remotely switch the user to a different circle, or even switch their telecom operator remotely. For converting your physical SIM to eSIM, follow the simple steps below:

  1. To start the process, SMS eSIM registered email ID to 121.

  2. If your email id is valid, you will receive an SMS from 121, confirming the initiation of the process. You would need to reply back with “1” to confirm the eSIM change request within 60 seconds. If your email id is invalid, you will receive an SMS from 121, asking you to re-initiate the process with the correct email ID, which will also guide you on how to update the email ID.

  3. Once the verification is done, the subscriber will receive another SMS from 121 asking you to provide consent over call.

  4. After providing your consent on the call, you will receive a final SMS from 121, regarding the QR Code which you will receive on your registered email id.

  5. If you’re an iPhone user, then click on Settings > Mobile Data > Add Data Plan > Scan QR Code. Scan the code received on mail and ensure that the phone is connected to mobile data /Wi-Fi while scanning. After the scanning process, tap on Label eSIM under Label for your new plan.

  6. If you are a Samsung phone user, click on Settings > SIM Card Manager > Add Mobile Plan > Add Using QR Code. Scan QR code received on email (Ensure Wi-Fi or Mobile Data is available). Post scanning click on Add in Add new mobile plan option.

  7. If you have a Google Pixel phone or a Motorola Razr, select Settings > Network and Internet > Wi-Fi > Connect to a Wi-Fi Network (Mandatory). Then head to Mobile Network in Settings > Advanced > Carrier > Add Carrier > Scan QR code received on mail (Ensure phone is connected to Wi-Fi while scanning). After scanning, click on Download > Done.

  8. Motorola Razr 5G users must head to Settings > Network and Internet > Select + sign besides Mobile Network > Click on Next (Download your SIM). Scan QR code received on your email (ensure phone is connected to Wi-Fi / mobile data while scanning). Post successful scanning, click on Activate.

  9. Airtel notes that the QR code is unique and is applicable for just one time use on one device only. Once scanned, please ensure you complete the process of adding the Carrier. Customer should not select “Delete” option from the eSIM settings as this will permanently delete the eSIM profile.

  10. If postpaid users do not get an email with QR code within 30 minutes or the subscriber aborts the scanning process midway, they will need to send as SMS NOSIM to 121 to avoid disconnection of the physical SIM.

  11. Similarly, prepaid users need to message NESIM to 52212 (for prepaid numbers in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka) and NESIM to 51619 (for prepaid numbers in rest of India) to avoid disconnection of physical SIM.

  12. Airtel says that the eSIM will be activated in approximately 2 hours of scanning the QR code. During this period, the physical SIM will continue to work.

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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to [email protected]
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