Explore Airtel Thanks App    X
  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Postpaid
  4. »
  5. How to activate eSIM – Convert Airtel SIM to eSIM
How to activate Airtel eSIM

How to activate eSIM – Convert Airtel SIM to eSIM

The telecom world has advanced rapidly over the decade. Started off in 1980s with just 1G cellular technology, the world is brink of testing and using 5G. Many other inventions have taken place in the background in the sector. From keypad mobile phones holding a single standard size sim to a smartphone with an eSIM, the industry is definitely at the peak of technological advancement. Now you must be thinking why or how to activate the eSIM.

Buy Airtel Postpaid with exciting benefits!

In this article today, we will understand more about the new eSIM technology. eSIM or Electronic sim or virtual sim is not very different from the physical sim cards you have been using all your life.

Wondering how? Let us explain.

What is sim card?

SIM or Subscriber Identity Module is the one we all are familiar with. It is a physical chip that sits in our smartphone sim tray and slides in the phone easily to provide users connectivity. The sim card is assigned a carrier, line type, and has a contact number attached to it. It is also programmed with users’ device’s IMEI number, authentication key, the PIN, ICCID, etc. Without this card, your phone will be useless to make both local and international calls. You can only make emergency calls using that sim.

The card’s size is small and has gold circuits on one side. These golden circuits are used to read the sim card using the card reader in the phones. (The card reader is embedded in the motherboard).

The most important feature of the sim card in this context is how easy it is to remove it. All you need is an ejector tool, insert it in the designated place near the sim tray, and take out your sim card. You can just insert this sim on another smartphone easily. The physical sim card gives the flexibility.

Now let’s compare an eSIM with a sim card.

What is an eSIM and why activate eSIM?

An eSIM or an embedded sim is a sim card that’s already present in the mobile phone. It is physically connected to the motherboard. Moreover, it performs the same function as any other external or physical sim does. Therefore, you can’t remove the eSIM from a phone.

The eSIM actually carries an NFC chip. You can also manage multiple numbers and carriers on a single eSIM. Although, keep in mind, you can’t use two carriers together on an eSIM. Only one carrier can be active at one time.

However, you can easily switch between both of the carriers pretty easily in the settings section of your phone. Also, if you have an international eSIM, you can always keep it active when traveling abroad.

Esim is already embedded in the phone. Therefore, it doesn’t take up unnecessary space in the phone. This helps the mobile companies to make space for bigger batteries and thinner phone design.

Now that you have understood what exactly is an esim, let’s see how Airtel sim activation works.

How to activate eSIM from Airtel?

First, make sure that your phone already has an esim. Then, follow the below steps to activate your Airtel esim.

  • Start the process by sending an SMS in this format to 121.
    eSIM<>registered email ID
  • Enter your correct email ID here. If the email ID is valid, you will get a response back from 121 giving you confirmation for the start of the process.
  • You will have to reply back with ‘1’ to confirm your request.
  • In case, your email is not valid, you will get a response from 121 to restart the process with the correct mail ID. If your email has changed, it will also guide you with the process to update your email ID.
  • In addition, if your email validation is complete, you will get another SMS from 121 to give your consent over call for the activation of the esim. If you miss the call and the consent is not given, the request for esim will get cancelled.
  • Once you provide your consent for the esim, you will get one final SMS from 121. The text will inform you about a QR code which will be sent to your mail ID.
  • The QR code is the most important step of the process. You will have to scan the QR code immediately. Post that, it will take around 2 hours for eSim to get activated.

Meanwhile, your physical sim will remain active.

Follow the below steps to scan the QR code sent on your mail. (For Apple users)

  • Head over to the settings section.
  • Choose ‘mobile data’ option and then ‘add data plan.’
  • You will see an option to scan the QR code which you have received on your mail.
  • Now select ‘label eSim’ option.

Troubleshooting for activating Airtel eSIM

In case, you don’t receive the mail with QR code, or the process is disrupted mid-way, here are the troubleshooting steps you should follow immediately. These steps will ensure your physical sim remains connected and active.

For prepaid users

SMS NESIM to 52212 (for prepaid numbers available in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana)

SMS NESIM to 51619 (for rest of the India)

For Airtel postpaid users

SMS NOSIM to 121.

Important note: Do not delete your eSim profile available in the eSIM settings. As it will permanently delete your eSIM profile.

You can use the same set of steps to either convert your physical sim card to an eSim or to change from one eSim to another.

You learnt two very important pointers.

  • What is sim card and eSIM? And what’s the difference between both.
  • How to activate Airtel eSIM?
  • How to convert Airtel sim to eSIM?

Apply these above-mentioned steps as it is to benefit from the newest technology of an eSIM.


eSIM is the new face of telecom industry. Most of the new models of phones now come with embedded sim. If you are a user who likes to keep 2 numbers active at the same time, choosing only eSIM might not be a good option. As discussed above, you can only use one network at a time on the eSIM.

The best way is to go for a phone which offers at least 1 slot for a physical card and has an embedded sim card. You can keep one number on your physical card and one on eSIM. Head over to our website to know more about eSIM technology and activation process in detail.