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how to activate 5G network on your smartphone

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Airtel 5G services have started rolling out in India after years of waiting and anticipation. 5G was launched during the Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1st October and all the major telecoms including Airtel, Jio, and Vi have laid out their 5G services rollout plans in India. While Jio and Vi will initiate the rollout at a later date, Airtel has already greenlit 5G services in a few cities in India which include Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore, Gurugram, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Furthermore, Airtel has also stated that all its existing 4G SIMs will be compatible with the 5G network. In this guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to activate Airtel 5G on your smartphone.

What is 5G?

To put it simply, 5G is the next revolution in the cellular network space. As a successor to 4G, the fifth-generation technology brings a host of improvements and capabilities such as significantly faster download & upload speeds, simultaneous 4K streaming, and even enabling cloud gaming with less latency. On the enterprise side of things, 5G can aid businesses by enabling fast data transfer speeds within the organisation and also utilising it in specific use cases such as cloud computing and location tracking.

How to activate 5G network on your smartphone

Once 5G rolls out in your location, here’s how to activate it on your smartphone provided you have an ongoing active recharge plan.

 How to active 5G network on your smartphone
  • Open the ‘Settings’ app on your smartphone
  • Next, select ‘Mobile network’ or a similar setting
  • Select the SIM you want to enable 5G on
  • From here, select the ‘Preferred network type’ option
  • Now simply tap and select the 5G network type
  • If 5G has indeed rolled out in your region, you should be getting a 5G symbol in the next couple of minutes on the status bar

Supported Airtel 5G bands

During the 5G spectrum auctions held in August 2022, Airtel acquired the following 5G bands to use across its infrastructure.

  • n8: 900 MHz
  • n3: 1800 MHz
  • n1: 2100 Mhz
  • n78: 3300 MHz
  • n258: 26GHz

The telecom giant has majorly acquired sub-GHz and high-speed frequency bands to ensure it delivers high internet speeds across all operating cities it is present. In addition to that, Airtel has also partnered with the likes of Nokia, Samsung, and Ericcson to build and deploy a cutting-edge 5G infrastructure in the country.

Who can use Airtel 5G?

For individual users, to use 5G you need to first ensure whether your current smartphone supports 5G or not.

  • To do that, you can always refer to the phone’s box and check for any ‘5G’ text. If such text is not present, refer to the labels on the backside of the box and look for 5G bands. If you still can’t find any signs of 5G it’s more than likely your phone doesn’t support 5G functionality.
  • If your handset is 5G enabled, ensure that it supports Airtel 5G bands. The information can be found on the retail box or manufacturer’s website
  • Additionally, even if you have a 5G compatible smartphone and live in a 5G-enabled location, you’d still require an active 5G recharge plan, which is yet to be announced by the telcos. 

FAQs

Which cities have Airtel 5G services?

Currently, Airtel has launched its 5G network in a handful of cities which include Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore, Gurugram, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Expect the 5G service to be rolled out in more regions over the course of the next few weeks.

How to check your location supports Airtel 5G?

Airtel SIM subscribers can download and use the Airtel Thanks app from Play Store and App Store to check the availability of 5G in their location. Apart from that, the app also checks for the 5G compatibility of the user’s smartphone. 

Do you need a new SIM to use Airtel 5G services?

No, you don’t need a new SIM to use a 5G SIM. Your current Airtel 4G SIM is forward-compatible with 5G and works seamlessly on your 5G smartphone.

When will Airtel 5G be available to everyone?

Apart from the 8 cities under the initial 5G rollout plan, the telecom giant has claimed to cover all the major cities and urban areas of India by the end of December 2023 with a pan-India rollout to be concluded by March 2024.


Airtel 5G services have started rolling out in India after years of waiting and anticipation. 5G was launched during the Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1st October and all the major telecoms including Airtel, Jio, and Vi have laid out their 5G services rollout plans in India. While Jio and Vi will initiate the rollout at a later date, Airtel has already greenlit 5G services in a few cities in India which include Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore, Gurugram, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Furthermore, Airtel has also stated that all its existing 4G SIMs will be compatible with the 5G network. In this guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to activate Airtel 5G on your smartphone.

What is 5G?

To put it simply, 5G is the next revolution in the cellular network space. As a successor to 4G, the fifth-generation technology brings a host of improvements and capabilities such as significantly faster download & upload speeds, simultaneous 4K streaming, and even enabling cloud gaming with less latency. On the enterprise side of things, 5G can aid businesses by enabling fast data transfer speeds within the organisation and also utilising it in specific use cases such as cloud computing and location tracking.

How to activate 5G network on your smartphone

Once 5G rolls out in your location, here’s how to activate it on your smartphone provided you have an ongoing active recharge plan.

 How to active 5G network on your smartphone
  • Open the ‘Settings’ app on your smartphone
  • Next, select ‘Mobile network’ or a similar setting
  • Select the SIM you want to enable 5G on
  • From here, select the ‘Preferred network type’ option
  • Now simply tap and select the 5G network type
  • If 5G has indeed rolled out in your region, you should be getting a 5G symbol in the next couple of minutes on the status bar

Supported Airtel 5G bands

During the 5G spectrum auctions held in August 2022, Airtel acquired the following 5G bands to use across its infrastructure.

  • n8: 900 MHz
  • n3: 1800 MHz
  • n1: 2100 Mhz
  • n78: 3300 MHz
  • n258: 26GHz

The telecom giant has majorly acquired sub-GHz and high-speed frequency bands to ensure it delivers high internet speeds across all operating cities it is present. In addition to that, Airtel has also partnered with the likes of Nokia, Samsung, and Ericcson to build and deploy a cutting-edge 5G infrastructure in the country.

Who can use Airtel 5G?

For individual users, to use 5G you need to first ensure whether your current smartphone supports 5G or not.

  • To do that, you can always refer to the phone’s box and check for any ‘5G’ text. If such text is not present, refer to the labels on the backside of the box and look for 5G bands. If you still can’t find any signs of 5G it’s more than likely your phone doesn’t support 5G functionality.
  • If your handset is 5G enabled, ensure that it supports Airtel 5G bands. The information can be found on the retail box or manufacturer’s website
  • Additionally, even if you have a 5G compatible smartphone and live in a 5G-enabled location, you’d still require an active 5G recharge plan, which is yet to be announced by the telcos. 

FAQs

Which cities have Airtel 5G services?

Currently, Airtel has launched its 5G network in a handful of cities which include Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore, Gurugram, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Expect the 5G service to be rolled out in more regions over the course of the next few weeks.

How to check your location supports Airtel 5G?

Airtel SIM subscribers can download and use the Airtel Thanks app from Play Store and App Store to check the availability of 5G in their location. Apart from that, the app also checks for the 5G compatibility of the user’s smartphone. 

Do you need a new SIM to use Airtel 5G services?

No, you don’t need a new SIM to use a 5G SIM. Your current Airtel 4G SIM is forward-compatible with 5G and works seamlessly on your 5G smartphone.

When will Airtel 5G be available to everyone?

Apart from the 8 cities under the initial 5G rollout plan, the telecom giant has claimed to cover all the major cities and urban areas of India by the end of December 2023 with a pan-India rollout to be concluded by March 2024.

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