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Airtel 3G Makes Way Into Delhi: Tariff, Activation Procedure And Review (By A Delhiite)

On 4th March, 2011 Airtel launched its much awaited 3G services in Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida. The launch was done via press release as against the expectation of some grand launch party. Anyway it is more important to deliver a quality service rather than showing it off on social media, etc etc (Remember Tata Docomo?). Airtel has been behind in the race of “who launches 3G first” race and I believe they were staying back, quitely watching and analysing the other telecom companies during this period.

Activate Airtel 3G

Now that they have launched 3G finally in Delhi and NCR region I immediately decided to convert my 2G connection to 3G and give it a shot. Recovering from the MTNl 3G Jadoo’s terrible experience I didn’t keep my expectation too high for Airtel 3G. I first of all called Airtel customer care to make sure that 3G was launched and that it wasn’t in some “final stages”. Out of 3 representatives, 2 confirmed the launch and the 3rd one said “The network has been deployed and is ready for use. You will be notified soon about the 3G launch via radio, tv, sms, etc”. Going with the majority I decided to try my luck and followed the following steps to activate 3G on my mobile number:

  • Replace 32K sim with 64K sim. Airtel representative clearly mentioned that 3G will NOT work properly with a 32K sim card. You can get it replaced from nearest Airtel Relationship center. (I didn’t have time to do so and hence tested on 32K sim card itself ;))
  • Sent a sms with 3GHS to 121 to check if my mobile handset was compatible for running 3G (I knew it was but still).
  • Sent another sms with 3G to 121 to activate 3G on my mobile number (soon after I received confirmation about compatibility).
  • 3G was activated withing few seconds and I am now using 3G without any problems!

Airtel 3G Tariff Plans

There had been some news revolving around the web that the tariff was same as was in other states. There are some changes for Delhi users and here are the exact plan details:

Please do not compare these plans with existing 2G Mobile Office (NOP) tariff for the sake of your wallet 😛

Airtel 3G Review

Download Speed On Nokia 5800

As i mentioned above I didn’t expect much from Airtel 3G, however I was a happy Airtel customer after playing around with Airtel 3G watching buffer-less videos, downloading videos at speed of nearly 1 MBps, using voip, streaming music, etc! Though Airtel boasts about having a good 3G network capable of delivering speeds of upto 21 MBps (correct me if I am wrong) but the maximum speed that I got while using 3G on my Nokia N97 (and 5800, 5230) was 690 kbps.

Not that I expect it to touch 21 Mbps or 14 MBps for that matter but attaining 3 MBps should be possible on Airtel network considering the top notch hardware they are using (Ericsson). Nonetheless the experience with Airtel 3G has been really really good barring 2 problems:

  1. The signal just drops as and when I place my hand on the base of my phone which I am hoping will be solved by 64K sim.
  2. The tariff plans are expensive, price reduction will be a welcome move in future.

Don’t forget to share your reviews with regard to Airtel 3G services, any problems faced or just your story 🙂

Airtel 3G Speed Test


  1. hey bro thanks for this info, kindly help me with how to use watsapp on bb using airtel sim in delhi, whtas the plans or can i use it after activating simple net/gprs

  2. airtel 3g network is present in all the states so once you are in such a state city without 3g you ll rolled back to 2g. network going

  3. There must be some error in calculating your internet data usage if what you are saying is true. Contact Airtel Presence and get this problem resolved.

  4. Listen to me: Don’t get Airtel 3G!
    I activated 3G on my Airtel Delhi number (9971001225) and surfed the internet for just 30 mins. And after one month, my bill is showing Rs. 11000 (Eleven Thousand!!!). as per my usage, they say I’ve used total 3 GB, which I really doubt. I just checked my mail. Even if I accept that, how can it be Eleven thousand?!?!?!
    I’m not going to pay them a single penny…
    So, beware! Don’t use 3G on Airtel!!!

  5. dont get the airtel 3g connection. it is very expensive if u r on roaming. they never tell you when u take the connection. i have landed with a hefty bill. i am back to unlimited 2g connection. in any case the speed is pathetic and nowher near what they advertise. so bye bye airtel 3g.

  6. dont get the airtel 3g connection. it is very expensive if u r on roaming. they never tell you when u take the connection. i have landed with a hefty bill. i am back to unlimited 2g connection. in any case the speed is pathetic and nowher near what they advertise. so bye bye airtel 3g.

  7. Visit any Airtel Care Centre, submit the docs (passport size photgraph, address proof, etc) and your sim will be replaced with a new one there and then.

  8. hey,will these local mobile dealers give u the 64k sim???? i went to one shop and i asked them to give me the 64k sim and they didt knw about it at all.where should i go??

  9. AirTel 3G signal reception is not stable in my area. (NOIDA Sec-110,82,93)
    It is so weak that the moment you make a call on 3G, phone switches itself to 2G network, let alone the 3G data comm. Always gets on to Edge for packet data in spite of subscribing to an overpriced 3G plan. This does not happen if I go to my friends place who is in East Delhi. (May be because there is a cell tower just 2 blocks away where he lives).

    AirTel CC Supervisor said it is because I live in NCR and the service is recently launched.

    Failing CC help, I selected UTMS option only in network settings to avoid auto switch over 2G. Tested the speed and I did not find much a difference. Youtube videos took about nearly same time to download. (May be bcoz of poor network).
    VOIP services like Skype worked just as before. Video calling worked fine.

    The pathetic signal coverage started showing results. Frequent call drops and intermittent hang-up of data streaming.

    Already upset & deranged over 3G hype and poor quality. I tried it for 2 days ignoring all odds. But 3rd day came to know had missed many calls from people who tried to call me in these 2 days. This is because after selecting UTMS only the phone lost signal intermittently many times.

    That does it. Sent sms to 121 for deactivation of 3G. I am back to 2G Unlimited Internet pack.

  10. I will advice you to get the sim replaced with a new 64K sim and try again. This being said, I don’t think 5 year old sim should be a problem, it’s possible that Airtel’s network coverage is not good in your area. Did you try switching to UMTS mode?

  11. airtel 3g……ha ha…the worst ever…airtel broadband the best but….i am using 3g data card..chennai….the download speed 44 kbps….upload 40kbps….wat to do…..i have no bitter words to airtel 3g….plus the 3g customer care…one person name starts with kar…..(…….)words the idiot doesn’t know the customer’s regrets….my airtel 3g mob ……finally airtel 3g s….s

  12. sim card has nothing to with 3g. whether you 32 or 64 kb sim,3g works fine on 32 kb however you get host of new operator sim based service and more space to store phone numbers and sms.
    the signal drop may be due to low signal level. put your phone on umts mode and check signal level

  13. I got airtel 3G activated on my phone 2 days backs. I am disappointed with 3G connectivity in Delhi, especially on the outer ring road of delhi which is my daily commutation way.
    3G doesn’t work here and often connects to 2G with a very bad speed, even sometimes no 2G & 3G though phone signals are full.

    Very bad service for such a costly service.

  14. My E72 is not latching on 3G network. I tried all possible tweaks, but in vain.. Does it matter if the sim is 5 yrs old ?

  15. Yeah tower specific problem. Write an email to Airtel Presence or Nodal officer asking for a solution and don’t forget to give them a MNP threat 😉

  16. hey i did the sms u told,but nothing happened.im using samsung wave.wat should i do to watch live tv on dis beautiful screen??pls somebody help!!!!

  17. The call drop problem has been specific to Sector 16 Noida. ironically, I do not get 3g signal in my block in Sector 93A, Noida. If I just walk out to the opposite block, I get the signals. My bad luck!

  18. Same is the case with me. As you can see in the above give speed test, although I was getting full signal but still wasn’t getting the maximum (or even nearby) download speed.
    Regarding call drops, I haven’t faced any yet since the launch of 3G. If you are living/working in NCR then it might be possible that airtel is tweaking its network.

  19. Correction: Not too sure if the Airtel 3g network is HSDPA or HSUPA – It’s the download and upload speeds. So Airtel supports both.

  20. Am getting approx 1.6~2 mbps though the Airtel Customer Care exec assured me that I should be getting more to the limit of 7.2 mbps.

    My handset (Nokia E72) supports HSDPA, 10.2 Mbps; HSUPA 2 Mbps. Not too sure if the Airtel 3g network is HSDPA or HSUPA.

    Since yesterday, there has been a lot of call drops. Not able to connect to a voice call in a single attempt. My phone remains “Not reachable” most of times. Video calls never ever went through although the other party too was on the Airtel 3g network on a compatible phone.

  21. I use samsung wave and put my airtel 3g sim in it.I connected it to my laptop wirelessly via mobile AP and found the speed to be 2 Mbps.the site at which i found this out was speedtest.net

  22. Hey thanks a lot for the review i did the same procedudere also yesterday but could not acces the internet could you hlep me out how to use this 3g service ( i have activated 3g ) but cant acces the net at all

  23. nice work !! but little bit of gramatical mistakes, i found may be due to my kind of view into the matter on the blog.
    but other way ….gret guns going on here…keep it going.


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