Airtel 5G launched: How to activate 5G network on your smartphone

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.

How to activate Airtel 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.

Airtel 5G on Android

5G can be enabled on any compatible Android phone by following the procedure mentioned below. 

 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

Make sure to turn off Wi-Fi and enable mobile data for the 5G symbol to show up.

Airtel 5G on iPhone

Once Airtel releases its 5G network in your location, iPhone users can switch to the new network in a few simple steps. Here’s how.

Activate Airtel 5G on an iPhone
  • Head over to the ‘Settings’ app on your iPhone
  • Then go to ‘Cellular’ settings menu
  • From here, select ‘Cellular Data Options’
  • Now under ‘Voice & Data’ settings, either select ‘5G Auto’ or ‘5G On’ option
  • Once this takes effect you should see a 5G symbol on the status bar in the next few minutes

After going through the process if you don’t find any settings to enable 5G, it could be possible that Apple is yet to support your telecom operator’s 5G network. But fret not, the telcos are working towards getting 5G support on iPhones. For the unaware, all Apple smartphones from the iPhone 12 series, including the SE 2020 and 2022, are 5G enabled.

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. 

  • So far only 5G-capable smartphones from OPPO, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Realme, and Vivo support Airtel 5G. To check the complete list of phones, click here
  • You can also check your phone’s 5G support by referring to the phone’s box and checking 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. 

How to check Airtel 5G availability in your area

There are a couple of methods to check Airtel 5G availability in your area. Here’s How to check it through

Airtel Thanks app

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. The app can also check for the 5G compatibility of the user’s smartphone.

Here’s how to check the 5G availability in your area as well as smartphone compatibility using the Airtel Thanks app.

How to check 5G availibility through Airtel Thanks app
  • Open Airtel Thanks on your mobile phone
  • On the main home tab, select ‘Check if your phone is 5G enabled’
  • Now the app will begin checking the 5G availability in your city and 5G compatibility of your smartphone
  • Lastly, it’ll convey the 5G availability status in your area and whether your smartphone is eligible to use it


In addition to the Airtel Thanks app, users can download Ookla’s Speedtest app. The app will give you complete information about the 5G rollout across India. Here’s how it works:

airtel 5g services
  • Download the Speedtest app from Google Play Store and App Store, if you haven’t
  • Enable all the necessary settings required for the app to run on your smartphone
  • Click on the map icon on the menu bar at the bottom
  • Once the map is loaded, look for the dark blue zones. Those are the areas where 5G services have been rolled out
  • You can zoom in to get the exact locations of the 5G towers
  • If you are keen to try out 5G, pay a visit to the area with your 5G-capable smartphone


Which Samsung smartphones support 5G?

Following are the Samsung smartphones that support 5G.

Samsung Galaxy S22, Samsung Galaxy S22+, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, Samsung Galaxy M33, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 ,Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Z fold 2, Samsung Galaxy F42 5G, Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G, Samsung Galaxy M52 5G, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3, Samsung Galaxy A22 5G, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, Samsung Galaxy M32 5G, Samsung Galaxy F23 5G, Samsung Galaxy A73, Samsung Galaxy M42 5G, Samsung Galaxy M53, Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, Samsung Galaxy A33 5G, and Samsung Galaxy M13

Which Motorola smartphones support 5G?

Following are the Motorola smartphones that support 5G:

Moto Edge 30 Ultra, Moto Edge 30 Fusion, Moto Edge 30 Pro, Moto Edge 30, Moto G71 5G, Moto G82 5G, Moto G62 5G, Moto G51 5G, Moto Edge 20 Pro, Moto Edge 20, Moto Edge 20, and Moto Edge 20 Fusion.

Which cities have Airtel 5G services?

Currently, Airtel has launched its 5G network in a handful of cities which include Delhi, Gurugram, Panipat, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur, Chennai, Varanasi, Guwahati, Indore, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Vizag, Jammu, Srinagar, Shimla, Imphal, and Pune. Expect the 5G service to be rolled out in more regions over the course of the next few weeks.

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?

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.

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.