How to enable internet on iPhone in India with Airtel

by Manshu on January 13, 2010

in Personal Technology

One of the things I wanted to do during my vacation here was to enable internet on my iPhone. I got a lot of conflicting information about this, and that delayed the process, but otherwise, it was a pretty simple thing to get done.

Before I describe how I did it, let me state that I do not know if this is the best or cheapest way of doing it, but it is just something that has worked for me.

Here is what I did:

1. Get an Airtel prepaid connection. This was the first thing of course. I got a prepaid connection. I didn’t ask about any data plan or anything else; just got a simple connection and activated it.

2. Activate GPRS: After getting the connection I activated GPRS by dialling this number: *567*2# — and following the instructions. The instructions were mainly about which plan you want to chose etc. The whole process takes about 5 minutes for you to go through, and I think Airtel activated GPRS in about an hour or so.

3. Reset Network Settings: After activating GPRS, — I waited a night before doing anything else. I was told by someone who used the service earlier – that Airtel sends you setting details – that are needed before you can go online. While this might be true a few years earlier or perhaps on some other phone models, — this is not necessary on the iPhone 3G.

But, you do have to reset your network settings on the iPhone before it can access the internet, and I got that tip from the comments on this post.

Here is how to do that:

  1. Go to Settings à General à Reset à Reset Network Settings

The system will prompt you with an ugly red button which says “Reset Network Settings”, and on top it says “This will delete all network settings, returning them to factory defaults”

This concerned me a little bit because frankly I do not know what this actually does. All I know is that I hit the button and the iPhone restarted.

When it loaded up the next time, a little “E” appeared next to “Airtel” on the top left on the screen, and internet started working for me!

I have used it for about a day and so far everything looks fine. At the end of it all, the process was fairly simple and straightforward, and the speed is quite decent too. The apps work fine, and I had to just turn on “Location Services” in Settings  General à Location Services to work with the maps app. Everything else worked on its own, and I hope it works for you too!

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Indian Thoughts January 13, 2010 at 1:17 am

I hope i could have used it.. i am a loyal Nokia customer. 🙂
Good, now u r connected. 🙂


Deb January 13, 2010 at 3:16 am

Be Careful How much money you are getting charged for data usage . For One of my friend who cam from Europe and had few Apps installed on the phone , it cost almost Rs. 200 in a day when the Apps started connecting to network and downloading data


Chirag January 19, 2010 at 10:18 am

Nice one..
I am also a loyal Nokia customer 🙂
Have used iPhone but now I just use iPod.


Annuities February 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm
joe April 21, 2010 at 8:49 am

Thanks man uve just made my day


piyush May 26, 2011 at 11:39 am

Excellent.. it worked for me 2..


Vijay August 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Though the letter E which is besides to Airtel still Iam not able to browse net


VaSy October 10, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Thanks it worked like a charm…


Manshu October 11, 2011 at 5:18 am

That’s great but it was some time ago that I wrote this post and there might be some easier, cheaper and better ways to do it now.


Sivaram October 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm

thank you very much. it was really helpful.


Manshu October 25, 2011 at 4:58 am

Great to hear although this article was written a while ago and there maybe better and cheaper ways to do this now. Might want to call their call center and ask about it.


sabarish December 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Hai,I am Sabarish from India..I ha ve asked my brother to get iphone 4s with contract..Can i use it India or i should do something else…PLZ HELP…


dinesh November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am

that is not at all a problem. we can unlock it here,they will charge you some thousand bucks.then yu can start using yur home.enjoy


Chitrangada December 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I have an iPhone. Something is wrong with it but don’t know what .. 😛
Well, its throwing me an alert tht says ‘Could not activate cellular data network’ and when I access internet it alerts ‘No network connection and ..’ , but I am having net validity and balance.
I am just not getting wats wrong with it. 🙁 .. If any one knows plz help me … God bless .. 🙂



Manshu December 29, 2011 at 12:08 am

No, I’m afraid I won’t be able to help you with that.


Kannan September 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Hi, Am having the same issue. Can you help if you were able to resolve it ?


Malabika April 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Many thanks!! Simple to follow and worked perfectly


subham May 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm

start working thank u boss


Gopi June 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Manshu – Thanks! it helped…


Mohammed September 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

the easiest way for that
go to any shop and tell him i want to subscribe on internet
just like that loool


Hartaj October 10, 2012 at 12:47 am

Hi, my wife was having trouble connecting to the airtel 3g via her i phone 4s. I googled and found this set of instructions and must say…. resetting the i phone network settings worked like magic. The phone restarted and the internet was working just fine. Thanks…….


kannan October 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Hi, Mine is a 4S, but i use a turbo SIM to unlock from the US provider. Is that an issue why my 3G connection is not working ?


Manshu October 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Not sure, but I know of examples where 4S phones work on the 3G network in India so this is definitely doable. You should check this with a shop somewhere that deals with this kind of thing and they might be able to help you get it work.


Loknathan December 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Simply superb…..its working. As soon as I recharged, I resent my Network Settings and it started.


Manshu December 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm

That’s great! I’m a bit surprised that these instructions still work after such a long time. I think there must be a simpler way to activate internet these days.


Daddu January 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm

hey im nw in using iphone in India. i already hav a sim with me but i usually use it with my other mobiles. can i use that same sim or should i switch to a new plan for iphone??


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