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Fix: Airtel SIM not working on international roaming

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  • 4 min read

Airtel is one of the biggest Indian telecom providers with millions of subscribers and nationwide coverage. That said, the carrier does offer international roaming meaning you should be able to use the SIM even when you’re abroad. 

However, that’s not the case every time and you might find yourself in a situation where your Airtel SIM won’t work abroad. In this article, we’re taking a look at why your Airtel SIM might not work on international roaming and the solutions you can try to fix the problem.

What causes this problem?

More often than not, the error is caused by either a temporary glitch in Airtel’s or the carrier you might be using abroad’s network. That said, other common reasons include:

  • SIM not inserted properly.
  • Low network coverage.
  • Carrier issues. 

Also read: How to fix the error ’emergency calls only’ on Airtel?

How to fix this?

Here are six fixes you can try out. 

Restart your phone

One of the first things you should do when troubleshooting issues like this is to restart your phone. Restarting your phone can help freshen things up, which can, in turn, resolve a bunch of seemingly random issues that pop up out of nowhere. 

Check activation status

If you’ve just bought your Airtel SIM, wait for roughly 48 hours for your SIM to activate. Although activation is instant in most cases, sometimes due to network overload, it can take some time to get the SIM activated. Contact Airtel customer support to get an update on your SIM’s activation status.

Reinsert the SIM

Another possible cause of the issues is if your SIM is improperly inserted or not making proper contact with the module inside your phone. Switching your phone off, taking out the SIM and reinserting it again can help solve this.

Also read: Xfinity RDK-03117 error: 5 fixes

Clear your phone’s cache 

Now, this is an Android-specific method and requires you to boot into the phone’s bootloader. Here’s how. 

Turn your phone off and then hold down the power and volume down keys for about 15 seconds to enter the bootloader. If that doesn’t work, consult your phone’s manual or even a simple Google search will suffice. Once you’re in, you should see an option to clear the phone cache. Do that, and your phone should work just fine after the restart. If you don’t see any such option, try out the other methods listed here.

Reset your phone’s network settings

Incorrect network settings can cause all sorts of problems, including SIM cards not being detected or malfunctioning. Doing this resets your WiFi networks, Bluetooth connections, cellular and even VPN settings.

Check out our detailed guide on how to reset network settings what doing so can do here. 
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Contact Airtel support

Finally, if nothing else, you can try contacting Airtel support and having them fix the issue for you. The Airtel customer support representative will be able to point out the exact issue causing the problem and fix it to the best of their abilities. 

Also read: O/G validity and I/C validity in Airtel: Everything you need to know

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: