Airtel SIM Cards and eSIM 2024: a Comprehensive Guide for Tourists

If you plan to visit Sri Lanka for a few days, weeks, or months, obtaining a Airtel SIM card can be a good option for tourists. 

Airtel Sri Lanka SIM card & eSIM

Here is a comprehensive guide that outlines the process of purchasing Airtel SIM cards and eSIMs in Sri Lanka.

I. Quick facts about Airtel

Airtel is an Indian multinational telecommunications services company based in New Delhi: 

  • Full name: Bharti Airtel Limited
  • Founded: 1995
  • Services: Fixed line telephone, Mobile telephony, Broadband, Satellite television, Payments bank, Digital television, Internet television, IPTV
  • Subscribers: pproximately 3 million subscribers of the Sri Lankan mobile market (Q4/2022)
  • Frequencies: Airtel currently uses 2G/ 4G LTE and VoLTE. and is currently under testing 5G Capabilities.
  • Awards: National Business Excellence Awards-Merit (Other Services/Other Sectors) (2021), Great Place to Work Awards – Great Place to Work Certified Company – Top 40 Great Places to Work in Sri Lanka (2021), Great Manager Awards – Company with Great Managers 2021. Three Individual Great Manager Awards (2021)

II. Airtel Sri Lanka Coverage and Speed in the Sri Lanka

Airtel can provide telecommunications services that meet the basic needs of residents and visitors to Sri Lanka.

1. Coverage

Availability of mobile internet in Sri Lanka
Availability of mobile internet in Sri Lanka

Airtel’s 4G Availability is a score of 88.9% of time – the winner of Opensignal in 2023.

The availability of Airtel’s network is 88.6% of time

2. Speed

Speed experience of some main operators in Sri Lanka
Speed experience of some main operators in Sri Lanka

Bharti Airtel Lanka Pvt. Limited is an internet service provider which operates in Sri Lanka. Currently it ranks on the place 6 from 11 providers in Sri Lanka.

Its Download and Upload speed are 8.3 Mbps and 1.8 Mpbs, respectively

III.What are the Best Connectivity Options of Airtel for Travelers to Sri Lanka?

There are many ways to connect with Airtel network: 

  • Airtel eSIM for Sri Lanka
  • Airtel SIM Card for Sri Lanka
  • Airtel Pocket wifi
  • Airtel free wifi

1. Airtel eSIM for Sri Lanka


  • Unlimited data plans are available.
  • You will receive the eSIM instantly in your email.
  • It is easy to install and activate.
  • You can use it alongside your local SIM card.


  • Not all cellphones support eSIM cards.

2. Airtel SIM Card

An Airtel SIM card
An Airtel SIM card

If you are seeking an affordable way to access cellular internet in Sri Lanka, Airtel prepaid SIM cards are an excellent choice. They allow you to avoid expensive international roaming charges and connect to major operators’ networks in the country. With an Airtel SIM card, you can enjoy a reliable connection, keep your WhatsApp number, and use it for calls and texts.

3. Other Options

  • Regarding pocket WiFi from Airtel: You can either purchase one and get a separate SIM card for cellular data or rent the device. However, it’s worth noting that this option is less common in Sri Lanka.
  • Using Free WiFi: While it is the cheapest option, it’s important to exercise caution as connecting to open networks may pose security risks. The connection speed can be slow and unstable due to the high number of users.

IV. Best Airtel SIM cards for Tourists & Cost

Note: 1 USD = 302 LKR

You can obtain an Airtel SIM card at Airtel stores in Sri Lanka for prices ranging from 98 LKR to 999 LKR, depending on the specific starter plan you choose. Additionally, SIM cards are also available for purchase at Colombo-Bandaranaike International Airport.

The following starter plans are available:

Price4G/LTE DataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesOn-Net SMSOff-Net SMSValidity
98 LKR100 MBUnlimited50 minutesN/A50 SMS 130 days
399 LKR1 GB/day (30 GB)Unlimited200 minutes1000 SMS50 SMS30 days
599 LKR1 GB/day (30 GB)Unlimited300 minutes1000 SMS50 SMS30 days
999 LKR2 GB/day (60 GB)Unlimited300 minutes1000 SMS50 SMS30 days
Airtel SIM Card packages
Airtel SIM Card packages

Short-term visitors and tourists can also get the Airtel Tourist Packs – Airtel’s tourist offering.

The following Airtel Tourist Packs are available:

PriceDataNighttime Data 1Call Credit
600 LKR2.9 GBN/AUndisclosed
900 LKR5.4 GB4.8 GBUndisclosed
1500 LKR12.4 GB4.8 GBUndisclosed
2000 LKR30 GBN/AUndisclosed
3500 LKR60 GBN/AUndisclosed

V. Does Airtel Sri Lanka support eSIM?

Yes, Airtel in Sri Lanka supports eSIM, which is an electronic SIM card that eliminates the need for a physical SIM card.

Airtel Sri Lanka eSIM is the best choice for tourists
Airtel Sri Lanka eSIM is the best choice for tourists

To activate the eSIM service, Airtel customers can simply download the Airtel eSIM app and follow the provided instructions. Once activated, they can connect to Airtel’s network without the need for a physical SIM card.

Please ensure that your phone supports eSIM functionality before making a purchase. 

VI. Where can you buy an Airtel SIM card and eSIM?

When it comes to purchasing an Airtel SIM card/eSIM in Sri Lanka, it’s important to choose the right place: 

  • Airtel SIM Card for Sri Lanka 
  • Airtel eSIM for Sri Lanka

1. Where to Buy Airtel SIM Card in Sri Lanka?

1.1. Airtel Stores and Outlets:

Airtel in Sri Lanka
Airtel in Sri Lanka

The most reliable option for buying an Airtel SIM card in Sri Lanka is to visit the official Airtel stores and outlets. We highly recommend this to ensure a smooth registration process and to avoid any future issues. Here are the benefits of purchasing from official stores:

  • Staff at these stores can assist you in English, which is very helpful.
  • They will properly register your phone and identity documents.
  • It’s easy to add a data plan immediately.

1.2. Authorized Retail Stores:

You can also purchase an Airtel SIM card from authorized retail stores in Sri Lanka. However, it’s important to ensure that these stores are authorized by Airtel. Buying from such stores may be convenient, but be cautious as they may not provide the same level of support and documentation verification as official Airtel stores.

1.3. Online Platforms:

Travelers can buy Airtel SIM Card on their website
Travelers can buy Airtel SIM Card on their website

Airtel SIM cards may also be available for purchase through online platforms in Sri Lanka. Make sure to choose reputable and trusted platforms to ensure a genuine Airtel SIM card and a secure transaction.

Note: Ensure that your device is unlocked and compatible with Airtel’s network before purchasing a SIM card.

2. Where to Buy Airtel eSIM in Sri Lanka?

When it comes to reliable eSIM providers in Sri Lanka, Gigago stands out with its different packages and affordable prices. Additionally, Gigago offers excellent customer service, providing support 24/7 and offering instant delivery of eSIMs.

Gigago Sri Lanka SIM Card packages
Gigago Sri Lanka SIM Card packages

For Sri Lanka, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 7 days with $7.90 . What is great about Gigago’s Sri Lanka eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $7.90$16.50 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Sri Lanka, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

VII. How to Use and Activate Airtel SIM/eSIM in Sri Lanka?

It’s not difficult to use an Airtel SIM/eSIM for Sri Lanka. If this is your first time using it, please check the instructions below.

1. How to use Airtel Sri Lanka SIM card

You only need to follow these simple steps and everything will be ready.

  1. Insert the SIM card: Locate the SIM card slot on your device
  2. Power on your device: Turn on your device and wait for it to recognize the SIM card
  3. Activate the SIM card: In most cases, Airtel Sri Lanka SIM card will be pre-activated
  4. Set up APN settings if you can not use the eSIM.
  5. Check your services.
Some steps to activate Airtel SIM Card
Some steps to activate Airtel SIM Card

2. How to activate Airtel Sri Lanka eSIM

Getting started with an Airtel eSIM for Sri Lanka is quite easy as follows:

  1. Install the eSIM
  2. Activate the eSIM
  3. Set up the eSIM
  4. Start using the eSIM: Once the eSIM is activated and set up, you can start using its services.

Please check your detailed instructions below:

VIII. How to top up Airtel Sri Lanka SIM/eSIM

An Airtel SIM Card
An Airtel SIM Card

Travelers can follow general instructions on how to top up your Airtel SIM card below: 

  • Visit the Airtel website 
  • Find an option for “Prepaid Recharge”  and click on it.
  • Enter your Airtel mobile number in the designated field. 
  • Select the desired recharge amount or the specific prepaid plan you wish to activate.
  • Choose your preferred payment method from the available options. 
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the payment process securely.
  • Once the payment is successful, your Airtel SIM card will be topped up with the selected recharge amount or the chosen prepaid plan will be activated.

IX. Alternatives to Airtel Sri Lanka

Dialog is the best alternative
Dialog is the best alternative

If tourists feel that the speed and coverage of the Airtel network does not meet your requirements, you can refer to Dialog and SLTMobitel networks – the two networks with the best quality in Sri Lanka.

Regarding coverage, these are the two networks with the largest coverage in Sri Lanka with Availability figures of Dialog and Mobitel being 92% of time and 91.5% of time respectively. 

Especially with the Dialog network, this is the network with the fastest download and upload speeds of 12.8Mbps and 4.8Mbps. Ranked 2nd is Mobitel

X. FAQs about Airtel in Sri Lanka

How can I upgrade my SIM to Airtel 4G SIM?

You can upgrade to Airtel 4G SIM easily by registering your details to receive the new Airtel 4G SIM at your doorstep. The new SIM will be sent to you soon and will also have instructions on how to activate the SIM with your number.

How long does it take to switch to Airtel? 

Once you share the unique port-in code (UPC) and valid address u0026amp; identity proofs, your request would be logged into system. It takes around 48 hours (transfer of number within same state) or 4 days (inter-state transfer) to switch to Airtel.

How can I get a new prepaid SIM Card? 

Now buy a new airtel prepaid sim card online from the comfort of your home. Just select a plan and confirm quick details for scheduling doorstep sim delivery. Alternatively, you can visit any of nearest stores to buy Airtel SIM Card.

Do I have to pay any activation charge for buying a new prepaid sim connection?

No. There are no activation charges to buy a new Airtel Prepaid sim connection.

XI. Conclusion

We’re glad that our guide on getting Airtel SIM cards in Sri Lanka was helpful to you! We hope it has saved you from any potential troubles!