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General FAQs

Question: How much does it cost for a Post-Paid connection?


  1. K2,605 refundable deposit for roaming
  2. K125 monthly access fee (service charge)

Question: I have a post-paid plan. How do I check my credit limit?
You can simply type 'SPEND' and send the text to 4478.

Question: How do I top up the airtime credit on my phone?
To top up the airtime credit on your phone, follow these instructions:

  1. Dial 113; listen and follow the voice prompts or instructions.
  2. Press *113* followed by recharge numbers, followed by # then send or ok button.

Question: How do l know what the balance on my prepaid number is?
Either dial 114 and to the voice recorder or press *114# followed by send or ok button.

Question: Where can I buy top-up cards?
You can access or buy your top-ups from most filling/service stations, supermarkets, dealers, vendors and Airtel centres.
See our full list of shops and dealers.
Question: Where does Airtel have coverage?
: Click here to see our coverage map

Question: What is a personal identification number (PIN)?
A PIN is secret code that protects your SIM card from being used if it is stolen. When you use your SIM card for the first time, the code is inactive so that you can use your phone as soon as the battery is charged. When you activate your PIN, you must enter your code each time you switch on your phone. This means that only you, or someone who knows your code, can use your phone. To activate your PIN, read the instructions in your phone's manual, or call customer care on 111 or visit any nearest Airtel centre.

Question: My phone says PUK. What does it mean?
PUK is an abbreviation for Pin Unblocking Key. Your phone will display this message if a wrong PIN number has been entered more than three times. If you have the PUK, simply enter the eight digits and press ok and you will there after be asked to enter your pin code (you can change it at this stage if you like) and you will then be asked to verify/confirm your PIN number. Please note that for some Motorola (especially classics) handsets, you have to press **05* before you enter your PUK.
Question: How do l become a Airtel Dealer?
You must have the following:

  1. A registered company under the Registrar of companies
  2. Must have a Certificate of lncorporation
  3. Must have a valid VAT certificate
  4. Must have a valid trading licence

Please note that the minimum purchase of cards you can get is K500.00 with a discount of 5%

Question: When people call me, they can't get through. Instead they are asked to leave a message. Why is this happening?
This is simply means that you have activated voice mail service.
This is a service that operates like an answering machine. With this service you can keep track of all your missed calls should you set one of the following conditions on your mobile phone.
outside coverage/your phone switched off
phone busy/not answered
Please remember that you can also record your own voice to tell your callers to leave messages for you.
Question: How do I activate voicemail?
Find out more about activating voicemail.
Question: Why does my phone give a busy tone when I try to call another number?
This is probably because the person you are trying to reach is engaged (already on the phone) or is trying to call as well.
Question: There are times when l call a number and l am told that the number l have dialed knows l am waiting, what does this mean and will l be charged for waiting?
When you get this message, it simply means that the number that you dialed is at that moment connected to another call and has active call waiting option on their handset and they really know that you are waiting and there is no charge.
Question: Why does my phone say 'SIM rejected'?
This means the SIM card is damaged, either because someone has entered a wrong unblocking code more than three times. Always handle your SIM card with great care. If your SIM card is not working visit one of our Airtel centres and we will replace it for you at a fee of K5
Question: l have lost or misplaced my SIM card and still want to maintain the same number, what do l do?
You have to walk in any Airtel shop or Airtel authorized Dealer for a SIM Card replacement. You will be charged K5 for a new SIM card with the same number.
Question: I have lost my phone and there is some credit still left in it. Can I find my airtime that was there?
Upon replacement you will be able to find your airtime if it was not used. For more details, please contact the Customer Care team on 111.
Question: My phone has been stolen. Can you block it?
No we do not block handsets but we can block your number. For the safety of all our customers, we need written instructions to block a number. Please send a letter or fax to:
Customer Care Manager,
Airtel in Zambia Limited
PO Box 320001,
Lusaka OR.
Fax 0211 250595
Take the letter to your nearest Airtel center.
Question: I want to see my call records. Can you print it for me?
If you are a Prepaid customer, a search warrant coupled with any documents that will prove ownership of the SIM Card must be issued before we supply the call records. This is a security measure to prevent anyone from accessing your records. This is done by the police.
Question: What advantages does Airtel have over other networks?
Airtel has a higher quality network with wide geographic coverage and plenty of additional services. We have competitive personal rates and business rates to suit your pocket, and excellent Customer Care.
Question: Do you repair phones?
Yes we do but only if the phone was purchased from us and is still within the twelve months guarantee period.
Question: How do I dial an international number?
Read our guide to Dialling International Numbers.
Question: Why does my phone tell me that my top-up card is invalid?
This means you have entered wrong activation/recharge numbers; ensure that you enter correct numbers. If the problem persists contact Customer Care on 111 from your Airtel mobile phone.
Question: What is roaming?
Read our guide to Roaming.
Question: In which countries can I roam?
See our list of countries where you can roam.
Question: Why don't I have a signal on my phone?
There are three possibilities:

  1. You may be outside Airtel coverage
  2. Your handset may have a network problem
  3. Your SIM card may not have been used for 3 months and hence may have been de-registered from our system

Question: To which countries can I send international SMS text messages?
Read the list of countries to which you can send SMS text messages.
Question: When I connect to the internet on my mobile phone, it says "connect time out".
This happens when the phone has temporarily lost internet connection. To resolve the problem you can contact our mobile data helpdesk on 575 or visit the nearest Airtel centre
Question: Can l access the lnternet on my phone?
Yes you can if you have a GPRS/EDGE enabled handset, all you need to do is – send a text message typed 'ALL' to 575 and you will receive the settings via SMS which you will either save or accept. To activate follow instructions and your handset will be ready to browse the internet. You can also call 575 to request for the settings or visit the nearest Airtel centre.
Question: How do l switch from one tariff to the other?

  1. Classic Tariff Plan
    1. To change back to Classic Tariff Plan SMS 'cs' for Per Second billing or 'cm' for Per Minute billing to 956.
  2. Family Tariff Plan
    1. To change to Family Tariff plan SMS 'fm' and send to 956.
  3. Freedom Tariff Plan
    1. To change to Freedom Tariff plan SMS 'fr' and send to 956
  4. Generation –X Plan
    1. To change to Generation-X Tariff plan SMS gx to 956