We decode how prepaid connections work, and why timely recharge helps.

As a phone user about to buy a prepaid connection, you will have several questions about how the service works. This article explains prepaid connections.

What is a prepaid phone connection?

As the name suggests, it is a phone connection for which you pay before you start using it. For a certain specified fee (also known as the recharge amount) you get to use the connection till the pack validity expires. The pack validity is specified in terms of days. This is unlike the postpaid connection, where there is a monthly billing cycle.

  • The prepaid connection has most of the features and benefits of postpaid connections. You get calling, messaging, data transfer, download and upload functionalities, the same as postpaid plans.
  • Depending on your service provider, you can get additional benefits in terms of a good amount of daily data and calling. For instance, Airtel prepaid online recharge offers unlimited calling (STD, local and roaming) with each plan, as also 100 free SMSs every day. Plus, you get 1.4 GB data per day, either 3G or 4G. Most other providers do not offer a daily data quota, choosing instead to offer a higher amount of data spread out over the pack validity.
  • There is no billing contract that you need to make with the service provider with a prepaid connection. You only need to recharge online to keep the connection active.
  • You can use the connection only within the parameters of the recharge plan. For example, you cannot use more than 1.4 GB data in a day if you have taken an Airtel prepaid plan. If you hit the 1.4 GB limit, your speeds will reduce and the data quota will be restored the next day.
  • Airtel prepaid allows you to select another plan at the time of doing the online recharge. You can do this via the Airtel website or myAirtel smartphone app.
  • Like with other online payments, you get a choice of your preferred payment options on recharge apps – pay using debit/credit card, net banking, UPI apps or third party payment apps. If you use the myAirtel app as an Airtel subscriber, you can also pay using the Airtel Payments Bank.

Why regular online recharge is necessary

The only way to keep the prepaid phone connection active is by recharging online regularly. This does not happen with a postpaid connection, which remains active despite its monthly billing cycle. If you don’t do the online recharge once the pack validity runs out, your services may be curtailed temporarily. You may not be able to make calls or send texts, and your browsing speeds will also drop.

However, all services are restored after you recharge online as directed. We recommend using the myAirtel app for online recharge, since it allows both Airtel and non-Airtel subscribers to recharge the connection. As an Airtel user, you get regular cashback on every recharge, as also a variety of secure online payment options.