SUMMARY(#br)In order to obtain unknown symbol rate of incoming signal at a receiver, in this paper, cyclostationary features of linear digitally modulated signals are exploited by proposed periodic variation method. A low complexity but highly accurate symbol rate estimation technique is obtained. The proposed method is based on a superposed epoch analysis over autocorrelations obtained blindly in different sampling frequencies. The obtained autocorrelations are analyzed in the frequency domain, and it is seen that there are large oscillations when the autocorrelation is obtained around the symbol rate. Then, a superposed epoch analysis is developed in order to estimate symbol rate based of the periodic variations on the frequency responses of autocorrelations. The proposed algorithm is... quite accurate in the noisy environment because the noise is having no frequency component after taking Fourier transform of autocorrelations in all sampling rates, and this feature is also valid for the offset frequency that the purposed estimation is not affected by offset frequency. Thus, a successful blind symbol rate estimation algorithm is obtained, and it performs much better error performance than those using the well‐known cyclic correlation based symbol rate estimations, as it is proven by the obtained performances presented in the paper. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.