by May 2, 2011 0 comments

BSNL, the oldest communication service provider spans across the country with maximum number of telecom cirlces for 3G services (source: However, there is no official consolidated list of cities/telecom circles on the BSNL website with respect to its 3G coverage across India . Besides, the most nominal data tariff plans with the least pinching tariff ‘traps’ is one of the major reasons to make BSNL 3G your choice.

3G activation

Cost of 3G Prepaid SIM: Rs 59
Activation Charge : Rs 120

Activation Timet: Instant

Acquiring a new 3G SIM, called the USIM from BSNL was not a very challenging task, as both the pre-paid and post-paid SIMs were readily available. In the case of migration from 2G to 3G, the customer may continue with the existing 2G SIM without any charge or may opt for a new 3G USIM (Universal SIM) with higher memory (128KB) for Rs.59. We purchased a pre-paid USIM which got activated immediately. Also, we got the Rs 120 FRC (First Recharge Coupon) done to get the data plans activated.

We got 200MB free data usage. If you are a post-paid customer the activation may take up to 3-4 hours. You need to configure the APN settings (provided by BSNL) for your specific handset. 3G was up and running instantly after the APN settings were incorporated and there were no issues at all.


BSNL has come up with nominal 3G plans as compared to the more expensive plans on offer from the private players. A few plans, say Rs 606 (pre-paid) and Rs 549(post-paid)give you a high 6GB data usage cap, but the catch comes in the data usage consumption pattern which is restricted to a mere 1GB during daytime (7AM to 11PM) and 5GB can be utilized during nighttime (11PM to 7AM). Also, the free data usage pack can be used from both the home telecom circle and while roaming. The other catch is the data rate charges after you exceed the capped limit. For data usage content, you get charged at 2paise/10KB but if you are streaming video content on your mobile, which utilizes the APN ‘bsnlstream’ , the charges get deducted at 25p/MB from main account balance. High data speed experience of 3G may tend to increase your usual monthly 2G data consumption. Hence, if you are planning to use 3G services on a daily basis for browsing, downloading and streaming videos and multimedia content, you should ideally go with nothing less than 1GB capped data plans. Even better, go for 3G Combo Data Plans. Say, you go for 1GB capped data usage plan, you need to pay Rs 1000/month(post-paid) and Rs 1103/month(pre-paid) with which you will get 100 min of video calling minutes, 2000 local voice call minutes and 1000 sms. These plans vary from Rs 300 to Rs 2000 approximately. Short term validity data recharge coupons for prepaid customers (Rs 10/25/50) make more sense for occasional users but keep an eye on the validity which is no more than 7 days after which your data usage charges will be deducted from your main account balance.

Value added services

BSNL 3G facilitates important VAS such as video calling and Mobile TV. We could successfully video call our correspondent from Mumbai who was using a Reliance 3G connection. Video quality was acceptable with little pixelation. Talking about 3G Mobile TV, there are two plans to choose from .Single channel Pack is available on daily, weekly, monthly plan of a single channel subscription for RS10, Rs20, RS30(non-premium channels)/ 50 (premium channels), respectively. Combo Pack is available on a combination of 30 channels for Rs 200.


On the performance front, BSNL was able to give maximum download speed of 0.65 Mbps and upload speed of 0.05 Mbps on the Android platform (HTC Desire HD) and for Symbian, the speed was close to 0.27 Mbps.

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