by May 2, 2011 0 comments



Choice of 3G service provider isn’t just confined to speeds, availability and support. Another big driver is the 3G plans on offer. After all, 3G is still costly, so you want to make sure you get the most cost effective plan.

The trouble is that 3G tariff plans are just as confusing as the 2G ones, because there are so many of them. Each operator has multiple plans, with different levels of data capping, different rates across locations, and different definitions of lifetime validity, etc. On top of that, they keep changing from time to time! This makes it extremely challenging (if not impossible) to go through and make any sense out of them to choose the best one. So we tried to brave it out and figure out the various plans offered by the top 3G operators in the country. There were so many that we couldn’t even fit them in the table below. What we’ve done therefore is presented a summary of the main plans offered by different 3G operators below.

AIRCEL

This operator offers 3 plans. First is Mobile Data Plan which starts at Rs 7 with a day’s validity and 8 MB data usage. It goes up to Rs 975 for one month’s validity and 2500 MB data usage. Second 3G plan is Postpaid Mobile bundle, which ranges from Rs. 505-Rs.1275 with data usage of 550 MB to unlimited respectively. The third and last plan is Prepaid Mobile bundle plan, which is a combo plan that includes all three versions of data, voice and SMS for mobile subscribers. Plans in the category range from 75 MB to 3 GB with prices ranging from Rs 172-Rs 1502, respectively. Aircel provides the same plan for voice and SMS tariff as it was in 2G plan. Base charges for data usage are 3p/10KB.

AIRTEL

Airtel has five 3G plans–Sachet, Standard, Flexi shield, 3G value pack and Pay as you go. Sachet is for prepaid users, and range from Rs.11-Rs 65. (Rs. 8-9 in some cities) with 10 MB of data usage and 1 day’s validity. Post validity, you will be charged Rs. 30p/ 20 KB. Standard plan has four plans ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 750, and is available in pre-paid and post-paid. Data usage varies from 100 MB to 2 GB with 30 days validity. Post validity charges are same as Sachet plan, i.e., 30p/20KB. Another plan is Flexi Shield, which costs Rs. 675 with 1.25 GB data usage cap, and 1p/100KB after you exceed that. There’s also a 3G value pack that gives 20 days validity to pre-paid users and 30 days to post-paid with a data browsing charge of 15p/20 KB. The recharge value varies from Rs 13 – 25. Last plan is pay-as-you-go in which you pay 30p/20KB.

BSNL

For postpaid users, BSNL provides tariff plans ranging between Rs 89 – Rs 2720. At Rs 89, you can avail 0.25GB/month and 2p/10KB beyond that. There are some night usage plans as well, which offer higher data usage at night (e.g. for Rs 549 you get 6 GB/month of which 5GB is for night). For prepaid, voucher prices vary from Rs 100 – Rs 2000, with data usage cap varying from 0.25GB to 22GB and 30 days validity. Once the validity expires, you’re charged 2p/10KB. Apart from these, they offer short term, trail, 3G combo plans and 3G data top ups for prepaid users. Single day usage voucher prices vary from Rs 10 – 50 with Rs. 10 Min recharge and 20MB data usage. The 3G combo vouchers vary from Rs 300 – 2000. Rs 300 voucher gives 300 MB data usage and 30min of free video calling with 30 days validity.




IDEA 3G

Idea has six 3G tariff plans, with tariffs based on sachet, usage, time, data rate cutter, dongle tariff and roaming tariffs. Sachet is valid for prepaid users only and available in Rs 7 and Rs 51 (Rs 2 +/- in some cities). Rs 7 Sachet gives 10MB free data usage with 1 day validity, while Rs 51 gives 50MB and 3 days. Beyond that, you pay 10p/10 KB. Usage based tariffs apply to both postpaid and prepaid users. It varies from Rs 103-1750, with former giving 100MB data usage, 30 days validity, and 10p/10KB beyond. In data rate cutter voucher, users don’t get free data usage, but are charged at 1p/10KB for 30 days and it is available for Rs 55. The Dongle tariff (available for both prepaid and postpaid users) voucher comes for at least Rs 598 (Re 1+/-for some cities) and gives 1GB data usage free for 30 days and 5p/10KB beyond.

MTNL

MTNL offers monthly basic plans starting at Rs 50 for 60 MB and move upto 1650 for unlimited data usage. The best part about certain plans is that MTNL gives free video calls within its network (MTNL to MTNL) for specified amounts of time, which would result in tremendous savings. As one moves up the tariff ladder, free video call minutes increase as a bonus. Also, besides basic plans, there are specific data usage coupons which are designed for specific data usage needs. After the user exhausts the data cap for the plan, he would be billed at 1p/10 KB. These tariffs are alarmingly lower than those of private players. Also, 3G services for MTNL have been around for a long time now and the rates have normalized since inception, making it an appealing option for consumers.

RELIANCE

Reliance 3G has come with pre-paid plans ranging from Rs 100 for 100MB to Rs 2100 for 21GB. Besides there are some daily and weekly plans available for pre-paid customers for prices as low as Rs 20 (25MB) and Rs 98 (125MB), respectively. As for monthly combo plans, prepaid plans include 3G super combo of Rs 299 and Rs 699. The former provides 100 SMS, 300 voice min and 200MB data, while the latter offers 600SMS, 600 voice min and 500MB data. Postpaid plans include Super Combo 199 (300 voice min at 50p/min, 50 SMS at 50 p/SMS and 50MB data), Super Combo 499 (1000 voice min at 50/min, 600 SMS at 50/min and 100MB data) and Ultimate Combo 2499 (6000 voice min at 50p/min, 6000 SMS at 50p/min and 5GB data).

TATA DoCoMo

Tata DoCoMo’s prepaid plans range from Rs 11 to Rs 2000. The small screen plans range from Rs 350 to Rs 2000 with data usage capped at 200 MB to 2GB, respectively. The special tariff vouchers starts from Rs 11 for 10 MB usage (validity 1 day) to Rs 751 for 2GB (validity 30 days). Also, the customer gets rated at 1p/20KB (50p/MB) irrespective of whether he is logged onto 3G network or 2G Network with Rs 200 plan which is lesser than the conventional 10p/10KB. Coming to postpaid plans, the small screen plans are available with a similar monthly rental ranging from Rs 350 — Rs 2000 and same data caps as for prepaid options.

VODAFONE

Vodafone offers 10-12 different plans out of which 4-6 are for mobile Internet (ranging from Rs 102 to Rs 1000), all valid for 30 days whereas the rest are for mobile broadband (ranging from Rs 650 to Rs 6250)which are for 30 days and some for 180 days. The plans start from Rs 100+ where in the user gets free data usage of 100 MB for 30 days. Maximum data usage is provided by the plan worth 1250 which gives the user 5 GB data cap. Both prepaid and postpaid users can avail these plans. The free data usage limit is defined for a time period and once the limit expires, the subscriber can either buy another package or simply opt to pay as he goes. Post expiration of data limit, the user would be charged 10p/10Kb.

The overall pricing is competitive amongst the private players.

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