Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Introducing the world of 3G to Indian mobile consumers–A review of 3G service providers and their tariffs

After mobile number portability it is now time for the telecom industry to woo the customers to the latest in the industry. Yes indeed, 3G is the talk of the town. With 3G available from all the major service providers both for their pre-paid and post-paid consumers, everyone can now experience ‘on the go’ internet experience from their smart phones. What remains to be seen is how the Indian consumers are going to embrace this technological advance. And this to a great extend will depend on the data plans and tariffs that the service providers will offer. I have compiled a list of major 3G service providers along with the details of their post paid charges (wherever available).

Comparison of the tariffs and service

3G service

Of all these, Vodafone’s deal is currently the best as one gets to try the 3G experience ‘at no extra cost’. But when Vodafone will start charging for the service, I guess BNL will get back to be he best again. Not only are the charges vey nominal, the service is also good. I find Airtel to be the costliest amongst the lot (They even charge you at 50paise per minute on Customer service calls – that’s pathetic!). I have personally tried Airtel and BSNL and from my experience, I find BSNL beat Airtel hands down I terms of cost, browsing speed and issueless connectivity. Airtel has intermittent breaks in connection and is relatively slow in comparison. Vodafone, I heard lives up to the ‘Super man’ zoo-zoo levels of expectation. (Again Vodafone did come up with the best series of Ads for 3G – they seem to have on hell of a creative team)

3G tariffs

State wise list of service providers:

Here is the details of 3G service provides in different states:

State Service provider
Andhra Pradesh Bharati Airtel, Idea, Aircel
Assam Reliance Telecom, Bharati Airtel, Aircel
Bihar Bharati Airtel, STel, Aircel, Reliance Telecom
Delhi Bharati Airtel, Reliance Telecom, Vodafone
Gujarat Idea, Vodafone, Docomo
Haryana Idea, Vodafone, Docomo
Himachal Pradesh R C0m, Idea, STel, Bharati Airtel
Jammu & Kashmir Aircel, Reliance Telecom, Bharati Airtel, Idea
Karnataka Bharati Airtel, Docomo, Aircel
Kerala Idea, Docomo, Aircel
Kolkata Reliance Telecom, Vodafone, Aircel
Madhya Pradesh Idea, Docomo, Reliance Telecom
Maharashtra Idea, Docomo, Vodafone
Mumbai Bharati Airtel, Reliance telecom, Vodafone
North East R com, Bharati Airtel, Aircel
Orissa STel, Aircel, R com
Punjab Docomo, Idea, Reliance Telecom, Aircel
Rajasthan Docomo, Reliance Telecom, Bharti Airtel
Tamil Nadu Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel
Uttar Pradesh (East) Aircel, Idea, Vodafone
Uttar Pradesh (west) Docomo, Bharti Airtel, Idea
West Bengal Bharti Airtel, Reliance Telecom, Vodafone, Aircel


Even though 3G is  the hot cake now, the usage will greatly depend on competitive pricing. Also as a smart phone (like iPhone, android models or Nokia smart phones) is a basic necessity for this service, that will also act as a dampening factor. Nevertheless, I believe that this revolutionary technology will reach the masses very soon even if the service is priced quite on the higher side now. I am sure the charges will settle down to customer friendly rates within a short time – remember when cellphones came to India, incoming calls were charged at Rs.65 per min and today we are paying homage to 1 paise/min!

What do you think? Do you have 3G enabled handsets? What 3G service do you use and how do you like it – Please share your views!


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