We are nearly 6 months since 3G first rolled out in India – Now-a-days you see every Mobile operator heavily advertising their 3G offerings. Airtel, Vodafone, Tata, Reliance, Idea, BSNL and others are offering 3G services in Metro’s and most of the tier 1 cities in India.
However, 3G has really not taken off as it was expected – Although, telecom operators like Idea Cellular, claim that they have bagged more than 1 Million 3G users, the ground reality seems to be quite different.
Infact, many users who earlier opted for 3G services have already ditched it and gone back to using 2G data services like Edge & GPRS. According to me, currently there must be less than 1% mobile users (let me know if someone knows the exact number of 3G users in India) who have 3G on their phones right now.
[suggested poll – Best 3G providers in India ]
5 reasons why 3G services have not taken off in India
Reason 1 – 3G Pricing far Expensive
This is probably the foremost reason as to why 3G has not been adopted in big numbers – Pricing – These are initial days for 3G, but telecom operators have kept 3G pricing relatively higher than it should have been. Indians are a price conscious lot, and higher pricing seems to have put them off. From Telecom Operator perspective, they don’t have much option but to keep the pricing higher, purely because they need to recover huge spends they have made in buying the 3G spectrum and setting up the infrastructure for the same.
Reason 2 – Pathetic 3G speeds
I have personally tested 3G speeds on Tata & Idea networks and internet speeds are not even close to what they are supposed to be on a 3G network! They are are supposed to offer flawless Video streaming, Video calls and much faster internet experience, but that is not the case. Infact, sometimes the 3g speed is even lower than normal Edge speeds on 2G network ! I have heard of many cases, where users have activated 3G and soon have de-activated back due to slow 3G speeds.
Reason 3 – 3G affects other mobile functions negatively
This is something that telecom operators should sort out immediately. In my personal experience, whenever 3G is activated on a mobile phone, host of other problems crop up. Intermittent or no signals, Voice call break-up, inconsistent 3G coverage are just some of the problem which users face, when they activate 3G on their mobile phones.
Reason 4 – 3G eats up Battery power like crazy
This is a universal issue, but a major reason why 3G has not really taken off – If you keep 3G connection “on” continuously, the battery is eaten up twice as faster as compared to Edge / GPRS data services. For example, my Samsung Spica use to easily offered 2 days of phone usage without a battery recharge, but with 3G on, I hardly get an entire day. I have to charge everyday and sometime it has to be done twice a day!
Reason 5 – Lower Smartphone & 3G Device penetration
Yes, there is no doubt that Smartphone penetration is set to explode in India – but currently less than 10% of all users have smartphones or good 3G devices. There is no real use of 3G services, when you don’t have a hardware / software that will leverage 3G speeds.
These according to me are top 5 reasons why 3G has not really taken off in India.
So, tell us why have you not opted for 3G services as yet ?