Update: We have published a new article comparing the 3G Data plans of various mobile operators for 2014.
In the last few months, mobile service providers in India have been aggressively slashing their 3G rates to get India Inc. craving for 3G speeds. Bharti Airtel began the price war by slashing its 3G rates by 70%. Reliance was soon to follow with a reduction of up to 90%. Vodafone later announced a decrease of up to 80% in its own 3G rates and so did Idea Cellular.
Indian youth mobile users are known to opt for prepaid over postpaid. Last year, a Nielson survey pointed out that 97% of them used prepaid mobile connections. In this post also, we take a look at usage based prepaid 3G tariffs of some of India’s leading mobile service providers.
Please note that the below comparison is based on 3G rates of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance for the Mumbai circle; and have been sourced from their respective websites.
Idea Cellular 3G pricing
Idea Cellular’s Prepaid Usage based 3G plans start from Rs. 103 for 300 MB and go up to Rs. 2,500 for 10 GB. All these plans come with a validity period varying from 30, 60 to 90 days and usage over and above the allotted data limit is charged at 2ps per 10 KB which is approximately Rs. 2 per MB.
The highlight of Idea’s 3G tariff plan is the Rs. 950 recharge. Valid for 30 days, it offers 3G access up to 6 GB following which unlimited usage is restricted to 128 kbps.
See the entire Idea 3G prepaid Rates
Vodafone 3G pricing
Vodafone’s prepaid 3G plans seem to be very competitively priced and with a tiny recharge of Rs. 26 for 25 MB valid for 24 hours, there is little more that budget ZooZoo users could ask for. 30 day validity plans begin with Rs. 102 for 300 MB and go up to Rs. 1,250 for 5 GB and Rs. 1,501 for 10 GB. Additionally, Vodafone also offers its customers options of recharging for Rs. 502 and Rs. 1002 which come with additional 500/1000 local and STD minutes along with 500/1000 free local and national SMS.
Almost all the plans carry a charge of Rs. 2p per 10 KB once usage limit has been exceeded.
See the entire Vodafone 3G prepaid Rates
Airtel 3G pricing
Airtel has a variety of flexible 3G plans including a tariff termed as the ‘Sachet’ plan type under which 30 mins of 3G accessibility can be availed for Rs. 13. Under the same type, a very exciting budget prepaid tariff option is Rs. 41 for 150 MB which is valid for 7 days.
Airtel’s ‘Standard’ prepaid 3G plans vary from Rs. 101 for 300 MB to Rs. 750 for 4 GB and the ‘High Value’ plans offer 10 GB for Rs. 1,500. Most plans have a validity period of 30 days however unlike Vodafone and Idea Cellular, Airtel’s prepaid packs carry a 3p per 10 KB charge on excess usage instead of 2p.
See Airtel’s full 3G rate Card
Reliance 3G pricing
Similar to Airtel’s Sachet plan, Reliance 3G tariffs also offer a low value day pack of Rs. 10 for Rs. 30 MB, valid for 24 hours. Starting from Rs. 97 for 300 MB to Rs. 448 for 2 GB, Reliance’s 3G plans which carry a validity of 30 days are aggressively priced but lack high value options beyond 2 GB. Like Airtel, excess usage beyond allocated data limit is charged at 3p per 10 KB.
View Full Reliance 3G Rate Card
- Idea’s Unlimited plan is a value packed option as it offers 3G speeds up to 6 GB followed by an unlimited access at 129 kbps for Rs. 950 for a 30 day period. There is no charge per KB up to the expiry of the 30 day period. This plan is a top pick for users with high usage who wouldn’t mind slower speeds after 6 GB usage.
- Airtel and Reliance prepaid 3G plans carry a charge of 3p per 10 KB on excess usage as compared to 2p levied by Vodafone and Idea Cellular, about 50% more.
- Airtel and Reliance 3G users can avail prepaid access to super budget low value plans of Rs. 13 and Rs. 10 respectively. On these plans, Airtel offers 30 mins of 3G access while Reliance offers 30 MB. Both these are top picks for users who want a one-off 3G access for a day.
- Prepaid tariff plans for Reliance 3G suggest that there is lack of flexibility for high end prepaid users who are likely to go beyond 2GB per month.
- Idea offers maximum flexibility in terms of validity period. Two of its usage based plans offer 60 day validity as opposed to the normal 30 day period.
Overall, the 4 leading mobile service providers have similarly priced 3G plans. This leads us to believe that for the average Indian 3G user, connectivity and coverage area should be more important benchmarks than a difference of a few rupees.