It seems that Bangalore was chosen as the first city to see the launch of Airtel 3G as it is Airtel’s largest circle by revenue market share. By March 2011, the telecom operator plans to introduce 3G services in all the 13 circles for which it has won 3G licenses. We had earlier reported that the launch would take place on 14 January; but we were off by ten days.
Airtel 3G launch is crucial for the Indian mobile market because Airtel continues to remain the market leader with maximum number of mobile subscribers in India. Keeping the focus on user experience, Airtel has kept its 3G plans personalized and simple to understand.
There would be time-based plans for light data users – where usage and billing will be by the hour. Airtel will also offer flexi-shield plans for heavy users of data – where usage and billing will be capped.
Under the flexi-shield plan, Airtel is charging Rs. 650 monthly rental for 1.25GB data. Users pay per use cycle till the bill is capped at Rs. 2000. After that, Airtel 3G speed is slashed to 20kbps. Find more plans in the table below:
Airtel also has special data plans for Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet, Samsung Galaxy S and Wave smartphones, and Nokia N8 smartphone. For the Samsung devices Airtel offers 2GB data download per month for 6 months at one-time charge of Rs.300. If you buy a new N8 phone and subscribe to Airtel mobile services (prepaid or postpaid), Airtel will give you free 2GB data per month for 6 months.
Airtel 3G plans are available for other 3G-enabled Samsung and Nokia phones too. However, the telecom operator has not introduced any special data plan for BlackBerry smartphones yet. Related: 3G service providers in India
Airtel is also offering 3G-enabled plug-and-play USB modem and datacards that will let you access the Internet on your laptop or PC at 3G speeds. The Airtel 3G USB modem is priced at Rs. 3,799, buy letsbuy.com is offering it for Rs. 2,149. Airtel is said to offer attractive plans for its USB modem, such as, Rs. 999 per month for unlimited data usage. Other plans include Rs. 350/month for 500MB data and Rs. 599/month for 1GB data at 3G speeds.
Sanjay Kapoor, CEO – Bharti Airtel, said at the launch announcement, “It is indeed the start of a new era when 3G services in India roll out on Airtel’s network. World over ‘Data traffic’ on the back of high speed Internet and use of social networking has already exceeded the ‘Voice traffic.’ India is ushering in the domain, though later than most of the world, but no doubt we will catch up at a much faster speed. 3G is much more than a technology migration; it is a transformational shift and Airtel’s focus would be to bring to its customers an enriched user experience on the back of a world class delivery network. I welcome all 745 million mobile customers of the country to be a part of this journey with Airtel.”
To know more or join Airtel 3G services, customers can call toll free helpline at 12134 or SMS “3G HELP” (without quote marks) to 121 from their Airtel mobile.