Airtel has launched two models of 3G data cards called Huawei E1731 and Huawei E153 to offer mobile broadband services.
Airtel announced the launch of its 3G services in India this week at an event in Bangalore. By March 2011, the telecom operator plans to introduce 3G services in all the 13 circles for which it has won 3G licenses. Read our story on Airtel 3G services launch
Huawei 3G E1731 is a HSPA+ data card that supports download speed of up to 7.2Mbps and upload speed of 5.76Mbps. It also offers Micro SD support up to 32GB. The second 3G data card Huawei E153 supports download speed of up to 3.6Mbps and Micro SD support up to 32GB. The two new Airte 3G data cards are priced at Rs. 2,499 and Rs. 2,099 respectively.
Reliance Mobile also offers Huawei E1731 under its 3G Mobile Broadband portfolio, but for Rs. 100 more than Airtel. Both Tata Docomo and Reliance Mobile offer HSPA+ that offer speeds of up to 21.1Mbps and are priced around Rs. 4,000. State-owned BSNL and MTNL offer 3G data cards with similar specifications and they are priced between Rs. 1,800 – Rs. 2,000.
Airtel has an edged over others as its 3G data packs remain the same for both mobile and 3G data cards unlike Tata Docomo which has separate plans for mobile and laptops/desktops. Read more about Tata Docomo 3G data plans
Airtel’s 3G data packs starts from Rs. 9 for prepaid customers and Rs. 100 for postpaid users. On Rs. 9 data pack, you get free data of 10MB and validity of 1 day. On Rs. 100 data pack for postpaid customers, the free data download is up to 100MB with a validity of 3 days. In both the cases, after the expiry of free data usage, browsing charges are applied as per 2G charges (30p/20KB).
Airtel’s data pack of Rs. 675, for both prepaid and postpaid customers, offers free data usage of up to 1.25GB. After 1.25GB of free usage, VBC of 1p/100KB up to a maximum shield value of Rs. 2000 is charged. Post hitting the shield value, users get free unlimited browsing at 20kbps speed with a validity of 30 days. And if by default you have enabled 3G services on your handset, you will continue with the same charges, data limit and validity as you had when you were using GPRS services.
Airtel also provides a few Standard Plans, where if you cross the data limit, your extra charges will revert back to the default charges (30p/20KB or Rs. 15/1Mb) and you get 30 days of validity. There are four standard plans of Rs. 103, Rs. 200, Rs. 450 and Rs. 750. Under these plans you get data limit of 100MB, 250MB, 600MB and 2GB, respectively.
Another 3G offering form Airtel is volume based charging packs of Rs 13 for prepaid customers and Rs 20 for postpaid. Both the packs provide zero free data usage and validly offered is for 20 days and 30 days, respectively. Data browsing charge is 15p/20 Kb in both the cases. There is second option called Pay as you go under which, data browsing charges are 30p/20Kb.
Data cards are selling well in the market as they offer Internet access even when you are on the move. These data cards are in high demand amongst the youth and corporate segments because of the higher broadband speed and full mobility they offer.