How to pick the best unlimited 3G plan

Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 20:48 by Tech Correspondent

The popular unlimited 3G data and voice plans from MTNL, BSNL and Tata Docomo

For years cell phone service providers have been working out different voice and data GPRS plans for you, to suit your pretty basic data needs. And now its time to pick the best 3G plan for, and to quote Tata Docomo, your “3G Life”.

Most people who own high-end phones or smartphones will find that they are already 3G capable. But what one needs to figure out now is what kind of usage will you put the 3G service to? Is it going to be for gaming? Mobile TV? Or just plain old email and surfing? Is 3G really worth the higher price you’ll end up paying for it? Related: Airtel  3G services in Bangalore, data plans and tariffs

We are mostly kicked about unlimited 3G data plans on offer by the three companies. True, unlimited plans in 3G – like in the case of wireline broad or wireless broadband – ar rarely really ‘unlimited. There usually is a cap, which you are likely to hit only if you are a prolific daily downloader of movies and games, we think. Related: Tata Docomo 3G in India

Now that iPads and other tablets are also going to be jostling for 3G airwaves with cell phones, it makes sense to pick the best 3G unlimited plan that suits the needs of the voracious consumer of data that becomes available on your cell phones.

Let’s take a look at what’s on the 3G buffet table at the moment. For starters, we have old timers BSNL and MTNL with an array of unlimited 3G plans and then you have the latest 3G unlimited offering from Tata Docomo, while Airtel and Vodafone are still cooking up their offerings. Related: Aircel 3G launch soon

BSNL reduced prices of its 3G services at the end of last month in order to retain and attract customers before the private players stepped in. Also, new customers to BSNL 3G get unlimited free data download for 7 days.

BSNL has also launched an advance monthly rental unlimited plan of Rs. 4,200 valid for six months for both post-paid and pre-paid customers. This will let you download unlimited data for six months. This works out to just Rs. 700 a month, which is really cheap. And considering BSNL does not have a “fair-use” policy (where there’s a data cap), this looks quite attractive.

BSNL Unlimited 3G data plans

Plan Price
60 days unlimited Rs. 2,000
90 days unlimited Rs. 2,500
180 days unlimited Rs. 4,200

BSNL has also slashed prices on its 3G data cards. There are two models on offer at speeds of 3.6 Mbps and 7.2 Mbps:

Data card speed Monthly price
3.6 Mbps unlimited Rs. 2,000
7.2 Mbps unlimited Rs. 2,500

MTNL 3G unlimited data plans

MTNL Delhi also cut prices on its unlimited 3G data plan for postpaid subscribers. It also has a new postpaid offer for 3G data card subscribers. An unlimited plan on an MTNL 3G data card will now cost Rs 1,800 per month from the earlier Rs 2,500.

Free local video calls of 150 minutes will remain part of this plan. MTNL Mumbai offers unlimited 3G data plans at Rs 2,500 for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers with a 25 GB data cap.

Tata Docomo’s unlimited 3G plans

And then there’s Tata Docomo to look at. It had its 3G services on offer for free for 7 days, till Nov. 11. Depending on your 3G usage, you could choose to go for a voice and data 3G plan or only a plain data plan. If you use your phone for voice a lot, choose a combined plan.

The best on offer from Tata Docomo would be the 7.2 Mbps unlimited 3G plan with 10 GB data cap at Rs. 1,500. A slightly cheaper plan is the 3.6 Mbps plan with 10 GB data cap at Rs. 1,250.

For those who also want to use voice calls a lot, one can choose a data-limited plan like the Rs 750, 3.6 Mbps plan, where one gets Rs. 1,250 worth of call minutes as well.

Vodafone, Airtel, Aircel and Reliance are also working frantically to get their 3G plans ready – Tata Docomo has already stolen their thunder by becoming the first private telecom player to launch their service. Considering the huge interest in Tata Docomo, the other players have no option other than to make their own 3G plans even more attractive. We can hardly wait!

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  1. Yogesh Khetani said on Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 5:43

    Would love to see Airtel 3G coming into play.

  2. Avik said on Monday, January 24, 2011, 13:04

    This is a great compilation of data has helped a lot specially that data cap thing,
    Thanks You Saved Me.