Shayne RanaAug 05, 2011 13:40:20 IST
With 3G exploding all over the country picking the right plan can be a little harder than it looks. This is especially true since we have to deal with a plethora of service providers and their in-your-face-ads. Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL (MTNL), Idea et al have come up with a massive range of plans to ‘help’ us consumers, but it can be quite a confusing task for some. With 3G being quite expensive, choosing the wrong plan would mean an instant increase of a few Thousands in your bill. It’s imperative to make the right choice and that’s what we are here to help you with.
We’ve analyzed all the available plans in five of India’s metropolitan cities viz. Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. We’ve computed a comparison chart on the current available plans on the basis of three different user profiles: Low-end users, Intermediate users and Advanced users. Each of these profiles have a separate plan for BlackBerry as well, just in case that’s your preference. We’ve also created two separate comparison charts for pre-paid and post-paid users.
To give you a better idea of what we mean, here’s a short description of the profiles we’ve taken into account –
- Low-end users – People wanting to access basic e-mail, social network and chat on the go, all fall into this category. We’ve capped off the data usage patterns up to 2GB per month with video calling of 100 minutes.
- Intermediate users – This category comprises of individuals wanting ‘more’ out of their mobile internet connection. Their usage includes office email synchronization, access to multiple accounts simultaneously, increased social networking, video calling, downloading of games and applications; and occasional tethering to use 3G services for internet connectivity on other corresponding devices. The usage patterns we’ve identified for this profile are up to 5GB per month with video calling of 200 minutes.
- Advanced users – This last profile would includes people who require high levels of data usage. Besides the usual social networking and multiple email accounts these users would also use services for intensive video calling, frequent downloading of a range of applications and sending and receiving emails that contain large attachments of data like presentations etc.Accessing and downloading files off of Cloud-based services like drop box etc. and tethering or sharing of their 3G connection by using a device as a modem or Wi-Fi hotspot would be characteristic of those in this profile. Their usage patterns have been set at 6GB and above with video calling of around 500 minutes.
Based on the parameters mentioned, choose your profile, select if you're a BlackBerry user (check box) and choose your city from the list. The best available plan will simply show up in the box below.
If you happen to be a post-paid user and prefer to stick to that, you need to follow the same procedure in the box below.
Depending on your location, the plans will vary. There are also other plans that vary on a daily basis so you might want to check with your service provider before getting into anything. The plans we’ve selected currently cover five of the main areas in India. However, please understand that prices and plans will vary with the state and the city you currently are in. Also, mobile network operators are known to change plans without prior notice, so that should be another factor to be taken into consideration. Always check with your provider for more information.
Additionally, a few network operators like Airtel and Idea have an inbuilt usage calculator option that helps users to select plans based on their data usage. However it is limited only to their particular networks. Another website that integrates all mobile networks into one and provides data usage plans is 3GSimplified.
Here are a few points to keep in mind before selecting your 3G plan:
- Remember that data is counted in uploads as well as downloads, besides surfing.
- Make extra sure of the amount of free data and video calling you receive with the plan.
- Do not forget to calculate the post-plan usage that will be billed.
- Analyze the details of the plan. Operators are often known to include hidden charges.
- Make sure you know the exact date your plan ends.
- Insist on a data cap i.e. if you do not want your bill to increase beyond a set figure eg. Rs. 2000, keep a credit limit for that amount. This prevents any possibility of a ‘bill-shock’.
- In all the plans we’ve mentioned and most others, data unused within a given month does not get carried over to the next. Be sure to check this with your operator as well.
- In case of any discrepancy check with your provider by visiting their nearest outlet or calling the toll free number provided.
Airtel Usage Calculator
The 3G revolution is finally here but it’s not yet the most affordable for the masses. There’s also the issue of service not being easily available all around your work or home locations. But we have high hopes that the infrastructure will improve, we just don’t know how long that will take.
As far as pricing is concerned, BSNL is definitely ahead of the rest. If you happen to be a BlackBerry user, currently Airtel plans will give a better value for money.
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