Airtel announced their 3G data plans and tariff yesterday. The first impression is that the plans are expensive and the loyal users are furious with the announced pricing and plans.
Airtel has created 3 different kind of plans targetting 3 different kind of audience. Light user, Medium user and Heavy user. For light users, they have offered something called Sachet Plans. Under this plan, users will be charged approximately at the rate of Rs. 1 per MB. The Sachets are available at Rs. 9 and Rs. 60 and are available to only pre-paid subscribers.
For medium users they have launched something called Standard Plan. Under this plan, users will be charged roughly around Rs.0.75 per MB of download. The plans are available at Rs. 103, Rs. 200, Rs.450 and Rs. 750. The Standard plans are available to both pre-paid and post-paid subscribers. The validity of this pack is 30 days.
Under both sachet and Standard plans, the 3G internet will stop once the limit is reached. Beyond this, the internet connectivity will switch to GPRS or 2G and the rates would be same as 2G charges which is 30paise per 20 KB (Which works out to Rs. 15/MB).
For heavy users, airtel has launched something called FlexiShield Plan. Under this plan, user will be charged Rs. 675 for 1.25GB data download. Once the 1.25GB limit is crossed, users will be charged at 1p/100 KB (10p/MB or Rs.100/GB) until the bill amount reaches Rs. 2000. Beyond this cut-off, the 3G access will stop and users will continue to enjoy FREE UNLIMITED BROWSING at 20kbps speed. This option is available to both prepaid and post-paid. In case of pre-paid the validity is 30 days. This is a very intriguing plan. If you look at it, you pay Rs. 2000 to enjoy 15.25GB of data at 3G speed. Airtel has placed the cut-off to shield the customers from insane bill amounts.
If you notice the plans, there is no true UNLIMITED plan. BSNL offers unlimited 3G data plan for just Rs. 999. Reliance offers 21GB of data download for Rs. 2,100 at 3G speed. So, Airtel is clearly expensive when compared with other operators. Aircel and others have not announced their tariff yet. Would be interesting to see how the pricing works.
Keep in mind, the 3G data plans and pricing will undergo immense changes in the coming months and will gradually spiral down to lower and affordable rates. Operators are just playing the game of wait and watch. Too early to draw any conclusions.
Airtel 3G Terms and Conditions:
• You will not need to change your airtel SIM card to enjoy airtel 3G services
• You will require a 3G enabled handset/USB internet modem & airtel 3G network to enjoy airtel 3G services - we recommend you to go for a HSPA device, to truly enjoy the power of airtel 3G
• All plans applicable on prepaid. Only Standard & FlexiShield plans are available on postpaid
• Video Calls on ISD & international roaming not allowed
• Roaming on 3G only on airtel 3G network
• Free MBs in 3g data packs not applicable while roaming. Browsing charges of 30p/20kb will apply
• Daily packs will lapse on day of recharge
• You cannot recharge a data pack with another data pack till previous balance is above 50MB
• On recharge with new data pack (when balance less than 50MB)/ change in plan, earlier data balance will be forfeited
• Actual Internet speed would depend on multiple factors like time of day, number of simultaneous users & web pages accessed etc
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