India’s largest telecom company, Bharti Airtel, has introduced several cheaper broadband plans in cities like Bangalore and Delhi, as well as high-speed fiber optic schemes in the national capital.
The National Capital Region is the only place that Airtel is offering fiber optic plans. On first look, the plans are slightly cheaper than similar high-speed (8 Mbps) plans it offers using the traditional DSL technology.
For example, in Delhi, Airtel offers 15 GB at 8 Mbps on traditional DSL for Rs 1,300 per month (about Rs 1,450 including taxes.) In comparison, it is offering the same service for Rs 1,200 per month (about Rs 1,340) on its fiber optic network in the same city.
Similarly, a 30 GB connection, at 16 Mbps, costs Rs 1,700 on DSL while it costs Rs 1,600 on fibre.
Another advantage to fibre connections is that they offer much higher speeds than copper wire. While the maximum speed offered by copper wire is 16 Mbps for Airtel in Delhi, fibre is offering 175 GB per month at 100 Mbps for Rs 5,300 only.
The plan, useful for companies and cyber-cafes (not sure if it is available to them), costs only a fraction of what many companies pay for high-speed internet connectivity at present.
Airtel’s fibre optic services (FTTH) are still being rolled out and are not available in most parts of Delhi.
Another factor to keep in mind is that its rates are higher than those offered by those offered by competitor MTNL.
MTNL is offering a starting plan of just Rs 690 (for 7 GB), about half of what Airtel’s fiber plans start at.
While Airtel is charging Rs 1,200 for 15 GB at 8 Mbps, MTNL is offering 20 GB at 10 Mbps for Rs 990 per month. At the high end, MTNL is offering 250 GB at 10 Mbps for Rs 4,990 per month.
That said, both operators are strictly not competitors as their networks are often not present in the same area, and as such, a case for comparison often doesn’t occur.
Airtel has also introduced a slew of new broadband plans in Bangalore, one of the biggest and most competitive markets in India.
The new plans offer significantly more data than the old ones, and many users currently on old plans can increase their data quotas by shifting to the new plans.
The cheapest of the new plans is of Rs 1,050 per month, for 30 GB of data at 2 Mbps. In addition, users also get 1,000 voice minutes as well. In comparison, users had to pay Rs 1,000 per month for 10 GB of data at the same speed, with no free minutes, earlier.
Under the new scheme, users can get 80 GB of data for Rs 1,400 per month at 4 Mbps, and at 16 Mbps for Rs 1,700. 125 GB costs Rs 2,000 at 8 Mbps and Rs 1,900 at 4 Mbps.