After Idea, BSNL slashes rates; now cheapest 3G operator in India

After Idea Cellular, it is the turn of the country’s biggest Internet Service Provider BSNL to slash 3G data rates in an effort to test demand.

The state-owned company has unveiled three new 3G data plans that are cheaper than any other on offer right now, except for the unlimited @750 offer from its partner MTNL in Mumbai and Delhi.

BSNL is no longer the cheapest. To get the latest tariff comparison, click here.

Like Idea Cellular, BSNL too has launched the new plans as a pilot and may withdraw them next year, depending on demand.

Interestingly, Idea, which launched such a discount scheme in July/August, has stopped showing the extra entitlements under the new schemes on its website, under the relevant recharge-options. Idea’s scheme was valid till December this year.

It had essentially halved data charges by offering double the amount of data compared to before (and all other players, including BSNL.) As a result, someone recharging for Rs 750 would get 4 GB, instead of the industry-standard 2 GB of 3G data usage.

Whether or not Idea’s discounted rates are available, BSNL’s new schemes surely are so across the country.

However, unlike Idea, BSNL’s offers are meant for mobile broadband users – subscribers who use their phones for connecting their PC to the Internet.

As a result, there are no discounts at the lower end of the price band.

The three new BSNL schemes are for Rs 750 (751 in some places), Rs 1260 (1261) and Rs 1575 (1576).

The new schemes make BSNL the cheapest 3G data service provider in India, outside of Delhi and Mumbai.

For example, while nearly everyone provides only 2 GB of 3G data for Rs 750 per month, the new scheme gives 5 GB; 1 GB more than even Idea’s new offer.

Similarly, the Rs 1260(1261) offer gives a whopping 10 GB of 3G data per month, the same as Idea’s new offer but double what other operators are offering. The Rs 1575(1571) recharge will give you 15 GB.

In addition, BSNL already has the cheapest 3G data plans for phone-usage – Rs 197 for 500 MB. Most others charge around Rs 300-400 for similar amount of data.

It may be noted that BSNL’s default 3G call rates are 70 paise per minute, but can be brought down to 49 paise per minute by switching to a cheaper plan by sending an SMS.

In addition to the rate-cuts, BSNL is also offering a 20% discount on the price of its 7.2 and 14.4 Mbps USB Data dongle (data-card) till 26 October.

BSNL is the only operator in India to have 3G services across the country (including through a partnership in Mumbai and Delhi.) It was one of the fastest growing operators but has seen hard times of late due to a failure to respond to nimble marketing by its private sector rivals.


Idea slashes 3G rates, offers among the cheapest 3G data plans in India

India’s cheapest 3G plan, unlimited data for Rs 750 per month, launched in Delhi, Mumbai