After some delay, airtel has launched 3G services in Karnataka and will complete the launch of the most awaited service in all the 13 circles that it has won by March 2011.
The telco has introduced what it calls ‘easy-to-understand intuitive 3G tariffs’ with personalised data usage limits. 3G customers of airtel will be able to manage their 3G data usage with usage alert, which will help prevent ‘bill shock’.
The big dampener is lack of unlimited data plans. We are yet to get the details on tariff plans, so we will reserve our verdict on pricing.
MTNL and BSNL introduced 3G services more than a year ago, thanks to government allotting them spectrum one year before the spectrum was auctioned to private players.
Tata DOCOMO was the first private telco to introduce its 3G services in all the nine circles it bagged spectrum in November last year. They offer very competitive tariffs including 1paisa per kb plans, and calling at par with 2G tariffs. It has several unlimited usage plans for data card users with starting price of Rs 1000.
Reliance also introduced its 3G services in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chandigarh in December and plans to rollout in all 13 circles by March. Like airtel, Reliance has also not introduced unlimited tariff plans. However, the pricing is competitive.
Announcing this, Sanjay Kapoor, chief executive officer, Bharti airtel said, “It is indeed the start of a new era when 3G services in India roll out on airtel’s network. World over ‘Data traffic’ on the back of high speed internet and use of social networking has already exceeded the ‘Voice traffic’. India is ushering in the domain — though later than most of the world – but no doubt we will catch up at a much faster speed”.
He further added, “3G is much more than a technology migration – it is a transformational shift – and airtel’s focus would be to bring to its customers an enriched user experience on the back of a world class delivery network. I welcome all 745 million mobile customers of the country to be a part of this journey with airtel!”
3G services of airtel is delivered on HSPA network (3.5G GSM technology) which will enable speeds upto 21 mbps.
Services like multimedia services, high speed mobile broadband and internet access with the ability to view videos on mobile phone, make video calls, watch live TV, access high speed internet and enjoy live streaming (watch videos on real time basis) would be available on these services.
The offer from airtel will offer two types of tariffs plans, time-based plans for light users of data — where usage and billing will be by hour and flexi-shield plans for heavy users of data — where usage and billing will be capped.
Vodafone, idea cellular, Aircel and STel have also bagged 3 G spectrum but are yet to launch services. It is expected that they will launch their services before March.