In Gujarat circle, apart from government owned BSNL, there are three private operators with 3G licenses, namely, Tata Docomo, Idea Cellular and Vodafone. All three of them cover the major cities of the state, but Idea Cellular has the widest 3G network there, covering more than 160 towns and cities, while Vodafone covers close to 40 locations and Tata Docomo covers only 14 cities (as per the data provided by the operators on their websites).
While in terms of coverage Idea Cellular is a clear winner, let’s find out who wins in terms of data plans for prepaid subscribers.
Idea Cellular offers 3G data at 3 paise per 10 KB in case the subscriber doesn’t opt for a pack. Idea’s packs start at Rs 21 for 75 MB of data valid for 3 days, and excess consumption is charged at 3 paise per 10 KB, which is the case with most other packs too. For 150 MB in 7 days you will need to pay Rs 45. You can also buy 1 GB of data for 7 days for Rs 185. The monthly packs start at Rs 105 with 300 MB data. Rs 205 gets you 600 MB and Rs 245 gets you 1 GB of data. Rs 445 and Rs 745 are the charges for 2 GB and 4 GB, respectively. In the monthly packs the excess data rate is lower at 2 paise per 10 KB. You also get unlimited packs with Idea Cellular for Rs 945 and Rs 1,495 with fair usage of 6 GB and 8 GB, respectively, after which the speed will be reduced to GPRS (2G) levels.
Vodafone charges 2 paise per 10 MB for all excess data or data usage without any pack. The packs start at Rs 49 for 150 MB to be used within 7 days. All the other packs are monthly, starting at Rs 97 for 300 MB. 1 GB costs Rs 249, for Rs 375 you get 1.5 GB, 2 GB is available for Rs 449 and 3 GB costs Rs 649. The monthly packs offered by Vodafone bundle much more data compared to other operators’ plans, and Vodafone offers up to 12 GB, which costs Rs 2,499. Other packs are priced at Rs 849 for 5 GB, Rs 1,249 for 8 GB, and Rs 1,499 for 10 GB. Vodafone also offers night packs for surfing the internet, which are very attractively priced. For Rs 248 you can get 2 GB of data for 30 days, although you need to use it between 12 to 7 am. Similarly, Rs 448 will get you 4 GB of data (with the same time restriction). Vodafone has quarterly (90 day) plans as well starting from Rs 1,799 offering 9 GB of data. The costliest plan is priced at Rs 3,999 for 30 GB of data. You also have the option of Rs 3,399 for 24 GB and Rs 2,499 for 12 GB. However, Vodafone doesn’t offer unlimited plans at all.
Tata Docomo offers the costliest unbundled data charges (charges without a pack or excess usage) at 10 paise per 10 KB. However, in terms of packs the operator is very competitive and offers single day packs for only Rs 5, with 50 MB data bundled. Rs 19 will buy you 300 MB for 3 days and for 7 days you will need to pay Rs 39 for the same amount of data. The operator also has a 21 day pack priced at Rs 255 offering 1 GB data, which makes it very expensive. Monthly packs start at Rs 90 for 600 MB and go up to Rs 450 for 2 GB. There is also a Rs 351 for 1.5 GB pack.
Not just in terms of coverage, Idea Cellular is a clear winner even in terms of tariffs. It is the only player to offer unlimited tariffs and its other packs are also very comparable in terms of price, and offer maximum choice as well. However, in case you are a heavy user you might feel a little constrained by the options. Vodafone is the second best and for heavy users it does have bigger plans, but the lack of unlimited plans makes it less attractive to most users. Tata Docomo seems to have lost steam. It was the first to launch a 3G network in Gujarat, but it has not added to its network very aggressively, and even in terms of pricing it is the least attractive with very few options, and that too more expensive ones.