Sunday, May 15, 2011

3G Data plans for Apple iPad in Mumbai

While it's fun to use my iPad at home, I look forward to being able to take it out with me on outstation trips and even to work, on days when I do not need to work on a presentation. For that, I need to enable the 3G connection and I have been checking out data plans that work for me. Not too many choices but I have to make do with what is there.

There are four telecom operators offering 3G in Mumbai - Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance and MTNL. None of them have dedicated iPad plans yet. Pity we do not have BSNL in Mumbai. They really have some good offers (the plans below are taken from their site)


Prepaid Plan :
Particulars
Unlimited Monthly Plan
Limited Monthly Plan
Daily Plan
MRP of Recharge Vouchers(RCV) in Rs.^
999
599
99
Free Data Usage
Unlimited
6 GB
Unlimited
Validity
30 Days
30 Days
1 Day
Data Usage Charges Beyond Free Usage
NA
1p/10Kb
NA
Starter Pack in Rs.100^. Free usage with activation 1GB/month for six months.
^MRP is inclusive of Service Tax @10.30%.

Postpaid Plan :
Particulars
Unlimited Monthly Plan
Activation Charges in Rs. *
100
FMC in Rs. *
999
Free Data Usage
Unlimited
Validity
30 Days



The iPad takes a MicroSim, not a regular SIM, and currently, only Airtel and Vodafone are offering this.

My observation is that the Airtel plans are better for you if you are going to be a light user of 3G and mostly connect in wi-fi environments. Airtel offers light-use plans in increments of Rs.100, starting at Rs.100 for 100 MB and going up to Rs.450 for 600 MB. The plan charges are the same for pre-paid vs. post-paid but the MicroSim is offered only for post-paid plans. As I do not plan to watch videos or do heavy downloads on 3G, I am starting with the Rs. 200 plan which offers me 250 MB. I am also likely to cut down the 3G plan on my cellphone to 100 MB/Rs.100. I doubt if I will use it for anything more than mail, if I have the iPad with me.

Vodafone tariffs are similar to Airtel - they do not have a Rs.200 equivalent to the plan I am taking on Airtel. There is a Rs.375 (500 MB) plan which is quite a decent one.

MTNL as always, has very good tariffs, but I wish they would also launch a MicroSim. You could cut the SIM to size yourself, but not everyone wants to do that.

And I am already experiencing life getting more expensive in an always connected world. I pay for 4 net connections now - on my phone, iPad, a Reliance Net connect and then of course, MTNL at home. I have to remember to distribute my browsing across all the four connections so that I use up my volume quotas on each.