Home » , , , , ,

MTNL Launches 3G With Data Priced At Rs. 5/MB

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someone

MTNL has launched its commercial 3G by making the mistakes most telcom operators made across the world – overpricing. The 3G data services are ridiculously priced at Rs. 5/MB, whether you are accessing via the handset or the data card. The HSDPA data card is priced at Rs. 5000, and there are additional HSDPA monthly service charges of Rs. 149.

Broadband vs GPRS vs Data Cards


Frankly, it all depends on how you view the service – as broadband, faster GPRS or as a data card connection. With Airtel, I am paying Rs. 6.144 for every MB of data I download using GPRS (around 5-8 kbps, and assuming Rs. 0.6/kb). In that context, 3G is cheaper. But for the Reliance Communications data card, I’m paying much less at around Rs. 740 for 1G of download, which works out to Rs. 0.72 per MB. The data card connectivity is poor and I use it sparingly, so my usage is typically much lower than 1GB.

The problem comes in when the amount of usage increases, with high speed reliable connectivity. At Rs. 5/MB, your monthly bill will skyrocket if you’re not careful. Which is why, from a consumers perspective, it should be compared to broadband, which is much cheaper – MTNLs TriB Unlimited 512kbps plan is priced at Rs. 1299/month.

Compared to the low speed data services, where you are being charged more for less, MTNL 3G is priced much cheaper, but compared to other data cards and broadband, it’s much more expensive. 


We doubt that MTNLs current pricing will last very long: we expect limited uptake, low usage, and that MTNL will take another look at the pricing of 3G services around Independence Day (they have  a thing for making announcing sops on national holidays)

[poll id=”8″]

Video Calling
3Gs open secret is that, from a consumers perspective, the only thing the technology offers is greater bandwidth – which allows better voice quality, and data services like video. Services like video calls have limited usage – unless you’re doing a video meeting over the 3G network, how many consumers will talk with a phone in front of their face? Video Calls have not lived up to their hype, globally. 

The pricing of the service is as follows:

Activation charge:  Rs.500 + service tax
Fixed charges:  Rs.599/- per month
Voice call to own network:  Rs.0.60 per minute
Calls to other network: Rs. 1.00 per minute
Video call own network: Rs.1.80 per minute
Video call other network: Rs. 3.00 per minute
STD/ISD: As per Budget plan
(a) STD video call: Rs.3.75 per minute
(b) ISD video call: Rs. 30/- per minute
Local/STD/ISD SMS: As per Budget plan
Data @ GPRS/3G/UMTS/HSDPA usage rate: Rs.5/- per MB
Data @ HSDPA monthly service charges: Rs.149/-
MMS: Rs.3/-
HSDPA card (Optional)*: Rs.5000/-

Taxes extra wherever applicable. HSDPA Card not provided by MTNL

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someone
  • As a marketer, I see lots of opportunities associated with 3G. Now a days, we hear lot of buzz about internet marketing, mobile marketing, advertising using social networks, blogs, microblogs and customer engagement through various applications based on Internet. Here is how I see 3G as major opportunity for marketers:
    Internet possesses personal nature. That is, most of things you do on internet are personal. Be it your email, social networking sites, blog or anything else. Everything is accessed by username and password. The only barrier to this was non mobility of Internet! With 3G this problem will be solved and you will have access to your private mailbox, blog, photos and anything on internet wherever you want.
    Potential is enormous, market place is changing, customers are responding and marketers are adapting to changes. Challenge is to tap the potential of this medium! MTNL calls its 3g services as "MTNL 3G JAADU". Let's see what JAADU it does to Indian telecom industry.

    • You can already access your mailbox, blog, photos on the mobile. I have been doing that for the past couple of years now. I don't think the world has been turned upside down as a result of that.

      Nor will being able to do the same over 3G achieve that end. Not at the current price points, not to mention form-factor issues.

  • Even I am doing same since many years. Point of difference with 3G is broadband availability while you are on move.
    Changes do not appear over night. Mobile itself took almost 10 – 12 years to penetrate up to 30 % of Indian market. Question here is to tap the potential of 3G. Price and form factor issues would surely be bottleneck for growth of 3G. But that is where the innovation comes in. iPhone would not have been a success story if innovative applications would not have been around. So, let's hope something fresh and new during this market scenario.

    • What you had said earlier was about non-mobility of the Internet, was responding specifically to that.

      In 12-13 years, 3G will be an archaic standard and not something that will potentially change the world.

      It has not done so in South Korea, which is apparently the bastion of 3G and mobile broadband.

      Only the latest iPhones are 3G enabled, the iPhone revolution took off without 3G.

      And regarding the apps on iPhone, the story there is that the platform itself had a use case at a reasonable price for the market it was aiming for.

      Which is why you don't see the same success with iPhone in India.

      Different market, different realities, different revolutions.

  • MoByte

    I think MTNL has played it safe. They clearly had the opportunity as the first players in this market to turn things on its head but havent done so, maybe its because of the rush in which they have been forced to launch this service (upcoming elections? raja's insistence? delay in 3G auctions? who knows).

    The thing to do would be to offer standard telecom rates for voice and for all things data move to a per MB charge (chargeable at half MB) which would include sms, mms, data access. Content to be paid seperately for.

    3 Plans could have been offered, one which were – Pay as you go @2/- per MB. 50/100MB at 1.8/MB and 1GB at 1000, unlimited at 1,500.

    That would have been fun…and set the market on fire

  • NKS

    Internet penetration is dismal in India and it doesn't look like reaching the growth levels of mobile telephony anywhere near soon. so the faster roll out of cheaper 3G by all operators is vital for unleashing the potential of budding Indian entrepreneurs in our small town and villages on a faster pace.

  • Vinay Rathore

    Rightly said… its cheaper than GPRS data usage but dont you think that GPRS data is charged on per Kb basis. Opening an email will not cause 1 MB usage then why dont MTNL charge on per Kb basis to really show a business case (if at all it wants?).

    Moreover MTNL is loosing first mover advantage because the way they have priced their services.

    I would like to meet a person who has subscribed to MTNL 3G connection ( I guess not even a single person).

  • MoByte

    Our politicians are visionaries.. specially Ram Vilas Paswan….When he was telecom minister, everyone asked him "Sir, when will we have 3G" his answer was.. "Why 3G, We will get 4-5G". With the way its going… those words seem prophetic!!

  • prasant

    i am using 1gb plan,and 10 paisa per Kb from vodafone and my bill come 6500 to 8000 every month,all are very sick and waste,now looking for MTNL ,i think i should keep 1 usb for roaming and use MTNL broadban at home

  • Vinay Rathore

    @MTNL: Learn something from BSNL