virginmobile-logo-8aug08Virgin Mobile has launched a wireless Internet data card called vLink, with two tariff plans. vLink costs Rs. 2100. There is a promotional offer – a starter kit for Rs. 99 that allows unlimited data usage for 30 whole days. It has two tariff plans – Rs. 800 per month for unlimited usage. We wonder if there’s a “Fair Usage” limit here.

There is a lower price for moderate users, priced at Rs. 349. Between 8 am-10 pm, users will have to pay 25 paise per minute and in off peak hours (10 pm-8 am) 13 paise per minute. The pricing is not available on the website, nor on Virgin Mobile’s storeTata Indicom has six plans starting for Rs. 299 to Rs. 1250, and had 100,000 data card users as of May 2008.

Too Slow?

The device offers speeds of 153 Kbps, the company has said. Frankly, that market has now changed, and why would anyone go for a 153 or a 256 kbps data card when Reliance and Tata Indicom are offering – rather, promising – speeds of 3.1 Mbps.Virgin has a franchise agreement with Tata Indicom, so both use the same network, but perhaps the EVDO network is exclusively for Tata’s Photon + product. This came soon after Reliance announced NetConnect, also a 3.1 Mbps service.

Comparison With Tata’s Card

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With this launch, Virgin effectively joins the market of datacard providers in the country; others include Reliance, Airtel, Tata Indicom, and Idea Cellular. What we like about Virgin’s data card, is that it is plug and play – there’s no installation CD required, and the card doubles as a 1 GB pen drive, whereas Tata Indicom’s has only 50 MB available.

For the first time, Virgin is going beyond targeting the “style conscious youth” as it puts it and servicing small and medium businesses, small offices and home offices and professionals.

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