Idea Cellular has launched 3G services in Delhi and Kolkata, through an intra circle network sharing agreement with Vodafone, reports Telecom Talk. It also mentions that one of its reader is able to access Idea’s 3G network from a Vodafone connection in UP (West), where Vodafone was planning to launch 3G services shortly. This is just a week after Vodafone launched 3G services in Andhra Pradesh and Kerela, the two circles where it had failed to secure spectrum, via an intra circle arrangement between Vodafone, Idea and Airtel.

What’s worth noting however, is the fact that tariff plans offered by Idea are comparatively cheaper. According to the their respective websites, In Delhi, for prepaid subscribers, Idea is offering 200 MB data for Rs 102 and 500 MB data for Rs 198, while Vodafone offers 100MB data for Rs 109 and 500MB data for Rs 375. Also, Idea will charge 5p/10kb for usage after the bundled data allowance, while Vodafone charges 10p/10kb. Similarly in Kolkata, Idea is offering 200MB data allowance for Rs 103, while Vodafone offers 100MB for the same price. We observe the same in 3G dongle tariffs or Mobile broadband tariffs . While 2GB data costs Rs 598 on Idea prepaid, Vodafone charges Rs 650 for 1GB data, in Delhi circle.

– This implies that Idea is offering cheaper data plans, when it’s using Vodafone’s network. So ideally, shouldn’t Vodafone’s own customers get comparable or cheaper tariffs? Or maybe the network sharing agreement is based on some specific terms, most probably keeping in consideration the spectrum acquisition cost in each circle, which enable Idea to offer cheaper data.

– In the MNP era, will this not result in subscribers porting to other networks for cheaper data tariffs, since voice tariffs are anyways at parity? Also, if as a Vodafone customer, I get to access the same network with cheaper tariffs, why would I not mind porting to Idea?

– Like we said earlier, why not let the market forces determine spectrum cost and allow players to share spectrum, when they are already doing it via Intra circle roaming arrangements?

Meanwhile, the TRAI has issued a notification directing all mobile phone service providers to specifically mention, the cities and states in which 3G services have been made available while advertising them, reports Livemint. The regulatory body issued the notification, after it received several consumer complaints related to telcos not being able to provide 3G services in their service areas.

Intra Circle 3G Deal Helps Vodafone Launch 3G In Andhra Pradesh, Kerala