Aircel has launched relatively cheap mobile data packs for 2G and 3G internet, starting at Rs 9 per day. All the plans offer 3G data except in circles where only 2G is available. Each plan comes with a limited amount of data, post which customers can browse on a bottlenecked connection.

The Rs 9 plan offers 100MB of data for a day, the Rs 79 plan offers 1GB over 10 days, the Rs 249 plan offers 3GB over 30 days and the Rs 399 plan offers the most data at 7.5GB for 15 days. Note that the Rs 9/79/249 plans have a limit of 100MB of fast data per day, while the Rs 399 plan has a fast data limit of 500MB per day. Post reaching the daily limit, the network speed is slowed down, although Aircel doesn’t say by how much.

The data packs can be purchased online or through offline stores like regular data packs, while the Rs 9 pack can also be purchased via USSD subscription. Interestingly, a few other operators also offer a 1-5 day data packs, but these aren’t quite as cheap. Vodafone charges Rs 26 for a 2 day data pack offering 75MB 3G data while Airtel charges Rs 23 for a 2 day data pack offering 70MB 3G data. Idea’s data plan starts at Rs 49 for 150MB of 3G data and a 5 day validity.

Hikes in data packs: Note that in August, Airtel and Idea lowered the data limits and validity of prepaid 3G recharges in India. At the time we noted that Rs 100 recharge for 300MB of 3G data (varies between Rs 97-Rs 103, depending on provider), with a validity for 21 days, had been reduced to 250MB of data and 10 day validity. Telecom providers have also resorted to violating net neutrality to offer packs, for example Uninor started excluding VoIP calls over its social data packs.

MediaNama’s take: Aircel’s data packs should be extremely useful for people who are out of WiFi coverage only when travelling, or when the internet is down, as they just can avail a 1 day pack over USSD. Also it’s cheap enough that most people should be able to buy it in case they need access to the internet for a day. Not being able to use data over 100MB is a mixed blessing. Regular users can use 100MB of fast data each day, no matter how much data they actually end up using, although this also means users that want to use over 100MB of data of their 3GB a day can’t. Additionally, it doesn’t seem like Aircel will allow data to carry over to the next day if the full quota of 100/500MB is not used up the previous day.