State owned telco BSNL will provide unlimited 3G Internet without any FUP or data usage restriction through an STV data recharge pack costing Rs 1099 (STV 1099), valid for 30 days, reports TelecomTalk. Earlier BSNL used to offer STV 1099 with 9GB of bundled 3G data for 60 days; this has been revised to 30 days with unlimited usage. The operator had launched a similar unlimited 3G pack costing Rs 700 in 2010, but retracted it later within a year. Currently it offers unlimited 3G internet for EVDO subscribers as well.
In addition, BSNL has introduced two new 3G packs costing Rs 549 and Rs 156, which offers 10GB (30 days validity) and 2GB (10 days validity) data respectively, added the report. All new tariffs were made available from 25th August 2016 across all of BSNL’s 3G circles. Earlier in December, the operator had reduced mobile calling rates by up to 80% for the first two months for new users. In September, BSNL claimed to have around 80 million mobile connections in India, out of which 70% were active. In the same month, overall total mobile connections in the country stood at over 996 million.
Idea, Airtel revises data packs: Last month, mobile operator Idea Cellular reduced its prepaid 2G, 3G and 4G internet packs across all circles: Idea’s 2G pack for Rs 19 offering 75MB for 3 days validity now provides 110MB instead. Its 3G/4G pack costing Rs 22 for 65MB of data for 3 days now provides 90MB 3G data for the same validity. At the same time, Airtel also increased the data amount in its prepaid data packs. More here.
TRAI increases maximum validity of data packs: After issuing a draft amendment in July, TRAI increased maximum validity of Special Tariff Vouchers (STV) for data only packs from the existing 90 days up till 365 days, it said in a statement. This was meant for benefiting ‘marginal consumers’ who largely depend on cellular data for Internet since they prefer low-priced data packs with longer validity.
MediaNama’s Take: Both 3G and 4G wireless data is costly in India, with operators charging anywhere between Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 for data packs over 10 GB (valid for 28 days). Reliance Jio is speculated to offer cheaper data/voice packs, and it already claims 1.5 million users on its test network. This has raised eyebrows in the telecom industry and many operators have already resorted by cutting tariffs. However, as we noted earlier, a longer validity of at least 60 days could be mandated for high value data packs, above Rs 500. We understand that a longer validity does not always mean “affordable Internet”. Cheaper prices for spectrum, opening up unused spectrum to MVNOs, setting up Wi-Fi hotspots in rural locations, could add to Internet penetration.