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3G Thrust: Tariff cuts and new plans drive service uptake
The uptake of 3G services in India has failed to meet expectations. According to industry estimates, there were only about 15 million 3G users as of March 2012, as compared to a mobile subscriber base of 919.17 million.
To drive service adoption, the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) revised their 3G tariffs in 2011. However, the reduction was negligible and did not have any significant impact on the 3G customer base.
3G tariffs were again reduced in April 2012. BSNL slashed mobile data charges by 75 per cent for usage beyond the prescribed limit. Aircel reduced the charges for its pocket internet smart plans, which offered unlimited 3G data usage.
Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular reduced 3G tariffs by over 70 per cent, while Vodafone India and Reliance Communications (RCOM) launched cheap 3G services.
These initiatives have had a positive impact on service uptake. According to industry estimates, the 3G user base increased to 17 million in May 2012.
Going forward, operators are expected to shift from providing 3G vanilla voice services to data services. This would help address the issue of declining ARPUs and profit margins.
tele.net takes a look at the 3G plans being offered by operators…
Two products priced at Rs 11 and Rs 49 are available under this category for prepaid users. The plan priced at Rs 11 is valid for a day and offers 30 minutes of data usage. Usage beyond this limit is charged at Rs 3 per minute. The Rs 49 package is valid for a week and offers 150 MB of data usage. Thereafter, users are charged Re 0.03 per 10 kB.
Four packs priced between Rs 99 and
Rs 750 are available for prepaid users. Post-paid users can avail of three packs, with monthly rentals of Rs 100-Rs 450. All the packs entail 300 MB-4 GB of data usage, with 30-day validity. Thereafter, all users are charged Re 0.03 per 10 kB.
These packs have bill shield values for post-paid users, which allow them to download data worth a minimum of
Rs 750 beyond the usage limit.
Under this plan, post-paid users can avail of 3.1 GB of data for a monthly rental of Rs 675 for 30 days. Usage beyond the limit is charged at Re 0.02 per 100 kB. The shield value for this plan is Rs 2,000.
The plan offers data usage of 10 GB at
Rs 1,500 with a validity of 30 days. Thereafter, users are charged Re 0.03 per 10 kB. The plan has a shield value of Rs 5,000.
The operator has launched 15 prepaid 3G plans priced between Rs 24 and Rs 3,999. These plans offer 24 MB-30 GB of data usage for 7-90 days. Download beyond the limit are priced at Re 0.02 per 10 kB.
Users can avail of 21 post-paid plans at monthly rentals of Rs 100-Rs 5,999 and with a validity of 30 days to six months. The data download limit is 300 MB-12 GB and additional usage is charged at Re 0.02 per 10 kB.
Under this plan, users are charged Re 0.03 per 10 kB of data download.
First recharge plan
The voucher is priced at Rs 950 and users can avail of unlimited internet usage up to 4 GB at a speed of 21.1 Mbps. The speed drops to 128 kbps for up to 6 GB of data download and to 20 kbps after that.
Sachet-based trial packs
Three packs are available under this category, priced at Rs 7, Rs 26 and Rs 44. These entail data usage of 30 minutes, 100 MB and 120 minutes respectively with a validity of one to three days. Beyond the limit, users are charged Rs 3 per minute under the first two packs and Re 0.03 per 10 kB for the third pack.
Under this category, 11 vouchers are available for Rs 102-Rs 1,499. Bundled data ranges from 300 MB to 10 GB with a validity of 30-90 days. Users are charged Re 0.03 per 10 kB for additional download under two plans, while the other plans entail additional data charges of Re 0.02 per 10 kB.
Rate cutter plan
The voucher is priced at Rs 53 and data download is charged at Re 0.01 per 10 kB. The plan is valid for 30 days.
Users are charged Re 0.03 per 10 kB of data download.
The operator has introduced seven plans priced between Rs 250 and Rs 1,250 under this category. These plans entail data usage of 1 GB-10 GB, with additional download priced at Re 0.05 per 10 kB.
The plan is priced at Rs 55 and users are charged Re 0.01 per 10 kB of data usage.
The company offers 3G plans under three categories – mobile broadband, combo and mobile TV.
This category is further divided into MobileNet and data-only plans.
MobileNet prepaid plans
Pay-as-you-go: The plan entails usage charges of Re 0.10 per 10 kB.
Daily/Monthly plans: RCOM offers seven packs under this category. Users are charged Re 0.03 per 10 kB for additional data download. The day pack is priced at Rs 10 and offers 30 MB of free data usage. The pack is valid for a day. The three-day pack offers 75 MB of bundled data and is priced at Rs 30. The weekly pack offers 150 MB of data usage and is priced at Rs 45. Four monthly packs priced between Rs 97 and Rs 448 are available under this category. Bundled data varies between 300 MB and 2 GB, and these packs are valid for 30 days.
MobileNet post-paid plans
Pay-as-you-go: The plan entails usage charges of Re 0.10 per 10 kB for up to 50 MB of data. Usage beyond the limit is charged at Re 0.01 per 10 kB.
Volume-based plans: Four plans priced between Rs 100 and Rs 450 are available under this category. Bundled data ranges from 300 MB to 2 GB and additional download is priced at Re 0.02 per 10 kB for two plans and at Re 0.01 per 10 kB for others.
Prepaid data packs: Four data packs are available under this category – two day, regular, unlimited and long validity. The two-day pack offers 1 GB of data usage and is priced at Rs 98.
Also, four regular packs are available at prices of Rs 153-Rs 650 and with a validity of 7-30 days. Bundled data offered under these packs varies from 1 GB to 3 GB. Users can also avail of three unlimited data packs, with bundled usage between 5 GB and 15 GB. The plans are priced at Rs 800-Rs 1,300 and are valid for 30 days. Two long validity packs, with data usage of 6 GB and 18 GB, and a validity of 90 and 180 days respectively, are also available. The packs are priced at Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,000 respectively.
Under the My Best Plan, customers pay for the data they have used and the plan adapts to the usage pattern and charges the lowest bill amount for the data used. Users are required to pay Rs 250 for up to 1,000 MB of data, Re 0.20 per 10 kB for additional usage up to 6,000 MB, and Rs 1,250 for above 6,000 MB. Under the unlimited plans, users are charged Rs 750 for 5 GB of data download, Rs 950 for 10 GB and Rs 1,200 for 15 GB.
Five plans are available under the 3G combo plans category, with prices ranging from Rs 197 to Rs 702. Bundled data of 50-500 MB is offered under these plans and the additional usage charge is Re 0.10 per 10 kB. All the plans are valid for 30 days. Priced at Rs 154, the E Recharge plan offers 50 MB of data usage within 30 days. The additional data usage charge is Re 0.10 per 10 kB. The FRC plan entails 50 MB of data usage within a month for Rs 174. Additional usage is charged at Re 0.10 per 10 kB.
Three plans priced at Rs 199, Rs 499 and Rs 2,499 are available under this category. These offer data usage of 50 MB, 100 MB and 5 GB respectively.
Prepaid PocketInternet cards
The company offers five PocketInternet cards for Rs 5-Rs 251. Users can avail of free data usage with a minimum limit of 50 MB. These plans are valid for 1-90 days.
Post-paid PocketInternet cards
Two post-paid cards are available for Rs 98 and Rs 251. Users can avail of unlimited bundled data and the cards are valid for 30 and 90 days respectively.
The operator’s 2G customers can avail of 3G services via their existing SIM cards. New customers are required to purchase a SIM card for Rs 53.49, which includes a 3G start-up kit. The card will be valid for seven days and users need to recharge with another voucher to avail of 3G services. Customers migrating to 3G from 2G will be charged Rs 59 for a new SIM card.
Prepaid data services
BSNL offers a start-up kit for Rs 100, which provides 1 GB of data usage and is valid for 30 days. The data plan is priced at Rs 51 and entails 200 MB of data usage within 30 days.
Also, recharge vouchers of Rs 25-Rs 3,000 are available, which offer bundled data of 100 MB-30,000 MB, and are valid for 1-90 days. Additional data usage is priced at Re 0.02 per 10 kB under all plans.
For post-paid users, BSNL has reduced its mobile data usage charges by 75 per cent for usage beyond the prescribed limit. The revised rate is Re 0.01 per 10 kB.
The operator offers 15 3G data vouchers for prepaid users. These plans are priced between Rs 50 and Rs 1,650, with validity ranging from seven to 90 days. Unlimited data can be offered under these plans with the minimum limit being 75 MB.
The operator offers 10 data plans for post-paid users, each with 30-day validity. Priced between Rs 50 and Rs 1,650, these plans provide bundled data of 75 MB-100 GB.
With voice services reaching saturation levels in urban areas, operators are trying to leverage 3G services. Improving the network quality and content would be crucial to their success in tapping this new revenue opportunity.
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