Vodafone 3G in India : Review and comparison
Companies spent hundreds of thousands of Crores in acquiring the 3G spectrum from a govt. of corrupt officials. Its been more than a couple of years since our country has been abuzz with talk about 3G networks and 3G data speeds.
While in first world countries like the United States, where total revenue from sale of handheld phones is 1/10 of the total revenue in India, Americans are talking about 5th gen networks and the rollout of Nation-wide LTE services, essentially standing on 4.5 G Networks.
Private players slowly yet steadily roll out 3G Services for consumers in India. Docomo and Reliance were among the first few GSM players to launch their 3G services, followed by Airtel and now Vodafone.
Vodafone was slow in the rollout of their 3G services, they claimed that they were “prep-ing the infrastructure”. To think once the service did roll out the users would get seamless 3G services, WRONG!
If you were upset with your network before rollout of 3G, get ready to pull your Hair! The immediate difference between 3G and 2G data connections, is that the minute you switch on 3G, your network will dwindle from 5 bars straight down to 1 bar. The phone will stop ringing, as the person on the other side gets a response ” this number is not reachable”. While you try all apparent Steve Jobs style poses, you will get absolutely no network coverage.
If by some grace of your beloved deity, you do get a strong signal, you will be appalled with the poor quality of 3G data connections, download speed is shaky and always from 240-800kbps, about half of minimum promised speeds.
Here is how Vodafone Fared in 5 tests carried out in different locations in Delhi.
1 South Delhi : Defence Colony Market : Download : 447 kbps : 2 bars
2. Central Delhi : CP central circle: Download : 723 kbps: 3bars
3. West Delhi : Punjabi Bagh: Download :200kbps : 1 bar
4. North Delhi : Kashmere Gate : Download 640kbps : 3bars
5. East Delhi : Mayur vihar : Download 989 kbps : 3 bars
In all cases phone call quality was poor, a lot of call drops, and the phone was mostly unreachable. We had to turn off 3G in several cases to make phone calls. Turning the phone from 3G mode to 2G boosts the network straight to 5Bars, after which one faces no call drops nor is the phone unreachable. Download speeds on Edge are a constant 144kbps in all 5 areas of the city.
For comparison purposes we also took a device which was 3G powered with State owned MTNL 3G JADOO services. And here is how MTNL fared in all the areas
- South Delhi : Defence Colony: Download : 2599 kbps : 4 bars
- Central Delhi : CP central circle: Download : 1744 kbps: 3bars
- West Delhi : Punjabi Bagh: Download :2009 kbps : 4 bar
- North Delhi : Kashmere Gate : Download 1682kbps : 3bars
- East Delhi : Mayur vihar : Download 1999 kbps : 4 bars
So in comparison MTNL fared quite good and was able to deliver quite close to promised speeds, we also continued to get phone calls and did not face any call drops.
Lets do a Tariff comparison.
Vodafone has these offers
- Rs. 100 – 100MB
- Rs. 375 – 500MB
- Rs. 850 – 3GB
- Rs 1250 – 5GB
- Rs. 500 – 500MB + 500 Minutes talk time + 500 SMS
- Rs. 1000 – 1000 MB + 1000 Minutes talk time + 1000 SMS
MTNL has the following in Delhi
- Rs. 50 – 60MB
- Rs. 99 – 130MB
- Rs. 250 – 500MB
- Rs. 450 – 1 GB
- Rs. 650 – 2GB
- Rs. 850 – 5GB
- Rs. 1099 – 10Gb
- Rs. 1500 – 10GB day + 10GB night
- Rs. 1650 – 100GB
But there is another interesting aspect to MTNL, they currently have a 4500 Rs scheme where you get unlimited data for 6 months at 3G speeds. Which basically kills all hopes for Vodafone or any other private player. There is a claimed 200GB/month limit, but even if you cross it you are not charged.
We have been waiting for 3G in India for too long, almost long enough to not care. If you can, then for 3G stay away from private players, especially in Delhi. Prices are exorbitant and service is poor. Network failure after network failure, not to forget 1/3 of the promised speeds. Companies will need to tighten up their quality if they want their consumers to stick else MNP will be quite handy for those who really want decent 3G quick.
[xrr rating=2/5 label=”We Rate Vodafone 3G” imageset=shiny_yellow_star display_as=fraction_stars]