Does MTS 3GPLUS Really Have The Edge Over 3G Operators in India, Our Take !

Last week Russian business major Sistema’s Indian telecom arm, Sistema Shyam Teleservices ( SSTL) has announced the roll out of 3GPLUS network across 9 circles where the company is operating.

While MTS is selling the EVDO Rev B phase II services under MBlaze Ultra branding, they are pushing the ‘3GPLUS‘ branding for the network. EVDO is actually 3rd generation technology for CDMA, but in India there was no auction for CDMA 3G airwaves.


3G was introduced in the country by CDMA players like Reliance Communications (Netconnect Broadband plus) and Tata Teleservices (Photon plus) over 800MHz band a long before GSM operators got 3G spectrum. But due to rules and regulations CDMA players could not market EVDO services as 3G.

Now as soon as data-focused-voice-enabled MTS got unified license, it started taking on GSM players with its 3GPLUS campaigning. MTS was offering Rev A (upto 3.1Mbit/s downlink) as MBlaze services on dongles, WiFi router and smartphones. MTS 3GPLUS network is powered by EVDO Rev B phase II technology, which is capable of delivering maximum 4.9Mbit/sec on one carrier of 1.25MHz spectrum. MTS has three channel carriers in all circles and keeping one carrier for voice, remaining two are used for data; that tells you the fact MBlaze Ultra supports upto 9.8Mbit/s downlink.

Well my point is 3GPLUS is a marketing gimmick used by MTS India. As they are saying it is more capable than 3G/HSPA+ services by GSM operators, but that’s not actually true. Private 3G players deploy 7.2Mbps BTS at most places and there are several 21.1Mbps BTS to offer best bandwidth to their customers. HSPA+ is itself a 3.9G technology, and DC-HSPA with maximum 42Mbps is considered as 4G also.

Don’t think that I am against MTS Rev B services, rather I am pointing out the truth and marketing terms. MTS Rev B services have better capacity, more speed than Rev A, best indoor coverage thanks to 800MHz band and superior outdoor coverage with less number of base stations. MTS also did its best – to upgrade its entire Rev A network into Rev B network in all 9 circles.

Even on tariff part MTS is offering almost same tariff of Rev A, that means if you buy an Ultra device you will more speed at almost same price.

But again compared to Reliance, Aircel, BSNL and Tata Docomo’s regular data plans and other’s sudden-offer data plans, Rev A and Rev B data plans from MTS are costly. In an interview to Telecomtalk MTS says they want serious data users that’s why there is no new sim offer as offered by Reliance and Aircel (2GB limited or unlimited per month for 3 months for Rs 300-400).

But in India most high speed mobile data users are young people who never show loyality to any operator unless the operator offers cheap data plans continuously.

MTS on its official communication has also cited that there will be Rev B supported smartphones from them by the end of this year. But already there are Rev B supported smartphones in the country, all of them are imported, unlocked and with RUIM slot or without RUIM slot.

Here goes the old question: Why is MTS so reluctant to allow MEID registration on foreign handsets? It will help them to get more CDMA customers from other CDMA operators. Also when MTS will launch such devices in December, which is considered by the launch time of Reliance Jio’s 4G data and voice services by most analysts. And if such MTag smartphones from MTS come with older Android versions and outdated low powered hardware from not-so-known OEMs it will help them to tap overwhelming growing data market on small screen ?

MTS is offering Ultra dongles for Rs 750 for postpaid MBlaze Rev A customers, while prepaid users have to buy a dongle at full price – Rs 1299 for the dongle (ZTE AC2792 or Huawei EC306) and Rs 100 for FRC ( Incl. 10GB data and 5GB Youtube usage for 30 days). While smartphones are preferred way to consume cellular internet, I doubt people would go for it. That 10GB can be offered in 2/4/5 months. Also if they consider postpaid customers assets they should not put second FUP of 64kbps, rather put the FUP at 256kbps over Rev B.

MTS has launched Rev B supported WiFi router too, which is great as they could bridge the gap between your existing smartphone and MTS India’s superb 3GPLUS network. Also plans can be offered at regular price.

MTS 3GPLUS is a big jump by MTS but the post-launch campaigning is yet to catch the eyes of people. MTS these days, is having one of best social media presence as well. But MTS should look into making social media as a platform for customer feedback and complaint resolution. In a whole 3GPLUS from MTS India is a promising product for net-savvy people, but it’s the operator who have to take it to the masses at affordable price with proper device ecosystem.

This Article Was Written By: Rudradeep Biswas

Rudradeep Biswas - Senior Telecom Analyst

The happy guy RDB (stands for Rudradeep Biswas) has been writing for Telecomtalk since 2009, covering mobile operators, 3G, broadband, WiFi, 4G, LTE, telecom policies and what-not related to Indian telecom. He is by profession a doctor, did his MBBS from R.G.Kar Medical College, Kolkata.

{ 26 comments… add one }

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  • Emmanuel Leorn December 14, 2013 10:37 pm, 10:37 PM

    Guys ,

    let me know…. Is mts mblaze ultra wifi better than aircel and atleast 50-60% capable of giving good speeds of atleast 1-1.5 mbps in peak hours…..

    • tejjan December 31, 2013 6:52 pm, 6:52 PM

      im using mblaze ultra by mts offering speed upto 9.8mbps but what a user would actually receive is 1/10th of it….forget 1.5mbps what ull get is 0.9 mbps for the same 3gplus crap.

  • Basabjit Chowdhury November 3, 2013 8:04 pm, 8:04 PM

    It’s a shame that MTS thought of this gimmick 3g plus to increase customer base. I bought it two days back. I am getting a speed of mere 80 KBPS, which is 640 kbps. I have already shot mails to technical team. Their system is still not capable of 3g plus speed except in Metro cities. What a shame. Wish could talk to the CEO of MTS. Shame.

  • Esmail October 31, 2013 12:40 am, 12:40 AM

    MTS should drop voice services and become a pureplay Data operator using all 3 carriers of 1.25MHz for EVDO Rev.B phase 2 offering upto 14.7Mbps on their 3GPlus network and offer it at half the current rate of 3G, only then can it capture the Data market and become the undisputed leader.

  • Rama October 30, 2013 5:11 pm, 5:11 PM

    Technology is not crappy dont know about the operator

  • Kingston October 30, 2013 2:37 pm, 2:37 PM

    Its 1GB @Rs.67 with 7 days validity. So 4GB comes at Rs.268 with 28 days validity.. Check Aircel Pocket internet tariff page or call customer care.

    • himangshu October 30, 2013 3:53 pm, 3:53 PM

      please note that 1GB fup will apply after 200 mb. it means u can download only up to 200mb at 3g speed and there after 2g…
      myself struggling that only offer but when I recharge and see, the hidden thing comes out…. Aircel is cheating by telling that @67 give 1gb but accually it is providing 200mb 3g data :(

      • raj October 31, 2013 3:09 pm, 3:09 PM

        kingston: pls confirm on this.Is it so? Looks like aircel following AVOID in chennai circle.Never expected.

        Himanshu: U belong to which circle??

  • raj October 30, 2013 12:57 pm, 12:57 PM

    4gb@268!! what is this offer? I’m unable to find this on aircel website (chennai circle) Is it for new connection or a customized offer ? Pls share the link.

    • Tharun George October 30, 2013 2:48 pm, 2:48 PM

      Its Rs 67 1GB for 7 days offer. So in effect 67 x 4= Rs 268 for 4GB.

  • Rahul October 30, 2013 12:11 pm, 12:11 PM

    Oh, no! Why do these people insist on this garbage? Once upon a time CDMA vs GSM was a debate. With the arrival of HSPA and LTE, the debate is over. GSM won. Accept it and use that spectrum to improve current 3G & 4G services.

  • sdf October 30, 2013 12:09 pm, 12:09 PM

    More waste of spectrum by cr@ppy operate with cr@ppy technology.

  • Sushil October 30, 2013 11:54 am, 11:54 AM

    i just booked MBlaze Ultra Wifi 2299/- in postpaid after using many data cards… 3 Prepaid Mts Rev A….2 Reliance netconncet+ Rev A (1 prepaid and 1 postpaid)…Bsnl 3g prepaid with annual recharge… BSNL EVDO….tata docomo 3g….Idea 3g….

    with new Rev B wifi data card i will get 12gb for 799+tax (Rs 75/GB)… actually 200 discount per month (Rs 999-200) for wifi datacard for 12gb…so my wifi data card will be free of cost after 11 months of use… Belive me it is better to buy 1 postpaid data card rather then keepin on changing prepaid data cards every month….

    BSNL 3g not got speed (512kbps) part is all India coverage like no one else…
    Reliance EVDO speed 1-1.5mbps only and plans expensive compare to MTS…Coverage only in cities…not like BSNL 3g…
    Tata docomo 3g no good coverage…disconnection problem….
    Idea 3g speed and coverage good but expensive…
    MTS Rev A speed 1-1.5mbps… coverage good in respective circles.. not pan India…

    1 very interesting thing about MTS is they will always try to give data cards for free (virtually) both in prepaid and postpaid…. this is not with every operator…

    I now only select plans and operators who can provide data plans with average cost of Rs 75-80/Gb with prerequisite condition of coverage and connectivity…

  • Kingston October 30, 2013 11:50 am, 11:50 AM

    Reliance Diwali data Revolution offer….. Recharge with RC195 and get 5GB of 2G data for 30 days. Reliance advertising this offer in chennai with huge number of banner but i think their plan wont work. Because of Aircel 4GB 3G DATA at Rs.268 with 30 days validity, no one will consider this offer.

  • Kingston October 30, 2013 11:42 am, 11:42 AM

    Tata docomo photon launched 6.2 Mbps speed EVDO dongle in chennai. They are advertising a lot for this 6.2mbps speed plan. I think docomo take one slot from voice and now use it for EVDO. Today here after tata docomo CDMA will use one slot for voice and two slot for Data.

  • Kingston October 30, 2013 11:37 am, 11:37 AM

    Today i got a offer message in my MTS mobile like ‘Get Rs.50 talk time on RC198 and enjoy 1000 local mobile calls for 30 days’. So the effective cost of 1000 local mobile calls just Rs.150. Thanks to MTS.

  • SS October 30, 2013 11:23 am, 11:23 AM

    Exactly right Tharun George, 3G is now more cheaper, convenient and offers good coverage than EVDO. I personally like EVDO but i don’t like those complexities of configuring your modem and paying lot more than 3G. Iam happy with Idea and airtel 3g now.

    If they launch plans such as UL @ 1500, or even 100GB. I may think of opting. But sad part of the story, no MTS here in UP EAST. :-(

    • Tharun George October 30, 2013 12:13 pm, 12:13 PM

      BSNL have true unlimited for just Rs 750 a month. But you must be really lucky to have BSNL EVDO coverage.

      One of my lucky friend has BSNL EVDO. He use Rs 55 one day unlimited plan which is actually 2 days. Gets gets speed around 150-200KB/s download speed.

  • Amit October 30, 2013 9:15 am, 9:15 AM

    But MTS has good tarrifs compared to other operators & also their Coverage is far better than 3G players.
    Im using 899 postpaid plan in MTS where I get 12GB unlimited data with 144Kbps Post FUP.
    After I cross 12GB I use booster packs which gives 3GB @just 125Rs which means at 1100rs I get 15GB high speed data which is not possible in 3G. Speed has Improved a lot in MTS. I get an avg speed of 2.5mbps in bangalore

  • Tharun George October 30, 2013 7:46 am, 7:46 AM

    MTS has not understand the following.
    1. There are very very less data card users. Everyone wants to use internet on smartphone.
    2. EVDO failed as soon as 3G was launched. Only way to sell it is to sell it cheap.
    3. 3G is now cheaper than EVDO.
    4. 3G has wide coverage across India.
    5. 3G is faster than EVDO with most towers supporting 7.2Mbps and select locations with 21.1Mbp.
    6. 99% of smartphone are 3G enabled.

    • Tharun George October 30, 2013 12:08 pm, 12:08 PM

      But BSNL have better understanding. They have few plans which are the best. Rs 55 one day unlimited and Rs 750 one month unlimited. Speed are also good since not many use BSNL EVDO. But Coverage is very very bad. Only available in selected towns with just 1 or 2 towers.

      BSNL is more interested in selling GSM than CDMA products. So no EVDO expansion after 2007.

      • Arun Chandran October 30, 2013 9:57 pm, 9:57 PM

        How to unlock Reliance netconnect.

        • Tharun George October 31, 2013 10:57 am, 10:57 AM

          I don’t have any idea. Search google.

  • Marthandam October 30, 2013 7:25 am, 7:25 AM

    I find EvDO and CDMA 1x to be more stable than 2g . What is the point in having a shaky 2g because it is cheaper? Way to go MTS. In the world of data, MTS would be leader in no time.

  • KAPIL K. DEV October 30, 2013 5:51 am, 5:51 AM

    Very good review and suggestions.

    • syed November 1, 2013 10:21 pm, 10:21 PM

      Hi guys,

      I was going through reviews from each one very helpful to share, my query is I have been using reliance dongle and data card for lap top and tab, looking at mts 3g plus wifi is it really worth shifting to it where in some one is already using please share your experience.
      And also I like to know what is rev A and revB.



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