During the early days of the internet in India, people had to use dial-up connections which were excruciatingly slow. Then came companies like BSNL and Airtel which started providing broadband internet services thus catering to better internet speeds. Now gone are the times when people had to use a laptop or a desktop to access the internet. Thanks to 3G and 4G technology, the fastest and the most useful usage of internet is happening over phones. Statistics are also the witness to this revolution which marks the shift of internet users from desktops to mobiles, mainly because of 4G. Although 2G and 3G used to exist side by side the broadband lines, people preferred broadband because of its stability and faster internet speed. However, the coming of 4G has changed the entire narrative.
In India, telecom operators like Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have rallied into the market with their dirt cheap 4G data plans. Bharti Airtel has prepaid plans starting at Rs 249 and which go as high as Rs 509. Also, Vodafone has prepaid plans starting at Rs 199, offering 1.4GB data per day and the high ranging plans are available for Rs 799. Reliance Jio is also another operator who starts its plans at Rs 198 offering unlimited data and calling.
It is noteworthy that the feature of unlimited data and unlimited calling has further reduced the dependency of users on broadband for internet access. The availability of calling, fast internet and SMS under a single bill has pushed the users to ditch broadband connections and opt for 4G SIMs with these bundled data plans. Also, for users who want to have fast internet access on devices like laptop or desktop, WiFi devices like Reliance Jio’s JioFi and Vodafone MiFi come into use, which also indirectly utilise a 4G SIM much similar to a smartphone’s WiFi hotspot.
However, despite the efforts of winning the data tariff war in the telecom market, the telecom operators have been noticing a saturated market with all the telcos launching closely priced plans and same benefits. In such a scenario, the intentions of Reliance Jio to enter the broadband segment with Reliance Jio GigaFiber have stirred some leaves in the industry. Now, with Reliance Jio preparing to dive head first in the broadband market, already existing players in this segment like ACT, Airtel and Spectra are gearing up beforehand.
In this pre GigaFiber launch season, Spectra has revised its Gigabit plans to now offer 500GB FUP at 1Gbps speed at Rs 1,549. Other two plans by Spectra have also been revised which cost Rs 899 and Rs 1,249. The first plan offers 100GB FUP at 250Mbps connection, while the latter provides 250GB FUP at 500Mbps connection. Airtel in a similar move has removed the FUP on its broadband plan in Hyderabad. Notably, Airtel’s broadband plans start at Rs 349 per month and go as high as Rs 1,299 at which price, users can enjoy 100Mbps download speed. In Hyderabad only, ACT Fibernet has also silently increased its speed of broadband connections. The plans with 150Mbps speeds have been bumped up to provide 200 Mbps speed.
What this tells us that despite the dependency of people on 4G these days for data and calling, the coming of fibre optic technology in India is expected to bring some change in the scenario. Companies like ACT, Spectra and Reliance Jio GigaFiber might be some big players in this segment in the coming months.
In the comments below, share your thoughts on whether you’d depend on a 4G SIM card or a wired broadband connection for reliable and high-speed internet access across your devices.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.