As already shared on TT, AIRTEL has launched its 3G services in Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad city) yesterday.
With the Hyderabad launch covered on TT (AIRTEL 3G Service Now in Hyderabad – Andhra Pradesh) we put the services to the test.
Airtel’s 3G FREE Trial offer:
Nil – unlike Tata Docomo’s offer of 150 MB free (November 2009) OR Aircel’s offer of 250 MB Free data usage + 50 Minutes Free Video calling (March 2011).
Airtel is not offering any freebies to its customers. It’s “PAY AS YOU GO” all the way!
Activation was really simple, with one having to send <3G> to 121. Within a few seconds the following response was received:
05-04-2011 23:49 – Thank you for your request for 3G activation. To enjoy fast internet access, the handset needs to be 3G compatible. You will be charged @ 30p/20KB. In case you are already subscribed to 2G data pack, then the same will be deactivated. Please reply with 1 to confirm.
Having noted the friendly ‘warning’ that you will LOSE ALL EXISTING 2G DATA , the confirmation <1> was sent to 121.
05-04-2011 23:49 –
Thank you for your request. 3G services will be activated within 4 Hrs. You will receive a confirmation sms on activation of the services. Post activation, to choose your data plan, please send 3G to 121 again. Once 3G services are activated, please select Dual network mode/Auto mode/2G & 3G mode in your phone network settings to latch on to 3G network
05-04-2011 23:50 –
3G services have been activated on your mobile. If you wish to change 3G bill plan, SMS 3G to 121.
Re-sending <3G> to 121 provides the following response:
05-04-2011 23:55 –
3G services is already active on your number. To choose/change your Plan, reply with 1. 1-Data Plans 2-Deactivate 3G
Responding with <1> provides all available 3G options:
05-04-2011 23:56 –
1- Rs. 9 Free 10MB
2- Rs. 60 Free 65MB
3- Rs. 45 30 Mins
4- Rs. 99 Free 100MB
5- Rs. 198 Free 250MB
6- Rs. 450 Free 600 MB
7- Rs. 750 Free 2GB
8- Rs. 675 Free1.25GB
9- Rs. 25 Plan
If you wish to activate this plan, please reply with the number of your plan above to confirm.
Responding with <3> to avail the Rs 45 – 30 MINS plan:
05-04-2011 23:57 –
Rs. 45 Free 30 Mins : After free data, charges are 30p/20KB. Validity 1 day, Video Call 5p/sec on Local, STD and Roaming Please reply with 1 to confirm
05-04-2011 23:57 – Your Rs.45 Free 30 Mins Plan is successfully activated.
With the Rs 45 plan activated, there was NO DATA TRANSFER either to/from the mobile. Seems to be an error on the part of AIRTEL as even after Rs 45 was charged, no 3G service was provided!
Switching into a non-Rs45 plan (ie Default “Pay As You Go” plan speeds were observed as shared below. While browsing speeds can vary by the second, the actual data speeds ranged from 274 to 1083 Kbps, quite impressive for peak hour traffic (Testing done between 11:45 pm – midnight on 05 April).
Data transfer size Speed Recorded
100 KB 273.973 Kbps
500 KB 757.576 Kbps
1000 KB 1082.544 Kbps
Screenshots of the same are shared below:
While checking browsing speeds, one needs to keep in mind the following:
*Capacity of Handset used – Nokia C6-01 (supports speeds upto 10.2MBPS)
*Signal Strength of BTS (Tower) logged into
*Simultaneous Users (both Voice& Data) in the BTS (Tower) logged into
*Website being accessed – mobilespeedtest.net
CONCLUSION: With a browsing speed of upto 1082 Kbps and few 3G users on Day One of launch, there would in all possibility be further deterioration in speeds as the number of simultaneous users increases. Also non-availability of service with Rs 45 deducted is a critical instance of charges levied without service provided – something that the AIRTEL technical team needs to immediately look into.
Overall rating: 3/5.
The person behind Mobile Operator code, former telecom specialist.