We are at the Airtel 3G launch event happening at ITC Gardenia in Bangalore where they have just announced the launch of Airtel 3G service across Karnataka. It might sound ridiculous to our international readers, but the fact of the matter is, here in India, we are jumping around to see 3G on our mobile devices when our counterparts in the west are almost ready with 4G LTE. but then, having a pie late is better than never having it, isn’t it?


Airtel 3G Price Tariffs

We do not have the exact plans yet. From what we know so far, the 3G data plans are extremely disappointing. The onus seems to be on the customer experience and not on the pricing. During the press meet, Airtel CEO, Mr.Sanjay Kapoor, kept iterating this and made sure that they are not going for any price-wars at this time. So do not expect any cheap plans for now.

The screenshot gives an idea.


Update: We just received the complete Data plan list. Click for bigger picture.


Internet data Usage tool

Airtel has introduced an useful app – Internet Usage tool which helps users predict their approximate 3G data usage for carrying out the activities of their choice. This will be particularly useful for non-techies.


Airtel FlexiShield Plan

This is specifically designed for Heavy users and enterprise users. At Rs. 650 per month, users can use 1.5GB of data for free and then a flexible usage price kicks in where in they will be charge 10 paise per MB till the ‘Customer Expense Shield’ price is met.

Customer Shield Price is the price set by the user to be the maximum cost he can afford to pay for 3G per month. In the example below, it is set for Rs.2000. So, user will be charged at 10paise per MB till 14GB which equates to Rs.2000. After the bill cap, bandwidth will be throttled to 128kbps and it will be free of cost.


Update: Having seen the official price list, it seems users will not be able to choose the Max bill pay cap and it is set to Rs. 2000 by default. That is really bad. We can hope that Airtel changes this soon. Even the speed after the bill cap is reached is set at 20kbps according to their mail, which again seems ridiculous.

We know about the “sachet packs” details for now. The official Airtel 3G data plans are expected by 4pm today, so keep a watch on this post.

Airtel 3G Data Packs

The sachet packs are of 2 types – Bandwidth based and Minutes based. Minute based plans are something unique in India, and are aimed to provide “cyber cafe” experience to your mobile phone! We do not have the exact rates for minute based plans but check out the prices of Bandwidth based sachet packs –

  • Rs. 9 for 10 MB, validity 1 day
  • Rs. 60 for 65 MB, validity 3 days
  • Rs. 103 for 100 MB, validity 30 days
  • Rs. 200 for 250 MB, validity 30 days
  • Rs. 450 for 600 MB, validity 30 days
  • Rs. 750 for 2 GB, validity 30 days

There are no unlimited plans as such, which is a bummer for sure. The Airtel CEO kept it clear that their point of focus is not in the pricing but with the user experience.


Airtel 3G Data Cards

Along with the 3G SIM cards, Airtel also announced the launch of Airtel 3G Data cards which come in 2 variants – 3.6Mbps and 7.2Mbps. The prices of data cards are yet to be announced and we will update them here as soon as we get hold of it.

There are multiple vendors of the 3G modems (data cards), the first one being Huawei, who are catering BSNL as well as Tata Docomo 3G services.

Airtel 3G Launch Schedule

Starting today evening, Airtel 3G will be available in Bangalore and across Karnataka from tomorrow. As for other places in India, they are expected to be rolled out in phases over the next few days or weeks. The whole exercise is expected to be completed before March 2011.


Airtel has got 3G licenses in 13 circles across India, but they are hoping to make themselves available across India through collaborations with other service providers.

Airtel 3G Hands-on Review

We had a chance to get a hands-on experience of the new Airtel 3G and 3.5G networks. At-least at the press conference, the network was swift and uncluttered. Video calls were great and so were the Live TV experience. Live Streaming experience though, wasn’t up to the mark, as the images were consistently getting stuck.

We did a quick speedtest.net check on the 3.6Mbps data card, below are the results


Developing story


Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp


  • Lohith

    Hey Raj,

    let me call you raj – for some reason feel that Raj sounds better.

    Nice coverage of the event. You are right in saying that its a bummer that they dont have a unlimited plan. But if the user experience is good i.e. i get a constant wave of 2Mbps and above i would definitely buy more data storage. but the speed must not suck at any point of time.

    Again nice one buddy

    • http://techpp.com Raju PP

      The hands-on we had was pretty good, but then the key is to maintain the experience throughout the city. For now Rs.750 for 2GB seems to be the best plan, but let’s wait for the complete details. Thanks for the good words!

  • http://www.msigeek.com Vijay

    Great Coverage Raju. Loved the detailed notes and the pictures. As people say, pictures definitely convey more than words!

  • sumanth

    heard there is special plans for nokia and samsung phones. Are they true. Any info on them

  • http://blogs.nagwani.in DeeJay

    Tried from my Galaxy S and got a message stating that the offer is now closed :(

  • Indhu

    >>We just received the complete Data plan list.

    Where did you get this from? Why has Airtel not published it in their website? How authentic is this data?

    • http://techpp.com Raju PP

      got it from the Airtel PR, the same guys who invited us for the launch event in the morning.

  • Vinay Kumar

    Hey Raj, I don’t see these details on airtel.in nor airtel have sent SMS to that effect. When can folks in Karnataka start using 3G ? Am i missing anything ?

    • http://techpp.com Raju PP

      I can’t answer why airtel doesn’t have the details on their website yet. But 3G is live in Bangalore for sure. Lot of users are already using it.

  • Sridhar Katakam

    Currently the best 3G offer is from BSNL.

    Rs. 4200 for 6 months unlimited w/ no FUP.

  • Deepak

    Airtel is charging high on 3G data card roaming usage
    What’s the point in buying a datacard then.

    Roaming on 3G only on airtel 3G network
    » Free data usage available in 3G data pack not applicable while roaming. Browsing charges of 30p/20kb will apply

  • Dheeru

    Airtel 3G connection is a scam……Dont waste your money on this…… I just took it for 1 month… 750 per month scheme……….
    And I didnt get even 2G quality of internet………

    I was charged 40K for 3 days……..They even gave me discounts and asking to pay 19K

    Yes, I am not joking…..its a serious news………..

    I am cautioning you all, better go for broadband stick or any other network for mobile 3G…..But not Airtel……..

    When I complained they said I have used it and I have to pay it …….. these idiots are making my life miserable and frustated……….torturing endlessly…….

    If you want to be happy….never go for Airtel 3G…….