Abhinav Bharghav caught the nail-biting quarter finals between India and Australia on his 3G-powered mobile TV. The following day, he realised the luxury cost him Rs 1,000.
“3G is an expensive affair. But, I have decided to use it only for special occasions like ground-breaking matches. For e-mails and surfing, I will continue to use my 2G GPRS plan,” he says.
Bharghav’s sentiments were echoed by several mobile subscribers Business Standard talked to, including Snehal Vaidya. “I am almost addicted to surfing, be it social networking sites, blogs or to get information on the net. But I have restricted myself to my unlimited 2G data plan. I can’t use 3G because I might run up a huge bill with the amount of surfing I do. I plan to use 3G only for downloading videos fast.”
On an average, 3G is several times more expensive than 2G because most private operators offer it as a ‘premium service’.
Consumers are of the view that basic services like e-mail and even accessing social networking sites do not require 3G data speeds, and most prefer having multiple data plans to suit their needs.
BlackBerry subscribers also prefer their existing internet plans that give unlimited mail access. “I get unlimited e-mails free with this and I am fairly satisfied with the 2G speeds for e-mail and downloads as well. I have 3G but I prefer to use it only when I need to,” says Nandini Patwardhan, an avid e-mail user.
Baburajan K, the chief editor of telecomlead.com says the high cost of 3G services are prompting consumers to take a cautious approach. “People are currently experimenting on 3G services and this can go on for the next six months.” According to him, consumers might try and strike a balance between their 2G and 3G requirements depending on their requirements to avoid bill shocks.
“We have a section of the population which is not concerned about the bills. And those who are, go for selective options like weekly packages or smaller vouchers that would allow only one module like mobile TV,” says Baburajan.
Connectivity issues, too, are driving some 3G enthusiasts back to 2G data plans. For example, Vikram Tripathi had a set back with his office e-mail services after he activated 3G on his Blackberry. “I could send e-mails but I could not receive any. I tried getting help from a colleague from my tech department but we struggled for two days before I decided to revert back to 2G,” he says.
“It was obviously not a problem either with the server or the device, it is the 3G service. I discovered yet another friend had experienced similar problems with his enterprise mail when he activated 3G service,” Tripathi adds.