The leading Indian telecom operators have been increasing the cost of 2G data packs since a while now. The hikes made in a period of June to September have made the data packs almost twice as expensive as they were before June, 2014.
These hikes were made to compensate for the loss of revenue that the operators have been bearing due to growing popularity of instant messenger apps like Skype, WhatsApp, Line, etc. These apps offer free voice calling over the internet and also allow the users to exchange text-messages and multimedia content for free.
TRAI also rejected telecom operators plea to charge these free IM apps for the loss that they have been causing to the telcos in India. Upon rejection of their plea the telcos were left with no choice but to introduce regular hikes in data tariffs.
Driving the growth of 3G plans in the country became another reason for these hikes in 2G internet packs.
These leading Indian telecom operators (Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea) cater to about 57% of mobile phone users in India. So, a hike of such a magnitude is definitely going to have a significant effect on their market revenue share.
“Around 2 months ago, we changed the base tariff of 2G for 1GB pack from Rs 155 to Rs 175. This has been carried out in a phased manner across circles,” said a Vodafone official.
Airtel and Idea have to also increased the rate of 1GB 2G mobile data pack to around Rs. 175 across all circles. They were previously offering the same data pack at about Rs. 155 across all circles.
Telecom operators in India usually don’t make public announcements regarding hikes in tariff plans. I see no good reason for a telco to announce hike in their plans. They either update the plan directly on their website or inform the users of the tariff plans via SMS.
Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are now offering 2G data at 4p/10KB which is 2x more than what it was a few months back.
Airtel started introducing these hikes around the first week of September but is now offering pay per use 2G data at rates similar to Vodafone and Idea. Airtel has recently introduced a hike in 2G data making it expensive by 33%, and taking the price to 4p/10KB.
Should You Move To 3G?
These 2G data packs seem very expensive to a regular WhatsApp, Facebook user so you might think that why not pay a little extra and move to a faster 3G data plan. You are right to think this, but the 3G has yet become affordable in India. A regular 1GB 3G data pack from the leading telecom operators costs around Rs. 249 having a validity of 28-30 days.
This also is way to expensive for someone who uses mobile internet packs only for instant messengers and checking emails.
Fortunately, if monthly data usage on mobile is not more than 300 MB, then you should recharge your number with 300 MB 3G data plan. This 300 MB data plan is available from all of these leading telecom operator for around Rs. 100/month valid for 28-30 days.
If your monthly mobile data consumption is much more 300MB, then you should look at other options. Vodafone offers a 500 MB 3G internet plan with a validity of 28 days across many circles. Idea users with low-moderate usage shall take a look at Idea 3G Rate Cutter Packs.