IDEA 3G: How To Activate, Which Plan To Choose, How Much Is The Speed?

We all heard lots about 3G bandwidth auctions and super high price bidding. Finally 3G has arrived in India when US is expecting the launch of 4G services very soon. Tata Docomo were the first to launch 3G services, then recently Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance, IDEA all geared up the 3G launch campaigns while entire nation was glued to TV sets to watch the Cricket World Cup and IPL 2011.

In which circles is the IDEA 3G Service available?

I was very disappointed and shocked when I heard in the news that IDEA is planning to launch 3G services only in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat. But then recently I got to know they have launched 3G services in Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Goa, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West circles.

Below are the cities from above circles where IDEA 3G coverage is available

  • Maharashtra & Goa: Pune, Nashik, Nagpur & newly added over 100 towns including; Goa, Kolhapur, Solapur, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Akola, Nanded, Shirdi, Shrirampur, Jamkhed, Pathardi and Loni
  • Uttar Pradesh West: Agra, Meerut, Dehradun, Muzzafarnagar, Saharanpur, Roorkee, Rudrapur, Haridwar, Kashipur
  • Haryana: Ambala, Bhiwani, Hansi, Hissar, Jhajjar, PANIPAT, Rewari, Rohtak
  • Himachal Pradesh: Shimla
  • Madhya Pradesh: Indore
  • Gujarat: Ahmedabad
  • Kerala: Almost all the major cities in Kerala along with Trivandrum and Nedumangad from June 11, 2011
  • Uttar Pradesh East: Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Jhansi, Sitapur, Azamgarh

Which Handsets are compatible to use with IDEA 3G?

3G is new to us and many of you may not know that the handset must be compatible to use 3G bandwidth. Older handsets (approx. More than 2 years old) are not compatible to use 3G services. There are 2 ways to find out if your handset is good to use IDEA 3G

  • Option 1: You can send a Toll Free SMS request to Idea. Type CHECK and send it to 12345
  • Option 2: Go to IDEA 3G Handset Compatibility website page and they have listed all the manufacturers with their list of handset model numbers.

Do I need GPRS connection to use 3G?

Yes, you need to first activate your account to use the Internet over GPRS (2G). Through this connection you’re going to authenticate Internet access and then use 3G in areas where it is available. Otherwise, you can use 2G GPRS Internet connection where 3G is not available.

I have activated a default plan for GPRS with zero rental.

How to Activate IDEA 3G Service?

To activate IDEA 3G services in Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Goa, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West circles you can send a Toll Free SMS.

  • Type ACT3G and send it to 12345

It takes about 24 hours to get 3G services activated for my IDEA mobile.

IDEA 3G Data Tariff Plans

Just like all other operators, IDEA’s 3G tariff plans too failed to impress me. Prepaid and Postpaid tariff plans for 3G services are very high right now throughout India due to obvious reason of high-priced 3G spectrum.

I could not understand why are they offering a small amount of data usage with high price when we all know 3G services are about speed and single YouTube video of 50 MB can be steamed in no time. This way a basic Rs 100/- rental plan for 3G services will get consumed by watching only two or three YouTube videos!

See the list of 3G tariff plans available on the IDEA website for all the circles.

Which Data Plan to choose for IDEA 3G?

After having a close look at all the tariff plans I have reached to a conclusion to choose Time Based plan for IDEA 3G. This plan is now available only to Prepaid users and Dongle users. I wonder why have they dropped this plan for Postpaid users?

In my opinion, considering the limited time plan only as I may use very less Internet on mobile 3G (because I have a broadband connection with WiFi at Office and at home), Per minute usage is always going to be cheaper. I will be paying just Rs 3/- per minute irrespective of data size. So if the data is more and the speed I am going to get is 3 Mbps, then my Internet usage is consuming more data in less time.

So, I would prefer a time based plan of Rs 145/- which is valid for 7 days. This also means, I will only pay approx Rs. 600/- per month to use 3G services of worth 480 minutes at minimum speed of 3.1 Mbps, that too when I am not present in the office nor at home.

IDEA 3G Speed Test

I have a Speedtest app on my unlocked iPhone, hence I did not waste any time to test IDEA 3G Speed once my account was activated. I was highly disappointed when I tried the first test in prime area like Deccan on 6th April 2011. See image below:

IDEA 3G: How To Activate, Which Plan to Choose, How much is the Speed?

Then I tried it again in another prime area of Pune, Laxmi Road, which gave me better results but not the best. See image below:

IDEA 3G: How To Activate, Which Plan to Choose, How much is the Speed?

Talk to IDEA Customer Care before activating 2G or 3G plans for your account and get your all doubts cleared. I am not the one whom you should contact

Update #1

Postpaid Idea 3G plans are way too expensive. The company should at least understand that Postpaid users are actually committed to Idea by paying regular monthly bills. They should have kept Time Based plan available for such loyal users.

Mobile Number Portability is much easier for prepaid users and that could be the reason for additional discount offers. Unjustified money extracting policies won’t work in the long run.

I think, we should give all these operators, including IDEA more time to settle down with technicalities of 3G services. And hope that the days to come are filled with really faster, better and cheaper 3G services which are not just limited to advertisement campaigns to impress us to get this idea.

Update #2: Idea 3G Speed Test on 29th April 2011

Here is the slow speed result for 3G in Deccan area, Pune 🙁

Idea 3G Speed Test as of 29th April 2011

Update #3: Idea Speed Comparison GPRS Vs 3G in Pune

IDEA 3G: How To Activate, Which Plan to Choose, How much is the Speed?

Update #4

If you’re using the IDEA HOUSEFULL plan for your postpaid connection, then you will always receive a limited 3G connectivity. This is not written anywhere on their website. To get full 3G speed – you must first deactivate default GPRS package on the same plan. Weird but true.

Update #5

Idea 3G services are now available in Jammu & Kashmir.

CEX.IO Bitcoin Exchange
  • Joseph Rai

    Regret that I did come across this post before. I absolutely had no idea on how to activate GPRS and all that.

  • ManasGupta

    using Idea Netsetter 3G in Noida.Im highly impressed with the service.My download speed maxed at a whopping 537 Kbps :).Id recommend it to everyone

  • MoosaMahsoom

    strange!!! i activated 3g on my htc wildfire S. i recharged with a Rs. 15 gprs pack. when i was in a 3g zone, it showed H which means HSDPA(3G) instead of E (EDGE). i did not have to give any extra charges. downloads and browsing was fast with my phone’s maximus speed being 7.2 Mbps.

  • Internet

    which the best 3g USB Modem for pc use …need to use GPRS (2g)

  • Internet

    which is the best USM Modem and GPRS (2g) speed in Mundhwa Pune.

    • TechZoomOrg

      @Internet Its not easy to tell you from here because I have never been to that part of the town. But I am sure BSNL has got good support throughout the city. Try a demo of few available ones in your area. Let me know the results 🙂

  • TechZoomOrg

    @PouyaParsa @suhail Guys, let me tell you that I tested Idea Speeds inside my office at Deccan, out on the JM road, on a terrace of a building on Laxmi Road and results were similar. The one thing I got to know that the reliability of Idea network is much better than Vodafone or Airtel whether in Pune or Nagpur (I did test Idea 3G there too). But overall 3G is not delivered as expected by any company compared to the prices they are asking us to pay.

  • TechZoomOrg

    @PouyaParsa @suhail Guys, let me tell you that I tested Idea Speeds inside my office at Deccan, out on the JM road, on a terrace of a building on Laxmi Road and results were similar. The one thing I got to know that the reliability of Idea network is much better than Vodafone or Airtel whether in Pune or Nagpur (I did test Idea 3G there too). But overall 3G is not delivered as expected by any company compared to the prices they are asking us to pay.

  • suhail

    @PouyaParsa ya, even i don’t wanna do that, but can you imagine, i tested my vodafone connection at 3 different areas in Pune, first was my office area prabhat road deccan, then at my location M.G. Road, then at vadgaon shree, its the same case everywhere with vodafone, so thats why i am getting upset with vodafone.

  • PouyaParsa

    Ur welcome bro! before Getting a new Connection check the 3G coverage Of ur new Operator by a mobile Device connected to 3G network!

    And I think Don’t do that with Poor Vodafone! I’ve experienced the fastest Download speed on Vodafone and Its really Different from other two operators 🙂

  • suhail

    @PouyaParsa Thanks buddy – Now i am thinking of taking a new Idea connection and dumping the vodafone 🙂

  • PouyaParsa

    @suhail Ok! So We know that Getting 3G signals is not related to be indoors or outdoors! So In ur Area Vodafone’s 3G Signal strength is such low that U cant receive data! So If u can receive a weak signal u cant put ur device in manual network selecting and UMTS! and As I experienced The Vodafone cells are not still enough to cover all of the city and U can feel weak signals when u’re between two Cells! so those are not close to each other! & about Idea! I don’t think I has coverage problem as Vodafone! also TATA DoCoMo! but I think Vodafone Will Solve this issue after find out the low coverage areas 🙂

  • suhail

    @PouyaParsa i am asking, because, the new vodafone connection that i ave purchased, when i am indoors, inside my office or house, i get only EDGE network, (unable to get 3G when indoors). i get 3G network only when i step out of the presmises, i.e. when i am outdoors, so wanted to know, is it the same case with idea as well or is it issue with my vodafone ?

  • PouyaParsa

    is there Any Difference between outdoors or inside when u know the signal strength?

    And I’ve got my answer! U must call 4444 from ur Idea simcard to activate 3G plans!!!

  • suhail

    Hi Tushar, just wanted to ask, the tests that you have done with your Idea 3g are the tests done inside some house or premises or are they done outdoors. please let me know.

  • PouyaParsa

    Thanks For your Really Useful consultations 😀 Yes I’m agreed with You ! the 3G plans are really expensive for the small amount of data! But I hope they’ll get that there is no way except decreasing the 3G data plans to make it prevalent ! and Maybe After 4G comes, the 3G prices will collapse:D

    • Tushar Tajane

      3G was always going to be costlier due to heavy license cost. but now it seems totally out of reach & I wonder how these companies are going to recover the cost! These guys should go back on table with pencil & paper to re-do the policies! BSNL rocks I guess. Should I MNP ? 🙂

  • Mahesh

    I’m currently in Pashan, Pune. Getting about 110 Kbps download speed on Idea 3G. Not satisfactory.

    • Tushar Tajane

      Indeed. Total unsatisfactory.
      Its all the same for Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance, Idea, Aircel, except BSNL.

  • Rahul Ghugre

    I used Idea 3G recently in Pune, Karvenagar area using Micromax MMX 310G. This is a 3G unlocked USB data card and gave speeds of around 1.8 mbps to 2.0 mbps, TATA Docomo fared far worse – 790 KBPS to 1.2 MBPS. Got the started pack at Rs 103, got 200 MB data usage to test how great an “Idea” would be. Fairly good for now, signal varies from place to place I stay on 6th floor with wide open areas around, so I guess the signal is far better

    • Yes! I checked Vodafone GPRS & 3G speeds. Its worst than IDEA. Yesterday I was in Nagpur where I checked IDEA GPRS & Vodafone GPRS. I finished checking my emails, Facebook account via IDEA GPRS and Vodafone GPRS could not even open Google. 🙂

      Another example to know that only good advertisements can’t sell your products.

  • benet

    Hi I have IDEA connection and iphone 3gs (jailbroken). Can you tell me how to connect the gprs on iphone. I did the setting told by idea customer care, please help me out.

    • Tushar Tajane

      go to Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data Network >
      type internet for APN (leave other fields bank.)

      Reboot your phone. &
      go to Settings > Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data ON / OFF

      Should see ‘E’ on top next to carrier name

      hope this helps

  • Ranvir

    Why the hell plan is so expensive
    And thers no Rajasthan in list .

    • Tushar Tajane

      Too expensive. U r right.

  • rohan

    yeah, speed is very low…i tested this speed in hadapsar, where i got 3.86 mbps in vodafone 3G and 4.32 mbps in BSNL 3G…i one thing what irritates about idea 3G is that there signal is highly fluctuating, sometimes its 1.1 mbps and another second its goes down till 230 kbps. IDEA needs an refreshing “IDEA” about there 3G services.

    • Tushar Tajane

      Well said Rohan. I agree. 🙂

  • rohan


    • Thanks for posting Rohan. Speed is less! What say?
      In which area did you test this?

  • suhail

    Hey Tushar, I am from Pune as well, (M.G.Road), I recently purchased the docomo for 3g, to be honest, even docomo is disappointing in terms of speed, what i observed is the coverage indoors is really poor, and i got the similiar reviews for vodafone 3g, after seeing the screenshot of the idea 3g speed you have posted above, i feel its still better than docomo. now i am thinking of switching to idea. and thanks for the article, its crisp, sharp and up to the point. good one.

    • Tushar Tajane

      Thanks for writing Suhail. You’re right. 3G speeds aren’t good with all these carriers. I have seen BSNL’s 3G speed and it rocks. Try and see if you can test it on MG Road. But if idea, vodafone cannot provide a full speed on Deccan & MG Road of Pune – they better stop investing in 3G 🙂