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.

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