Bumps on the highway

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | Print Edition: December 2011

Rishabh Gupta, while on his way back to India from the US, was excited about the 3G services in India. After all, he had experienced the fast speed data network in New York City. To his horror, he found that 3G services in India were still not stable enough to be reliable. "I am on Airtel 3G services and they are pathetic," he says. "Most of the time, the 3G data speeds are very slow and the network seems to disappear ever so often, making accessing anything on my tablet a pain. I wonder why I am paying so much to the operator for such a bad show."

@jainrounak Airtel has been disappointing in Hyderabad. Get around 300-500

@deepakchan Far less satisfying than even our neighboring country Sri Lanka.

@ankit_me Delhi/NCR circle #Vodafone, better than #Airtel. Bangalore - BSNL is the best. Mumbai - mixed reaction.

@sanjaybafna Using MTNL 3G in Mumbai as well as National Roaming on BSNL since May 2009, no problem at all, Speed 2 Mbps to 2.5 Mbps.

@KetakiManikeri I use Vodafone 3G in Mumbai. As of now I am very satisfied. Internet is much faster and albeit what everyone says it isn't that expensive!

@rajupp Extremely happy with my BSNL 3G (in Bangalore) on iPad. Works great within city and switches to edge in remotest of areas.

@gaurav2811 3G on MTNL in Delhi is cheap but the problem with them is the signal strength which hinders the performance of 3G and sucks the battery.

@nilayshah80 My experience with MTNL and BSNL 3G very good till date. More than 1 year and just two call to customer care. I m from Pune and used 3G in Mumbai and Ahmedabad too.

@Gautam Mahtani I am using Vodafone 3G in Bangalore but they are using Airtel network to source the same. Generally there are no issues but at times it just does not connect and fails to switch back to GPRS/EDGE automatically. Also have noticed at times it does not go back to 3G and remains on GPRS/EDGE and then have to manually go n select it though it is 'on'

@Gaurang Bhartia: BSNL/MTNL : 3G works at average speed of .5-1 mbps (Depending on time of the day and signal levels) in Delhi. About 1.5-2 Mbps in Vijayawada.
Given the fact that on 3G networks, data and voice are on different channels, why are such issues still cropping up here in India? As Pankaj Mohindroo, National President, ICA, points out, "3G services in India are disappointing. You might get satisfactorily good coverage in the home city but not on roaming. It is high time that the operators need to sort it with DoT and TRAI."

But it is not simply a question of policy or implementation. Explains Romal Shetty, National Head, Telecommunications, of professional services firm KPMG: "3G services have not yet been set up properly. It is the high-traffic, high-population areas that the operators target. This is because operators are upgrading the network and this takes time. Usually they test and upgrade the networks between 3 to 5 am, which is a very small window. It's exactly like changing the wheels of a moving car."

Because of these niggles, Indian are only getting a mediocre 3G experience . Network coverage is spotty, even within cities. Access switches between 3G and EDGE. At times, there is service collapse and there are a certain areas where one doesn't get 3G network at all. "Operators are still in the process of rolling out 3G-enabled networks," defends Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India.

He says that the huge cost of deploying 3G networks, especially after the expensive spectrum auctions, is deterring operators from rolling out 3G networks to the entire existing customer base. However, he adds, "best efforts are being made despite limited conditions to provide high-speed data applications on 3G to subscribers to the maximum expanse and extent possible through intra-circle roaming arrangements among operators". Whatever optimism there may be among the industry people, Romal Shetty himself feels that it will probably take another couple of years, till 2014, for Indian to truly experience the magic of 3G.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

  • Print
A    A   A