Vodafone WAP Connections in 3G Era?

vodafone-logo-red  Indian mobile subscribers are welcoming 3G data connections in the country but unfortunately one of India’s leading mobile operator, Vodafone, is still stuck in the WAP era. While most other mobile operators are now offering cheap full-fledged data plans, Vodafone is only offering its crippled ‘Vodafone Live’ in comparable price range & offers its more advanced ‘Vodafone Mobile Connect’ at very expensive prices.

Price War for Data Plans

Recently the price war between mobile operators in India extended from voice to data plans with players such as Bharti Airtel & Tata DoCoMo launching new GPRS plans offering sufficient data in less than Rs.100 per month. For example, Airtel now offers 2GB plans for Rs.98/month while Tata DoCoMo offers 2GB plan for as low as Rs.48/month & 6GB plan for Rs.98/month. Other operators such as Aircel, Reliance & Idea also offer similar data plans to its subscribers.

Vodafone’s GPRS offerings

Now compare this with the new GPRS plans offered by Vodafone. Due to competitors offering sub-Rs.100/month data plans, Vodafone also started offering GPRS plans for less than Rs.100 per month but what most subscribers don’t realise is these plans only offer access to Vodafone Live & not Vodafone Mobile Connect.

On Vodafone Live you get basic internet access for browsing the internet only through a mobile browser. You cannot use your email client to send & receive emails. You cannot use most third party apps such as Fring or Nimbuzz. You also cannot use your phone as a modem to surf the internet on your laptop. If you need any of this, and chances are very high that you will, Vodafone gives you a standard reply: “You need to subscribe to Vodafone Mobile Connect”

Now packages for Vodafone Mobile Connect don’t come cheap. Postpaid packages start from Rs.199/month with no data included & go upto Rs.499/month for 500MB data & Rs.699/month for 1GB data.

The situation gets terribly worse if you are on Vodafone Prepaid as the only plan offered is Rs.199/month with no data included & download charges are priced at 5p/10kb. Assuming you download 2GB of data on a prepaid connection, your data bill alone will be a whopping Rs.10,685 (1024×2048/100/2 + 199). Now compare this to Rs.98 if you had a Airtel connection or Rs.48 if you had a Tata DoCoMo connection!

Final Words

Vodafone’s largest competitor, Bharti Airtel too offered separate Airtel Live & Airtel Mobile Office packages a while ago, with separate plans for prepaid & postpaid. However Airtel rectified this & now only offers a single Airtel Mobile Office plan for Rs.98/month for 2GB data for both its prepaid & postpaid customers. Airtel Live is now only a portal for downloading ringtones, wallpapers & other content.

Hopefully, Vodafone will soon discontinue offering crippled Vodafone Live plans in the sub-Rs.100/month range & offer Vodafone Mobile Connect instead.

Disclaimer: Most of the GPRS subscription rates mentioned herein may differ from circle to circle & depend upon your individual plan. We have used indicative rates for the purpose of this article.