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.
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!
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.