BSNL the State Owned Telecom operator has been providing the 3G services for a long time. I jumped into 3G bandwagon last month. Overall I am satisfied with the service barring some headache with setting the phone to 3G. Setting up 3G required some digging work in settings page. I did some googling on GPRS Settings for my mobile to set it up and make it working. I use my Nokia 3600 Classic and I had to do lot of digging work to set up the connection. Settings weren’t sent to my phone, hence I manually did the work.
The following type of changes were made to phones.
Connection Type: Packet Data
APN: bsnlnet
Authentication: Normal
User ID & Password: keep this blank.
Server Addresses: Dynamically configured
The phone i used to test 3g was Samsung Monte. The settings had to manually configured as the settings preloaded were not working. It seems that BSNL has not brought 3G under the same APN. For some of my friends in south the APN was gprssouth.cellone.in.

Is it worth going for it?

The 3G is worth for those Richie riches who use/exploit its additional services/features. I would suggest BSNL to those who have lots of patience and those who are “truly” geeks and also RICH. BSNL has best equipment’s for 3G as well as 2G but have tough time managing those equipment’s hence don’t expect much of service from them.
If you think 3G as mere fast internet service then you are wrong as 3G opens floodgates for lot of services. Apart from SMS, Calls it also offers Mobile TV, Mobile Broadband Internet, Video Calling, Radio and Music Streaming etc.. In short 3G makes your mobile a mini  PC. If you want to make only calls and SMS then don’t even smell around 3G as its very expensive and overkill for you. Go for 3G only if you are avid user of its services and can’t live without it.

BSNL 3G Some Info

As we know the state run operators have huge asset base to roll out services like 3G to users at incredibly cheaper rates. BSNL uses UMTS 3G standards. EV-DO 3G also known as CDMA 3G is available for a long time from BSNL. The main problem with CDMA technology is that it is made mainly for voice calls. UMTS is extension of GSM Technology.  As per analysis done on BSNL its major problem lies in its bureaucratic structures and pathetic customer service. As said earlier the BSNL is for those “technical wizards” and highly patient creatures (which is very unlikely to find now a days). Its better you get the hang of your handset settings and also do loads of googling on each settings. Novices are bound to have tough time with settings.
Coming into costing section. The SIM cost me `59. Additionally, the FRC of `120 (6month validity and no talk time) had to be put. Luckily BSNL has not gone deep into tariff wars (which in reality is also “bleeding” the operators) but economical top ups of `50,`100 are available along with other special offers for unlimited internet usage n Mobile TV. The initial free bundle is good with 2000 local/national SMS, 100 min free Video Call, 1GB Free Data Download.  Its better if our average spending per month is at least `150, If spending is less than `150/month then its better you use PCO’s (not even landlines) as your spending is going to bleed the operator. But still call charges are also not darn cheap also. local voice calls to BSNL costs 60paise and local other network voice calls cost 70paise. Messages are charged at 30paise. Check with BSNL website(www.bsnl.co.in) for its tariff structure.

Final Comments

For those who can’t resist being out of 3G its better to jump into BSNL 3G as the service is also good.  3G is not advisable to those who are “price conscious” and “technologically (un)conscious”. If calls n SMS are your only priorities then be in GSM only don’t even dream about subscribing to GPRS package too. Based on comparison of data plans by DoCoMo and BSNL, I found out that BSNL is king.
First list your desires and priorities with 3G and then only jump into this bandwagon. In MBA Lingo the pricing scheme of 3G services is called as “skimming” and prices are bound to drop over time as market advances. If you can’t pay for higher prices, its better you wait and watch.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.