This is the first in a series of documenting our experiences with 3G services in India. First to be covered is Reliance Netconnect+. Later in the series, Tata DoCoMo, Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL will be covered.
3G services have been around for a while now, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Unfortunately, since the telecom companies got so badly squeezed by the government during the 3G auctions, there aren’t too many options that are really worth their salt.
Having spent thousands of crores on buying their spectrum, and paying through their noses in taxes, interconnectivity fees and other charges, I don’t blame the mobile companies for being sub-par all across the board.
I really struggled to find a good 3G provider, even though there are several choices, because they all had their drawbacks, some more so than others. I guess the only option is to choose the lesser of the evils and leave it at that.
Reliance Netconnect Broadband+
I’ve been using this one for a couple of years now, at a rural location. Reliance’s Netconnect Broadband+ works on CDMA, hence the speed is lower than GSM’s HSPA+ at 3.1 Mbps. However, everywhere that I have taken my dongle, it has never let me down. Though it’s a lot slower than the GSM based competition, it gets the closest to advertised speed consistently.
To get my dongle, I walked in to the closest Reliance World store, filled in the application, provided the documents and within about 2 hours, my dongle was up and running. It has worked flawlessly throughout, and I have never felt the need to contact customer service.
Speed tests within city limits clocked their slowest at 1.1 Mbps, the fastest at 2.8 Mbps. Outside city limits gave me respectable speeds of between 800 Kbps and 1 Mbps. Coverage has never been an issue no matter where I take it. The dialler shows at least 2 bars any where I go.
Conclusion: Unbeatable coverage, decent speeds, great reliability. However the technology limits its speed to 3.1 Mbps, so it will never be faster.