Which 3G plan is best for me?
With a variety of 3G services on offer, it can be difficult to choose the right plan. After all, you don’t want to spend for more than your usage or, worse, end up paying a big bill replete with extra charges. To determine your usage, go through this questionnaire compiled by Nimish Dubey. The answers will help you pick the plan that suits your requirement the most.
Is your 3G device the primary means to access the Internet?
No, I use my computer.
No, but I do use it to stay online while I’m commuting, which is usually 2-3 hours a day.
My Internet usage is split evenly between my computer and 3G device.
Yes, it is. I’m always on the move and this is the only way I can stay online.
How often do you browse the Web on your mobile phone?
Not too often. I generally have a PC with me.
About an hour every day.
Up to three hours a day, especially when I am travelling.
Round the clock. It is my primary Internet access device.
How often do you send or receive attachments with e-mails on the gadget?
Occasionally, when I am not carrying the PC.
Definitely a few times every day.
All the time.
Do you have push notifications -instant delivery of information on new mails, news, chats, etc-enabled on the device?
Only for e-mail.
For e-mail, social networks and a few stock updates.
How often do you use your 3G phone to upload pictures or videos to the Net?
Almost every day, but I stick to low-resolution images and videos.
Several times a day and I prefer high-definition images.
How frequently do you download apps and software to your device?
Occasionally, only if something interesting comes along.
A few times a week.
Almost every day.
How often do you go for multi-player games?
Rarely, usually about once a week for less than an hour.
Just on the weekends and not for too long.
A few times every day at least.
When do you watch videos on your gadget?
I prefer to watch them on a larger screen.
Sometimes, especially when I’m travelling.
A few times a day, but I only watch short videos uploaded on social networks.
At least an hour every day. Sometimes I even watch movies.
Do you use your phone as a modem/ hotspot for surfing on another device (tablet or a computer)?
Almost never. I always have a PC handy.
A few times a day, but not for more than an hour in all.
A few hours every day.
The 3G plan for you if your answers are mainly
You are not a classic 3G user and GPRS/EDGE would work as well for you. However, if you need the odd burst of speed from time to time, especially on those rare occasions when your PC is not handy, a plan that provides 200-250 MB of data usage a month should suit you. Most operators have such plans and they are available for Rs 100-200 a month.
You are just dipping your toes into the 3G pool, but rely on your computer for Internet access. So a plan that offers 1 GB of data usage a month should suffice. These normally cost Rs 369-650, depending on the operator you choose.
You really need 3G, even though you are not totally dependent on your gadget for high-speed Internet connectivity. We recommend a data plan which provides 1-3 GB of data usage a month. The monthly cost for these will vary from Rs 550-850.
You are a 3G speed addict and your device is your only connection to the online world. An unlimited data download plan will work best for you. If this is not available, opt for any plan that offers more than 3 GB data each month. However, you are likely to spend an amount that is upwards of five figures a month just on high-speed connectivity.
Beware of the extra charges
While opting for a 3G plan, don’t just consider the monthly cost and the data usage. There will also be extra charges that will be levied if you exceed the data limit. On paper, this looks nominal, usually about 2 paise per 10 KB. However, it can add up to a lot-1 MB of data will amount to around Rs 2 per MB (still not shocking), or Rs 2,000 a GB, which is generally much more than your monthly rental. So, keep a close eye on your 3G data usage.
Data ready reckoner
Though you can see the amount of data used when you download or upload a file, calculating data usage for routine tasks like browsing or reading an e-mail can be difficult. Here’s how much data you use for…
Accessing a website: 100-120 KB. It could go up to a few MB depending on the amount of multimedia content.
Listening to music or streaming audio: About 400 KB a minute.
Watching streaming video (normal quality): About 1-1.5 MB a minute.
Accessing mail (only text): 15-25 KB.
Chat (only text): 25-40 KB a minute.