At a time when operators are slashing data charges in an effort to attract/retain customers, Airtel has gone ahead and done the unthinkable. It has actually hiked its 2G data charges, that’s right – not 3G but 2G data charges. While this could have been construed as a move to push customers to adopt 3G, this isn’t the case as the hike is happening in Punjab and other states as well, where Airtel has no 3G spectrum and thus no 3G services.
1 GB of 2G data on Airtel is now Rs. 125, 2 GB is 199, and usage outside these plans is 10 paisa/10 KB. Reliance on the other hand has just announced a huge reduction in its 3G rates, and 1 GB is down to just Rs. 123, 2 Rupees less than what Airtel charges for horrible 2G data that never seems to work. While I am not a huge fan of Reliance due to their shoddy customer service, I cannot really complain about its 3G performance whether I’m in Delhi or in Chandigarh. I have been using a Reliance connection for its 3G data in a second phone, and only get spotty coverage once in a while.
I have been an Airtel customer for almost 10 years now but if Airtel keeps this up, porting out will become a very real option.