3G iPad in India (getting BSNL SIM to work)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by nightfly13, May 30, 2010.

  1. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #1
    I hope this thread will have a positive conclusion by the evening, but I figured I'd share what I've learned so far and maybe someone knows something about this that I don't know.

    Just got my 3G iPad delivered by a friend coming across from the US, and it's terrific and my iPhone feels tiny and all that. I got a new BSNL 3G sim card (only 3G option in Ranchi, where I live most of the year) and here's what I've learned so far:

    1. Put SIM in a phone and activate it (dial 123)

    2. Check the balance *123#

    3. Then recharge (I chose Rs. 399 (plus 41 'tax') for 1GB data across India). Note, I’m told you need a ‘talk time balance’ of at least Rs.50 for it to work, even if you have a data balance.

    4. Check balance again (see point 2). I can't explain why, but this is what got mine finally working.

    5. Pull out the AT&T micro sim, measure the size of the larger BSNL (while the chips are slightly different, I used the bottom left corner (opposite the cut-off corner) as a starting point and the iPad recognizes my SIM fine). I used scissors, and started a bit bigger than I thought I needed and trimmed down slowly until it fit snuggly into the micro sim tray on the iPad.

    6. Set the APN: under Settings -> Cellular Data -> APN Settings -> APN = bsnlnet

    3G should work and *edit* is now working on mine.
     
  2. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #2
    One more thing..

    You probably already googled this, but here's a blog of a guy who got it working already.
     
  3. tuxing macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    #3
    I got 3G working on Bsnl prepaid in Kerala. Steps were almost like you mentioned. I didn't opt for a 3G plan. I just topup with usual voice topup on the net from Bsnl.co.in.
    I will soon be making a microsim to sim adapter to check the balance and validity.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. shashwat macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #4
    Boss thnx for sharing ur experience..
    I am from kolkata..my ipad is stuck at SF,California... :(
    waiting for my 3g 64gb model to arrive...
    M very very interested in the speeds experienced using bsnl 3g..
    Once u get ur 3g working would really really appreciate if u cud post the speeds u getting on ur device..!!

    U can download a free speedtest.net application from the app store....
    Hope ur 3g thing works..
    M **** excited..for u,for myslf(cz someday nt far from 2dy m gonna get mine) and to know d speeds we are getting here in india on bsnl...!!!!

    Cheers
     
  5. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #5
    When I talked to the 3G wallah at the big BSNL exchange, he said the 3G speed is fast, like broadband, 2mbps, although I'm sure latency will be a bit worse. Practically, that translates to tap, wait 1.5-2 seconds, then things start loading quite quickly.

    My guy never got my phone recharged, so I can't confirm that the present issue is the lack of talk time balance, sorry guys I hoped to have it cleared up by now.
     
  6. tuxing macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    #6
    The max speed I got on speedtest of Bsnl 3G is 555kbps. Avg was 512kbps. That's download speeds of 64Kbps. But the service is very unpredictable on speeds in real life use. But YouTube videos seem to load fast.
     
  7. shashwat macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #7
    Thnx for replying tuxing..
    For me 512kbps is vry slow ya... :( :(
    i was hoping more on lines of atlst 1mbps... :(
    was willing to pay quite a premium also.. :(
    i guess we would have to wait for private players to strt their own service as well for things to get better....

    @nightfly-dude once u get ur 3g going which i presume should be up nd running by 2mrw ;) for u...
    Jst check what speeds are u getting...
    Lets see whether this is a universal thing or area specific...!!!!!


    Cheers guys...
     
  8. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #8
    Got it working (and it's slow)

    Finally! Seems I had to recharge (the talk time over Rs. 50) then put it back into a mobile (I cello-taped the made-micro SIM to the iPhone tray and had a tough time getting it in/out - bad idea, use a normal phone instead) to check the balance *123# and then, when I put it back in my iPad, it found 'BSNL' instead of 'CellOne' and the 3G icon came up and is working.

    The bad news is after 4-5 speed tests, the fastest is 121kbps (100 average) and upload is 50-70kbps. Disaster. The upside is the 1GB will last forever at that speed, but in Ranchi, at least, 3G performance is weak. I know if you have a fast BSNL plan then it really does go 2MBPS solid, so it's not a lack of bandwidth, not sure why this is happening. I'll report back if it works better at another time of day (tried at 18:30).

    Anyway, 100kbps is usable for out and about, but I'll probably get a smaller/cheaper package next time, and use wifi whenever possible, of course. The fact that it's pan-India (even small towns have 3G BSNL sign boards up) makes it worth while if you travel. But I'll probably still need to pay for hotel wifi, unless it's a lot better performing in other cities (as I don't really need it much in Ranchi, home and work both have wifi).
     
  9. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #9
    Incidentally, running the same free speedtest.net iPhone app on the iPad over my wifi gets me my full speed (510-511kbps on the 512kbps unlimited connection) but a bit slower on the upload (300-350). So the test works fine, at least at these slow speeds.
     
  10. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #10
    Hi again from my iPad, not sure how to upload the screenshot so you'll have to trust me on the speed test results.. Anyone know how to do this other than emailing it to desktop, posting on webpage and linking at way?
     
  11. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #11
    Better test results

    So I looked at the settings and realizing it the closest and default sever was Dhaka (no Calcutta option). So once I changed it to Delhi I got 400-550kbps. Other major metros in india had 200-350. Bear in mind I'm talking about pinging those metro servers from Ranchi 3G network.
     
  12. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #12
    Free iPad app 'speed test x' pinged the server in London (only non north American server) and got 754kbps then 530kbps. (that's 2 results, there is no upload test with this one).
     
  13. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #13
    So turns out my 3G connection is faster than my broadband connection. Of course one is unlimited and the other is 1gb so I won't use 3G at home typically.

    Latency/subjectivity wise they feel equally sluggish comparing to the fastest broadband I've used abroad (30mbps).
     
  14. shashwat macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #14
    Thnx for replying...
    Sorry i missed you completely mid way..
    What i understand is u saying ur 3g speed is 110kbps approx..nd then u said that the same app gives u the right speed on wifi...
    That verifies that the app is trustable..
    Nd den i completely lost u..sorry..
    U were talking abt the test using different servers..are those 3g tests or wifi tests...?
    Cz its not possible having 700 kbps speed on a connection to a server outside india when in india server speeds are like 100kbps..

    I also feel that the slow speeds might be due to ur location...
    I think that speeds should be much faster in the metros....

    Anyways would appreciate i you could just clarify feom where iost u completely.....


    Shashwat
     
  15. shashwat macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #15
    And if u could do 1 more thing it would be great-
    open up a very heavy website on ur ipad..
    First using wifi and then 3g...u can perhaps gauge the difference-kind of...
    Use a stopwatch...
    Just a suggestion..upto u whether u find it useless or wanna give it a shot..i would have tried it though...


    Shashwat
     
  16. grebe925 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #16
    Can you post a pic of the modified BSNL 3G sim along with the AT&T one that comes with the IPAD? I'm getting my Ipad 64GB/3G next week from the U.S. and want to make sure that I don't make a mistake when I chop up my BSNL 3G sim to fit the Ipad.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  17. shashwat macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #17


    Does the atnt micro sim come in the box with an ipad 3g????
     
  18. tuxing macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    #18
    Yes it comes preinstalled on iPad 3G.
     
  19. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #19
    Aside from the 'accurate' 512kbps wifi test, all the other tests were over 3G. The backbone (going outside India) is must faster than 100kbps. I get a 512kbps connection when I download over usenet steadily, 24/7, and I had the same connection going at 2mbps when I had that BSNL broadband plan, so it's surely possible to get results in the 700s over 3G.

    Sorry I don't think it's possible to upload to Macrumors and I don't use twipic or any of those hosting sites, but I did slam it up on my FB page, here's a link. The key, imho, to getting it right is to basically get the corner near the chip that's opposite from the cut-out corner, get that as close as possible and the rest will work itself out. The chips (on the sims) are actually different shapes, so I had to guess at which parts I should make match, but I looked at where the AT&T chip showed through the tray and then cut and trimmed until the BSNL sim basically matched that (and barely fit into the tray).

    One a side note, after taking it out and putting it back in, I had trouble getting it to read the BSNL sim, but when it finally did the network popped up as CellOne and I thought I'd have trouble again, since the 3G had only showed up on 'BSNL' network, but after I turned off wifi I got the 3G logo on the CellOne network as well. No idea why it shows up as CellOne sometimes and BSNL other times, but 3G was the same.
     
  20. grebe925 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #20
    The picture is much appreciated. Thanks!

    Here's a tutorial on how to convert a regular SIM into a micro-sim, albeit for British Vodaphone. From the looks of it, that should work out to the results that you got. I am assuming the lines on the SIM are the IPAD contacts that slide up and down it when removing the SIM tray or putting it back in, so yours looks like the right one has moved around a bit.
     
  21. grebe925 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #21
    OK, it looks like I have a different contact design to yours. The contacts on my phone have slid over the left three columns and the fourth column on the right is superfluous. So, I would still use the bottom left corner (diagonally opposite the notch) as the reference like you did, right?
     

    Attached Files:

  22. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #22
    Yes start from the bottom left and cut from there. Good luck - and thanks for attaching the photo for me :)
     
  23. grebe925 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #23
    OK, got my new Ipad 64GB 3G, took a big gulp, did the SIM mod and got it to work! Yes!!!!

    I have two questions (probably dumb). How do you re-charge the SIM? Does BSNL give you a re-charge number and if so how do I enter it on the Ipad? Or do they just re-charge it in their office if you give them the number like Airtel does?

    Second, how do I find out how many GB of data download I have left on the BSNL 3G plan?

    Any Ipad users with BSNL 3G care to answer?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  24. shashwat macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #24
    Gb data depends on ur data plan that u pay for...get a data plan asap without which they gonna charge u like 3 bucks per mb of usage...u can first try a trial data pack-62 bucks for 15 days with a free data of 60 mb....

    I dpnt know if bsnl does indeed give u a recharge number but try to get a recharge done as if u wud get it done normally via a vendor or something...
     
  25. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #25
    Congrats on getting it working. I haven't done a second recharge yet, and i am dubious whether a normal recharge wallah can keep my plan going and recharged. 399 worked out to 420 with tax for 1gb. To check usage go to settings -> general -> usages, it is accurate for me so far. The upside of the poor 3g performance is data is used less.
     

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