iPad 3G usage in India: best carrier?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by nightfly13, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #1
    Right so my BSNL 3G sim card got deactivated - to my great frustration. It worked reasonably well in most places I tried it (my home Ranchi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Delhi airport) but poorly (or not at all) in both the Mumbai airport and Indore city.

    I know that with the progressive rollout that only the major metros actually have all the options presently, so which carrier is 'best' will depend greatly on when you try (assuming a slow but steady improvement in network capacity and speed - and availability in secondary markets) and where.

    I'm now trying a Reliance GSM 3G sim. It's working fine in Ranchi. Speed tests show 900kbps give or take 150. But actual performance is inconsistent. Some webpages snap and load right up (as much as the iPad 1 ever loads quickly) and others start quickly then stall for 5 or even 10 seconds before resuming their progress. This is pretty frustrating. I'll be going through Orissa, Bangalore and Calcutta in the next 10 days - I'll update this thread accordingly. BTW the working APN was 'SMARTNET' for Reliance 3G. Didn't even need to reboot my iPad or anything. Cutting the SIM card was no biggie (although I actually cut it too small but 'Reliance 3G' showed up very quickly after inserting the SIM tray) - I've done it successfully 4 times now (out of 4 tries).

    I'm actually waiting for one of the 'top tier' carriers (in my view that means Voda or Airtel) to launch in my area and then I'll port my number to them.

    Any other thoughts or experiences?
     
  2. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #2
    One more thought on BSNL vs Reliance

    BSNL, unsurprisingly as a gov telco, isn't really set up for data only usage. The problem I constantly had was keeping my 'talk time' balance over Rs. 50 (although, obviously, I never made ANY calls from the iPad). My new Reliance sim has 'no expiration' when I check the balance, and they actually gave me an SMS (which I read while the sim was in a phone) that said 'your Rs. 198 recharge has activated the 250MB data plan' or something similarly clear. I can't comment on coverage or performance yet, but interacting with Reliance as a company is vastly superior to BSNL, so far.
     
  3. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #3
    The rundown on Airtel and Reliance in my travels

    Airtel:
    Just came to Ranchi. It's fast here, 2.5-2.9mbps. A bit flaky the first day or two (after a data session would end it would drop down to no signal) and continues to do phantom charges (must be some push notifications) at 0.04MB all the time that I have ti dismiss unless I turn cellular data off, but it's pretty fast. I'm using that in my iPhone (APN comes automatically but it's airtelgprs.com - I think) but it also worked when I tested briefly in my iPad.

    Reliance:
    Slower, under 1mbps, but almost always over 500kbps if I got a 3G signal, which was basically in all cities except Bangalore (where I was on speedy Edge the whole time - maybe 250kbps). 3G in Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar and Berampur - Edge out on the coast in Gopalpur.

    Right now I'm thinking to leave these two as-is (iPad on Reliance, iPhone on Airtel) unless one of them gives me a reason to jump ship. Cost-wise, they're comparable (around 1 rupee per MB usage).
     
  4. sapota macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    #4
    Thanks for info

    I am outside India & own an ipad 2. & iphone.

    The last time I traveled to India (2009), I used iphone 2g on airtel chennai & got reasonable data rates - enough to use email and occasional websites.

    I will be visiting in another 6 months or year. Was planning on using airtel again. Ur info helps.
     
  5. Vikash1971 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    #5
    3G in ranchi

    Hi nightfly

    I am going to India for few weeks. I will be staying mostly in ranchi and few days in hyderrabad, Kerala, and port Blair. How can I buy bsnl iPad 2 3G microcard in ranchi?
    I currently live in Belgium, and will be arriving in India next week via Kolkata. Is there a possibility to buy bsnl card in Kolkata airport.
    If now he's here can I buy it in ranchi? From your posts I learnt that bsnl cards work the best in ranchi

    Thanks for your help

    Vikash
     

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