Airtel GPRS is a Rip-Off

Got royally burned by Airtel GPRS.

For starters, anyone who has an Airtel SIM in their mobile phone, automatically receives Airtel GPRS Settings and they are saved as ‘Mobile Office’. Practically all phones sold today are in the category of Smart-Phones, even the budget Chinese origin ones.

The phones also come packed with applications (some of them fundamental to operation of the phone – such as Phone Updates, Email, Address book Sync, Calendar Sync. etc.) that require the Internet. Naturally, customers allow the applications to access the Internet.

Taking advantage of this, Airtel perhaps charges customers Internet data rates that users in the history of Internet access have never paid.

Airtel currently charges Rs. 0.30/20 KB. That works out to Rs. 15/MB!

For starters, in today’s day and age, who the hell calculates data in KB? Even Google’s home page is 246 KB (that’s Rs. 3/- just access to access Google’s Home page).

Back in 1997, when BSNL introduced Internet in Hyderabad, the organisation I used to work for, was one of the early adopters. It cost us Rs. 15,000/- per year to get 500 Hours of Internet time. Hence, per hour rate was Rs. 30/-. We used a Motorola ModemSurfr 28.8 Kbps modem and on a good day could download approx. 9 MB/Hour. Hence, cost per MB was Rs. 3.33/-

Compare this to Airtel’s rate of Rs. 15/MB: Airtel is 450% more expensive than using a Dial-Up line.

I have a Tikona Wireless Broadband connection at home and pay Rs. 549 for 6GB + Unlimited. My average monthly usage is 30GB. That makes my cost per MB = 549 / 30000 = 0.02 (2ps / MB). Even if I limited myself to the 6GB high-speed access that Tikona provides, it still costs 549/6000 = 9ps/MB.

Airtel’s GPRS data costs between 16666% to 75000% more!

Yup, you read those figures correctly. Let me spell it out for you – Airtel GPRS Data costs between Sixteen Thousand Six Hundred and Sixty Six percent to Seventy Five Thousand Percent more than comparable broadband Internet access rates!

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