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Switching from Tata Photon+ to 3G, Please suggest USB Data Card & Network.

  1. #1
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    Question Switching from Tata Photon+ to 3G, Please suggest USB Data Card & Network.

    Hello all,

    this is my first post on this forum

    I am currently using Tata Photon+ from past 2+ years as my only source for internet and am reasonably happy with it until I recently I came to know about people getting much higher speeds at equal or even cheaper price when i read some threads on broadband forums.

    my details are:

    City: South Mumbai
    Computer: Macbook Pro with Mac OS X 10.7.2 (Lion)
    Currently using: Tata Photon+ with 10GB for Rs. 1200/month with avg. speeds of DL - 1.5-1.8mbps and Unlimited - 700-900kbps.

    I checked vodafone 3g but they are pretty expensive. reliance looks fine with 15gb for 1200 I guess, but MTNL looks very attractive with 750/month for unlimited downloads!

    now my question is which network is good and which usb data card dongle or portable wifi (or is it called mifi) you guys would suggest?

    I would like to buy a good USB data card dongle or a pocket wifi like vodafone offers. which supports speeds upto 21mbps in HSPA+ and 14 mbps in HSDPA so it is future proof. and also the data card which would work with all 3g networks like mtnl, reliance, vodafone, Tata (when they launch 3g in mumbai), airtel etc. and also most importantly it should work well with my Macbook pro with OS X Lion (10.7.2). I don't want to buy a 3g data card dongle from any operator as they are all locked to work with their network only usually but still it should be as good as they provide or better. I am completely unaware about the pocket wifi boxes available. are they any good compared to usb data card dongles? what if you are outside and you loose its battery? do you need to carry its adapter charger along everywhere? as that would be a burden to find a point to charge it everywhere. seems not much portable in that sense. but also at the same time a wifi router seems a good idea as it can also be used for mobile internet. also when in home can it be used with the adapter constantly without affecting the battery? which is a better option for when traveling, usb data card dongle or this pocket wifi mifi thingy?

    I checked reliance, which is reasonable with 15gb plan for 1200 bucks but mtnl sounds too good with 750 bucks for unlimited usage. so what is the current speed mtnl providing for 3g jadoo in mumbai and is there any fair usage policy or cap on speeds after certain usage? how does it compare with reliance etc.? is it worth taking a risk and going for mtnl 3g? the vodafone guy told me that with the 21mbps usb dongle you can get speeds of 10-12mbps easily. which sounds fantastic and even better than wired broadband I guess. does reliance also offer similar speeds? and how far behind is MTNL comparatively?

    so people please help me choose the right data card dongle/wifi router along with the right operator for my networking needs. I am a completely noob hence so many questions. your help will be highly appreciated. thanks a lot!

  2. #2
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    I used to have BSNL 3G card. The promised speed was 3.1 mbps. In the city (where the number of users are high), its speeds used to be very pathetic (512 kbps at the most). In smaller towns, where 3G service was available, the speed used to reach 2.7 mbps.

    But what matters is not speed but the cost. BSNL used to have unlimited usage plan - Rs. 4200 for 6 months. Then it stopped. I cannot control my usage and hence I stopped the service.

    You should check the cost and that should be the deciding factor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by just4kix View Post
    I used to have BSNL 3G card. The promised speed was 3.1 mbps. In the city (where the number of users are high), its speeds used to be very pathetic (512 kbps at the most). In smaller towns, where 3G service was available, the speed used to reach 2.7 mbps.

    But what matters is not speed but the cost. BSNL used to have unlimited usage plan - Rs. 4200 for 6 months. Then it stopped. I cannot control my usage and hence I stopped the service.

    You should check the cost and that should be the deciding factor.
    Hey thanks just4kix for replying in my thread!

    Price matters ofcourse but its not the only deciding factor. I don't want to opt for any service which is worse than what I am already getting from Tata Photon+, where I usually get around 1.5mbps DL and 800kbps UL speeds. So it should be better than this at a resonable price or say atleast similar price.

    I read some posts on this forum I guess, where someone had mentioned they are getting very good speeds (around 5mbps) from mtnl mumbai and they were very happy with the service so I got tempted to try it out. I am not a heavy downloader so even reliance with its limited plans should do but unlimited plan and speeds of around 5mbps sounds really tempting to ignore it. As who knows, maybe with great speeds and faster downloads I may start downloading much more, so unlimited plan would be great.

    But now since you have warned me, I think I will first try it only for a month and see. Then if its any good will opt for the unlimited plan for 6 months for 4500, which by the way is still offered by mumbai mtnl.

    I know that reliance is offering much better speeds but I am ready to get a little lesser speeds for unlimited plans. But it still should be much better than what I am already getting from Tata Photon+. Then only it makes sense to buy a unlocked USB 3g modem and change the service and go through all the hassles.

    But I am yet to buy a unlocked 3g modem. And no one has yet suggested me a good one! Please refer my requirement in my first post above and suggest me something.

  4. #4
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    I recently got a Reliance 3g connection and bought the modem they sell with it some ZTE brand with max speed upto 21mbps and I get 6mbps+ easy on a bad day and on a good day I have seen 7mbps+ constant speed for like 15 mins and then my download was complete. I am paying Rs1200 for 15GB limit per month post paid and after 15GB you don't get charged for extra usage they just throttle your speed to 64kbps so I don't run the risk of getting a huge bill. Its capped at Rs1200 per month and no more. I also have a prepaid Airtel 3g connection that I use in my phone so when I need some extra GB's I just get a 10GB pack from Airtel and use that as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post
    I recently got a Reliance 3g connection and bought the modem they sell with it some ZTE brand with max speed upto 21mbps and I get 6mbps+ easy on a bad day and on a good day I have seen 7mbps+ constant speed for like 15 mins and then my download was complete. I am paying Rs1200 for 15GB limit per month post paid and after 15GB you don't get charged for extra usage they just throttle your speed to 64kbps so I don't run the risk of getting a huge bill. Its capped at Rs1200 per month and no more. I also have a prepaid Airtel 3g connection that I use in my phone so when I need some extra GB's I just get a 10GB pack from Airtel and use that as well.
    Thanks Admin!

    I want to try MTNL 3G first and if its not good enough then will definitely opt for Reliance. That's the only reason I want to buy a unlocked USB 3G modem also. So I can change the service provider if need be. But still haven't been able to decide between Huawei UMG 1831, K4505 and E353. I don't want to buy which would not work with Macbook OS X Lion (10.7.3) because even my Tata Photon+ was not compatible but the Tata guys installed a driver and now it works fine. But if I buy a unlocked modem and if it doesn't work then I doubt the service provider will help me if I haven't bought the modem from them. so need to be sure about mac compatibility before buying.

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    If compatibility is a big issue and you use your stuff between different platforms then the simplest solution would be to buy a wireless router to go with your modem and not have to worry about any drivers ever again Just make sure your modem is unlocked and is configurable for different networks. I dont know how much this router would cost but they are available at shops and if you get one do let me know which one you got so I can go and buy one for myself as well

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    I am definitely considering one of those wireless router but don't need it as of now. will think about it when buy a iPad or a iPhone. but right now the modem should be compatible with my macbook coz I want to use it when I am on the move too. and router will be fixed at home. when I buy I wanna buy a proper wi-fi 3G router on which i can just plug my USB modem and not the pocket chargeable routers like vodafone sells. as the pocket wifi routers are also only 7mbps usually and also you need to carry the charger along everywhere incase the battery dies so its not worth it.

    by the way I checked the entire lamination road in mumbai 2 days back, but could not find Huawei 21 mbps USB modems anywhere. they had many models of wifi routers which had many connection options. didn't ask much about them though as these shops are usually crowded and I was not looking to buy one that time so. but if you can go there you can try and check it out. I am not aware about these wifi routers much

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    finally bought an unlocked huawei E353 from ebay and an mtnl 3g sim. getting constant above 2mbps for DL and 350kbps for UL. not bad. though its just my first day using mtnl sim so lets see hows the service... but so far not bad! cheaper and faster than tata photon+. though I was expecting much higher speeds... between 3-5mbps!
    speedtest result.jpg

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    Default which plan exactly?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedy7 View Post
    finally bought an unlocked huawei E353 from ebay and an mtnl 3g sim. getting constant above 2mbps for DL and 350kbps for UL. not bad. though its just my first day using mtnl sim so lets see hows the service... but so far not bad! cheaper and faster than tata photon+. though I was expecting much higher speeds... between 3-5mbps!
    speedtest result.jpg
    kindly let us know the exact plan, i was trying to know more on mtnl website, couldnt find the 750 plan on their site.

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    Default Checkout the AirCel 3G datacard and plans

    Quote Originally Posted by surahit View Post
    kindly let us know the exact plan, i was trying to know more on mtnl website, couldnt find the 750 plan on their site.
    I am from Kolkata and was similarly a user of TATA Photon + until I found Aircel 3G datacard. Very good signal strength and good reasonable priced plans. You need to check out if Aircel is there in your area or not.

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