With September (of 2010) being the month when the Private Telecom players can get started with the set up of their 3G network, users who need urgent 3G services at present has no choice but to opt for the Government run BSNL (MTNL in Mumbai and Delhi).
Before choosing BSNL (or MTNL), it is important to find out whether the 3G network exists in your area or not. A simple statement by BSNL officials that ‘3G services begin in Hyderabad (for example) from today’ would not be sufficient in this case. To get access to the 3G service, your 3G enabled handset must have access to a UMTS tower (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System) which is different from the regular 2G telecom tower.
You can see all the cities listed under the 3G network by visiting BSNL website but what is important is whether the area in which you live in your city is served with 3G network or not.
Find 3G coverage in your Area
Here is a trick (if I can call it) to find out if 3G network exists in your or not. Get your 3G handset and visit the Network menu (Generally this will be in Settings – Connectivity). Select UMTS (or 3G, as it appears) as the network mode and select Manual under the Operator selection.
Wait for your mobile to search for any available UMTS signals.
As the figure shows, I have CellOne 3G (in fact 3.5G) signal in my area. If you don’t get any resultant network, it simply means that your area is not covered under the 3G network, currently.
Note: There is no signal indication above the 3.5G in the figure because I tested it with Airtel Sim using which I will not have access to BSNL CellOne’s network.
By the way, Airtel has started selling iPhone 3GS in India. If you can some how unlock the phone, the speed of that device (browsing speed, that is) combined with the BSNL 3.5G network will be unbelievable. You will almost throw away your Tata Photons’ and Reliance Net connect devices.