You would probably be aware that Airtel provides 2GB free data for Rs.98 a month for its 2G (GPRS/EDGE) customers. While this is certainly reasonable, the 3G tariff prices, however, are not that pocket friendly. Leaving the sachet plans, the least plan requires you to shed around Rs.100 to get 100MB of 3G data.
Here’s a way to get the same 2GB data for Rs.98 a month at 3G speeds.
All you need to do is activate Airtel 3G and stop there (without subscribing to any 3G Data plan).
While you do this, if you already have an active 2G data plan, you will get a notice that your 2G data plan will be cancelled. Just disregard that (read disclaimer below) and proceed with activation of 3G service.
In case you didn’t have any active 2G data plan, you can subscribe to the Rs.98 plan by dialing *567#
In both the cases, you should now have a ‘3G’ or ‘H’ symbol on your phone with an active 2GB data plan.
The speed won’t be so high (at the max it went up to 4Mbps once or twice but most of the time it will be between 1 and 2 Mbps on my HSPA+ 21Mbps capable handset), so I’m assuming Airtel is already aware of this kind of usage. All we are doing is using the 2GB data over a 3G network.
Disclaimer: I’m a prepaid user from Mumbai circle and I’ve been using this method for some months now. It may or may not work for some of you. Proceed at your own risk when that message comes, that your 2G data plan will be cancelled (personally, I disregarded that message and went ahead).
Update: Airtel has closed this loophole and users are no longer able to get 3G speeds on 2G data plans. It was good while it lasted but perhaps all good things won’t last long.