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Tatas ring in 3G tariff war

Fears of steep 3G rates appear to have been exaggerated. Tata DoCoMo -the GSM brand of Tata Teleservices -has started a price war that analysts say will be long and hard fought. The company today announced its 3G tariff plans, starting at Rs 500 a month for 250MB of data download and 750 minutes (66 paise per minute) of local and long-distance calls for both its preand post-paid customers. Another telecom firm, which will launch 3G in the next few months, said the cost of 250MB data download would be around Rs 399 per month.
“For unlimited data download, a customer will have to pay Rs 999 per month. These plans will be bundled with some minutes of voice calls, which will be competitively priced,” said an executive from the firm. The Tatas have always set the price benchmark for the telecom industry. It started the per-second tariff war for 2G voice calls and is likely to trigger a similar tussle in 3G.
Other operators, including Airtel and Vodafone, are gearing up to roll out 3G networks in the next few months. For 3G data services on large screens such as computers and laptops, the Tatas have announced a package of Rs 2,000 for 15GB of data use at a speed of 21.1Mbps. Tata DoCoMo’s Rs 2,000 a month callplus-data plan allows 2GB download and 5,000 minutes of calls, which works out to 40 paise per minute for a voice call.
However, the Tata tariff is for basic Internet surfing and voice calls. For valueadded services such as video calls or video downloads, subscribers will have to pay more. For Tata DoCoMo subscribers, video calls on all plans are available at 5 paise per second, which works out to be Rs 3 per minute. “Tata DoCoMo’s 3G pricing seems to be aggressive, considering that industry paid high price to buy spectrum,” Rajat Agrawal, editor of told The Telegraph. The company had won 3G spectrum in nine out of the 22 designated circles in the country for $1.3 billion in an auction in June, and spent another $500 million on 3G networks. 
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