Reliance has recently released a wireless mobile broadband service named "netconnect broadband+". It is claimed that this service will provide speeds up to 3.1mbps and is claimed to be "India’s fastest Internet". Before you fall for the hype and pay the initial fee of Rs. 3500, read this review carefully.
- Reliance netconnect broadband+ is not India’s fastest Internet. Other service providers (BSNL for example) are giving broadband speeds up to 8mbps for sometime. If you are not specifically looking for a "mobile" broadband connection, a wired connection is always better.
- The speed of 3.1mbps is the burst speed. You cannot compare this with the ADSL or cable Internet which gives an average speed of 2mbps. The average speed of netconnect broadband+ is somewhere in the range of 512kbps and you can consider it equivalent to a 512kbps wired broadband connection.
- The speed of 3.1mbps is available only in major cities. In Kerala this is limited to Trivandrum and Cochin. If you travel around a lot (frequent travel is the reason why you want mobile Internet!) the average speed you get is only 144kbps (which uses CDMA 1X network). Now services such as BSNL EVDO gives 2mbps across all major town in Kerala. Even Idea Net Setter gives a better speed of 240kbps in EDGE coverage areas!
- The netconnect broadband+ is still in its very early stages. If there is congestion due to large number of connections, you can expect speeds much below the average 512kbps. Also the speed you get will depend on the signal strength at your place.
- If you are planning to use it for live streaming or other multimedia stuff, think again! Unfortunately even the "unlimited" plan which charges a hefty subscription of Rs. 1750 has a ridiculous monthly download limit of 10GB (A reasonable limit would be 30GB or 50GB). Let us see how much this is when it comes to video streaming,
average video bandwidth = 60 kilobytes per second
Total bandwidth per month = 10GB
Total time for video streaming = (10*1000*1000)/60 = 166666 seconds = 46 hours
This means if you take the "unlimited" connection, you get over an hour of video streaming per day.
- If you really need on the move Internet, go for BSNL EVDO. EVDO has a peak speed of 2mbps and has an average download speed of 512kbps. Best of all, the "unlimited" connection has no "fair usage policy" limits and it costs only Rs. 550 per month (one third of what Reliance is charging). Even then a lot of "clueless" people are bound to fall for the Reliance advertisement.
- 3G and WiMAX are going to be rolled out all over India pretty soon. These are bound to give better wireless mobile Internet. So wait a few months before you jump in and waste Rs. 3500 on something that will be obsolete so soon.
- If you already own the old Reliance Netconnect CDMA 1x service you are in for a shock. There is no way to upgrade to the new service. You need to get a brand new connection and pay the full amount. This essentially forces everyone to throw away their old CDMA 1x card (along with Rs. 4000+ they had paid) and then buy the new card at a price of Rs. 3500. The only catch is that you will end up throwing it again when 3G and WiMAX services are rolled out later this year!
It is recommended that you wait for a few months before jumping into the netconnect broadband+ bandwagon. If you are really in need of an "unlimited" wireless broadband, go for BSNL EVDO.
September 2011 – 3G is now out (with max speeds of up to 20+ mbps!) and it seems Netconnect is here to stay. New devices are now available and the network speed is pretty good at around 1mbps and above in cities. The modem prices have come down, but the bandwidth prices have stayed more or less the same. In Kerala, the coverage is pretty good.
March 17, 2009 | Posted in Opinion No Comments » | By Jayson