[MLB-WIRELESS] Some info on wireless in India

emdeex emdeex at gmail.com
Thu Jan 31 22:15:37 EST 2008

Hi All,

I just came back from a couple of months in India and thought I'd
share what I learned about wireless data over there.

Almost everyone seems to have a mobile phone, you can buy a brand new
GSM phone with no contract for $30, a simple Chinese brand but it
works fine, colour screen etc.  I even met locals with iPhone's
(hacked to run local networks).

You can get mobile GSM GPRS/EDGE data at 40kbps via the Airtel
Network, in most places in India, including many rural areas.
The cost is 15rp per day for unlimited usage, thats about 40 cents per
day,  unlimited.  You are only charged this if you access the service
on any day.
A GSM SIM card costs about $3AUD, you can choose your own number.  You
recharge your account via an SMS system at any of thousands of
Calls cost about 1rp (2cents) per minute mobile to mobile, and 8rp
(22cents) mobile to any number in Australia.

Reliance Mobile has a 1X CDMA2000 network with faster mobile data
speeds, but with higher charges and less coverage.  I'm not sure of
the rates.  But you see people using this network a lot in the big
cities, often with a PCMCIA wireless modem plugged into their

Wireless 802.x networks are available in most major airports and
hotels, but generally are on a charge basis, sometimes a scratchy card
you can buy at booths, sometimes Airtel offers free wireless if you
SMS your mobile number and they return you the login details.  I tried
a Tatacom scratchy card at Mumbai airport and it worked well (the
login portal didn't like Windows Mobile's IE, so I used Pocket Opera
and it worked fine).  You don't see wireless hotspots in many other
places and I didn't find any free hotspots anywhere.

Almost all private telephones in homes, businesses and shops run over
wireless, via a type of CDMA.  The phones are generally made by LG.
You see a normal handset type phone, but there is no phone cable to
the property, just a panel antenna on the rooftop.  They run their
"landline", EFTPOS, and Internet all over this wireless loop.  You see
whole buildings, and Internet cafes running like this.  Here's what
the handsets look like
http://www.alibaba.com/catalog/11558349/Cdma_Lg_Branded_Set.html.  You
often see LG units that are like a small terminal with inputs for
EFTPOS, DATA and Phone and an antenna attachment.

On the non-wireless side, Fixed line ADSL costs 250rp ($8) per month
for 2mbit line with 1gb download per month.  10gb downloads is about
1800rp ($50).

Hope thats interesting to someone,

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