Best data plans in India

Before 4G plans were launched in India, telecom companies had different mobile data plans for many states. 1GB of data used to cost in 150 to 200 Rs range. In 2016, JIO had disrupted the Indian telecom industry by offering free 4G SIM cards to the users. After testing its network for a few months, JIO introduced the cheapest 4G data plans in the world. Companies such as Idea, Airtel, Vodafone and had no other option but to slash the prices of their prepaid plans. In 2018/ 2019, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea started crying foul and knocked on the doors of TRAI. TRAI didn’t pressurize JIO but to increase the ARPU and cover the expenses Reliance Group had incurred in establishing JIO, Reliance group increased the JIO tariff. Vodafone/Idea and Airtel followed the suit.

Although the current 4G plans are slightly expensive compared to the plans that were available in 2016, the tariffs are still cheap and affordable. Below, I have shared various mobile data plans launched by Reliance JIO, Airtel, and Vi (Vodafone and Idea):

Prepaid vs Postpaid data plans

In India, data plans are divided into two categories – Prepaid and postpaid. Prepaid plans are ideal for people who love to try different plans or expect the telecom service provider to launch cheaper/better plans. In prepaid plans, you will have to recharge your phone number to use the data/calling/SMS service. The plans come with a daily data usage limit. Postpaid plans don’t have a daily data usage limit. You’ll have to pay the bill (+ GST) at the end of the month instead of recharging your number. Postpaid plans are backed up by the “Data Rollover” service. Vi is the only telecom operator that offers this service to its prepaid users. Here are the current postpaid and prepaid plans of the 3 telecom operators:

Postpaid data plans for Airtel

Airtel postpaid plans start at 399 Rs. The base plan provides just 40GB of data and it supports unlimited voice calling. The next plan i.e. Rs 499 plan ships with 75GB of data and Amazon Prime + Hotstar VIP 1 year subscription. The 749, 999, and 1599 Rs plans offer 125GB, 150GB, Unlimited data, and 2/4/2 extra SIMs. Rs 1599 plan includes 200 free ISD minutes.

Jio postpaid plans

Jio has the most impressive postpaid plans among the 3 telecom operators. The Reliance owned company offers Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar VIP subscription to its Jio Postpaid Plus plan users. The Plus plans are priced at 399, 599, 799, 999, and 1499 respectively. They provide 75GB, 100GB, 150GB, 200GB and 300GB data. There’s also a Jio regular postpaid plan that costs just 199/month and offers 24GB of 4G data. An extra SIM is given only to the users of 599+ Rs postpaid plans. Unlike Airtel, JIO doesn’t offer a postpaid plan with unlimited data.

Vi postpaid plans

VI has 4 postpaid plans. Like Airtel and JIO, Vi’s postpaid base plan costs 399. This plan offers 40GB of data/month. The 499 Rs plan provides 75GB of data. The remaining two plans cost 699 and 1099 and offer unlimited data. The 1099 plan ships with Netflix + Prime Video subscription and a cheaper ISD tariff. Vi 499 and 699 plans come with a free ZEE5 Premium and Amazon Prime Video subscription. Each postpaid plan of Vi supports a single connection only.

Prepaid data plans for Airtel

Currently, Airtel offers a month of Amazon Prime Video mobile edition subscription to all users. Airtel has introduced 3 yearly data plans. The 2498 Rs plan provides 2GB of 4G data every day for 1 year and lets users make unlimited local calls. The plan’s validity is 365 days. The 1498 Rs plan offers 24GB of mobile data. It also ships with unlimited voice calls offer. The 2698 Rs plan is the upgraded version of the 2498 plan. It offers 2GB daily data and Disney + Hotstar VIP subscription for a year. Airtel’s data plans have a validity of 2 to 365 days. The 2 days plan comes with 200MB of data. The 28/56/84 days plan offers 1.5 to 3GB of data. The 1.5GB, 2GB, and 3GB Airtel data plan gives users free access to Airtel XStream Premium service, Free Hellotunes, Rs 100 cashback on FASTag. Some plans will give you free access to SHAW Academy courses for a year.

Prepaid data plans for Vi

Like Airtel, Vodafone + Idea i.e Vi offers many various services to the buyers of its data plans. The network service provider offers a special feature called “Data Rollover” to the users of its 699, 449, 299, 249, and 1197 Rs plans. What is Vi data rollover? If your plan offers 2GB of daily data and you use 1GB on weekdays, Vi will provide 2GB + 5GB (extra data) of data on weekends. Vi has 3 yearly plans – the 1499 Rs Vi plan provides 24GB of data and access to Vi’s entertainment services. The company’s 2399 Rs plan gives users 1.5 GB data/day for 365 days. The company’s 2595 INR plan provides 2GB of data and a ZEE5 premium subscription at no additional cost. Vi’s 299, 449, and 699 Rs prepaid plans offer 4GB of 4G data every day. Its 1197 INR plan ships with 1.5GB 4GB data. This pack’s validity of 180 days.

Prepaid data plans for JIO

The JIO 3GB/day 4g plans are priced at 401, 999, and 349 respectively. These plans have a validity of 28, 84, 28 days. The 401 plan ships with the 28 days Hotstar VIP subscription. Reliance JIO has a single 1GB/day 4G plan. This plan is priced at 149 Rs and its validity is 28 days. The company has introduced 6 2GB/day packs and 5 1.5/GB per day packs. JIO’s yearly plans cost 2599, 2399, and 2121. The 2121 pack’s validity is 336 days. The validity of the remaining 2 yearly plans is 365 days. The free Hotstar VIP subscription is offered to the buyers of the Rs 2599 plan. Each JIO data plans include free access to various JIO apps.

Data plans for dongle, wingle, and hotspots

JIO and Airtel had launched portable hotspots for users but the companies haven’t launched special hotspots only plans. The hotspots have a SIM card slot and a battery. You have to buy a SIM, recharge it with one of the postpaid or prepaid 4G data plans I’ve shared above, and insert the SIM In the hotspot. What about the dongle? Well, you can purchase a dongle from Amazon or Flipkart. Like hotspots, the 4G dongles have a SIM card slot.

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