India boasts of over 150 million users accessing internet using mobile phones, smart phones, PDAs, Tablets and laptops every day. In the past decade there has been an exponential growth in broadband internet connections with over 16.08 million subscribers.
A number of private internet providers have entered the market with their private broadband infrastructure, and have a range of options when it comes to both wired and wireless internet data access.
Options available now include wireless internet data cards, dongles, e-sticks, USB data card sticks, 2G/3G/4G/LTE mobile internet and high speed broadband internet plan.
Wireless data card or e-sticks provide subscribers the ability to get online anywhere in India, 24X7, without the need for a fixed internet connection.
This is especially helpful for working professionals, travelling salesmen, and other users who need internet access on the go. There are various internet data card providers in India with different quality of service, speed, cost and connectivity.
A smartphone with a prepaid or postpaid mobile connection with internet access as an add-on /value added is another option to access internet on the go.
3G mobile internet gives subscribers the ability to make video calls, play online games, check emails, surf internet, access online TV, update social network profiles and download files.
Leading mobile phone service providers offer 2G, 3G, LTE internet services through data cards. The main advantage of these data cards is portability, mobility and ability to recharge the data card online.
Leading players in the online data card recharge market include Tata Photon plus, MTS MBlaze and Reliance NetConnect. 3G mobile internet providers include Airtel, BSNL, Idea, and Aircel.
The advantage of using mobile phones for accessing internet on the go is that there is no need to use dongles or USB e-sticks, and the mobile can use used as a wireless internet hotspot.
There is an increasing trend towards using rich applications and video services on the go. This means that users are demanding more than the usual speeds that come with a typical 2 G connection.
Even though 3G providers are working towards laying down a strong strategy to provide broadband mobile, the cost of delivering it is quite high. Right now is is the CDMA players like Tata Photon plus, Reliance Netconnect and MTS MBlaze who are ruling the roost when it comes to high speed mobile Internet access through data cards.
When it comes to online recharge, pricing is probably the most crucial. Mobile internet providers are experimenting with innovative pricing models.
Online data card recharge tariffs have various pricing models such Pay as you go, Standard, Sachet, FlexiShield, Volume-based recharges and so no.
There is also cost-effective bundling with handsets and tariff plans with value added features like mobile TV, mobile gaming etc. Subscribers tend to prefer the e-sticks and dongles due to its ease of use.
Improvement in 3G mobile internet services has been taking place for a while, but for now users are still going for internet data cards as their first choice when it comes to mobile internet.