Idea Cellular follows Airtel, cuts India 3G tariffs

Indian telco slashes 3G prices by 70 percent, becoming second company in a week to do so, in bid to attract new customers, especially youths, and drive usage.

Idea Cellular has slashed prices of its 3G services by up to 70 percent in India to attract new customers and drive usage, following a similar move last week by market leader Bharti Airtel, according to local reports.

The company said it cut the tariffs to help make its services more accessible to all customer segments, said the The Economic Times in a report Tuesday.

Under the new plan, pre-paid and post-paid customers will pay 3 paise (US$0.0005) for 10 kilobytes of data, down from earlier levels of 10 paise (US$0.0018), it said.

To cater to different customers, Idea also came up with a new pricing model through sachet packs, regular packs and unlimited packs, the report noted. The cheapest of these would cost 10 rupees (US$0.18) for 30 minutes of 3G Internet access.

Idea's 3G services are offered in 3,207 towns across the country and the telco has 2.7 million active users with an average usage of 330 megabytes per month.

The move by Idea comes within a week of a surprise cut in tariffs by Bharti Airtel by up to 70 percent. 3G services were introduced by private telcos in India in 2010but had failed to gain traction because of slow speeds and patchy connectivity.