Idea 3G FAQs and other likely questions answered

Idea 3G – What an Idea Sirjee..!

Yes, with the launch of Idea 3G, I know that a lot of things would be running through your minds.
Not to worry as this article would help you clarify lot of such doubts on your mind.

Lets start this with knowing what exactly is 3G.
3G is the next generation communication technology that gives you the power of higher speeds to enjoy multimedia services , internet access, social networks, stream videos, live TV, video calls and more.

1> How to activate Idea 3G?

All you need to do is to just send a simple sms as “ACT3G” to 12345 (toll free) or alternatively you can also dial *147# (toll free) after which your current 2G plan will be stopped and you will be migrating automatically to 3G “Pay as you Go Plan” with charges as 10p/10kb.

2> Do I need to buy a separate SIM card to use 3G services ?

No, your existing SIM card will work absolutely fine.

3> Do I require a different mobile handset to get 3G ?

You need not have a separate handset only if your current handset supports 3G ( HSPA is preferred ). Else, you will have to buy the one that supports Idea 3G.

4>Is 3G either for Prepaid or Postpaid ?

Idea 3G is for both Prepaid and Postpaid users.

5> Where can I register complaints on 3G or ask service related queries?

You will have to call up the existing customer care on 12345. No dedicated helpline is currently available.

6>I moved to Idea recently from another operator, retaining my existing number. Can I opt for 3G?

Yes, absolutely. 3G is for all customers, old and new.

7> Is my cell phone 3G compatible ?

Just check it here with 2 simple steps. ( for Idea,  airtel and Vodafone).

8> Do I need to do some additional settings on my mobile phone ?

No additional settings as such are required for 3G.

To remain connected seamlessly, go to Network mode in your handset and select the option which provides both 3G & 2G connectivity. This option varies from Handset & Operating Systems.

Eg:In Nokia Symbian OS, the option is “Dual”. In Samsung Android OS, the option is “GSM/WCDMA”.

9> How to configure 3G on my phone ?

The configuring is simple and generally communicated by a message.

To get mobile internet settings (that will work for both 2G & 3G), sms SET to 54671 (toll free) & save the settings received OR call customer care on 12345.

10> Any additional settings are to be done for Video Calling ?

Video Calling is automatically activated once you opt for 3G. No additional step required for this.

11> Do I need a specific type of handset for making video calls or can I use my existing 3G compatible device ?

In order to make a video call, it is very necessary that your handset should have a camera on the front side of the phone facing you & phone screen, these phones normally have dual cameras & are popularly known by dual camera phones, if your handset already has a front top camera then you don’t need a new / separate phone & can make video calls.

12> Any idea on data usage when I make a video call ?

Video call does not use data channels on Idea 3G network but accesses voice channels therefore you will not be consuming any data usage but get billed according to the number of minutes spoken multiplied by the rate per minute.

13> How much does a Video call charge ?

The charges will be on a per minute basis.

14> Can I download, upload and share Videos with 3G?

Yes – but at speeds you never experinced before.

15> Are there any specific features to look for while buying a 3G phone?

Yes! Not all mobile handsets available in the market support the 3G network, and others offer sub-optimal performance.
There are two kinds of 3G phones available – HSPA and WCDMA enabled. Idea recommends using HSPA handsets for higher speeds and the best 3G experience.

16> What are these HSPA and WCDMA?

  • HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) protocol allows data connections up to 21 Mbps per user in good coverage and quality conditions.
  • WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) is a 3G technology version that allows data connections up to 384 kbps per user in good coverage and quality conditions.

17> What will happen if I am out of 3G coverage area?

You will continue to access 2G/2.5G services in areas where 3G coverage is absent but you have to ensure that your network setting on your phone is on dual mode.

18> Will I get 3G even while roaming?

Yes! You can access 3G services while roaming outside home network if you are in 3G covered area. (except Orissa)

19> What are the limits on data transfer each month?

This will be based on the 3G Data plan that you will activate.

20> Can I connect my handset to my PC or laptop to use 3G services & access internet as a fast speed ? (tethering)

Yes. In case you are using a 3G activated phone as a modem, then the device PC software will need the PC suite/software provided along with the phone during purchase.

21> Is it necessary for both caller and receiver to have a 3G phone & service to be to make & receive video calls ?

Yes !

22> Can I make a video call to other operator customer having 3G phone & is also connected on Idea 3G network ?


23> I am unable to make a video call despite of having the required handset & Vodafone 3G network is connected, what will I do ?

  • check if the person you are trying to call also has a video compatible 3G phone & even he is connected to the Vodafone 3G network
  • if the problem persists, call up the customer care for more help.

24> What is a 3G data card / USB dongles ?

3G Data cards / USB dongles are meant for accessing internet and emails at anytime and from anywhere. It provides Simple and instant internet access at mega fast speeds up to 21.1 Mbps. 3 Thus your Lap top becomes truly mobile.

25> Does 3G improve my voice quality automatically ?

No, the voice quality is the same as earlier.

26> What speeds can I expect and will I get consistent internet speeds in every 3G area?

  • Idea currently supports up to 21.1 Mbps over 2G speeds of 256 Kbps.
  • However, different handsets support different speeds, from 384 Kbps, 3.6 Mbps, 7.2 Mbps or 21.1 Mbps.
  • Speeds also depend on the 3G plan/recharge that you opt for.
  • As far as areas are concerned, Other factors that determine the speed at a particular location and time are the handset being used, site/application being used, network traffic and number of users on the service at that particular hour.

27> If I have taken a 3G pack, how will moving from 3G to 2G network affect my charges?

There are two situations that can happen here:

  • You have switched off the 3G network mode on your phone
  • You have moved to an area where there is no 3G coverage.

In both cases, your 3G packs will continue as is, your internet speeds will become 2G while your charges will continue as per your 3G pack.
If you are on a Video Calling pack, the rental deduction will continue, but no per call charge will be added as you will not be able to make any video calls.

28> Since Idea has license for 3G in 11 circles, will my services work in an area where Idea does not have 3G coverage?

Yes, 3G for any Idea user will work across the country, except in Orissa.

29> Can I deactivate 3G?

Yes, you can. To deactivate 3G, sms DEACT3G to 12345 ( toll free ). Do remember to dial *147# and change your internet plan also.

You can also turn off 3G for small periods of time on your phone.
To do so,
go to Settings > Network > select 2G network on handset.
The 3G packs that you have activated will remain; but only 2G speeds will be available. If you do not want your 3G pack, you may call customer care and deactivate the same.

Check out the Idea Plans & Tariffs here >>


82 Comments to Idea 3G FAQs and other likely questions answered

  1. Associated News Contents

    Thank you so much for providing such a informative article on this topic. I really appreciate your work, Please keep it up budy. God Bless you.

  2. Thanks Nikhil, for all the info.. Just 1 quick question though- I already have activated & started using Idea 3G on my Nokia 5800.. But somehow, I cannot find much difference between the EDGE & 3G speeds. Is there any site/application where I can verify the net speed I am getting from Idea 3G? does not work on a Symbian phone. 🙁
    Please let me know of you have any idea.

  3. Dear Nikhil,

    Recently I bought Palm Pre 2 (smart phone 2g and 3g) unlocked from usa. Idea people can not send me the settings. After sms I get the answer ‘The phone type you sent is not supported’ or ‘Your Phone is not provisionable’ also I get blank settings.

    can you advice

    • Hi anilda,

      Thats nice to know that u use Palm pre 2 from Verizon. Try manually updating the Internet settings. Just call up to their customer care and manually set the access point and others 🙂

      • Hi,
        I to have Palm Pixi Plus 3G handset unlocked GSM from AT&T i am facing internet connectivity i have manually entered the settings as below
        APN : internet
        Password : leave blank
        Username : leave blank
        This setting was provided by the operator accordingly i ahve entered the same but it is not connecting
        Can anybody help me with this issue

    • Hi Anilda,

      See, the basic problem is Palm Pre/Pre+/Pre2/Pixi/Pixi+ have dual band 3G. If yours is US version, it supports only 850/1900 bands and not the 2100MHz band. Europe and most parts of Asia Pacific (incl. India) use 2100 band.

      So, the sad news is you just cannot use 3G on your phones 🙁 Alternatively, if you have bought unlocked Palms from the UK (&France or Germany) you can use the 3G in India. Does this answer your question?

    • hi,

      did you manage to set up 3g on your idea/pre2?

      i have the same handset with idea 3g activated

      i have put internet as the APN and left everything else blank, but i see only “E”, not 3G. The speed is also EDGE, not 3G


  4. this site has good info.
    BTW, I have an unlocked Samsung Captivate I brought from US & was trying to get 3G activated from Idea Cellular. Ran into the same error ‘Your Phone is not provisionable’ trying to auto configure 3G.
    The Customer Care was not much help (their technical guys were not easily reachable). Did it manually by setting the APN to “internet”.

  5. i’m having idea dongle of 7.2Mpbs speed E1732 model..can i use 3G dongle in 2G..what is the speed i will get if i use WCDMA setting preferred and if i use GSM setting preferred how much speed i will get..same 2G speed?? and i heard that..if i bought and activate 3G once..after completing 3G plan..2G is always free in IDea..Is it so?? pl Clarify me :)Thank u..


      • And also i have a small doubt..we are recharging 2G for 98Rs and 3G for 605Rs in Idea.we are using same setting for 2G and 3G also in software setting in Idea netsetter as WDCMA Preferred setting and the 2GB data is recharged in the same internet account also.But how it identifies and grab the signal 2G and 3G technically??

  6. sorry 🙂 and another one more question.. 🙂 if i have a 3G balance of 200MB expire date is 11 feb 2012 for one month activation.can i recharge for 2G plan will create any prob for recharge??And also if i wanna 3G speed it will consume through 3G data account and if i wanna 2G Speed i has to consume through 2G data it possible.??how can do this..any setting is there? 🙂 🙂


  7. I face a big prob in my idea net setter..i recharged my net setter 99Rs. 2G internet pack plan..but it did not recharge.i asked the shop owner.he told me..for me recharge u go and ask customer care.i’m trying to call customer care.but this is my 1st month plan so balance is i cant i went to recharge shop and bought 30Rs card and i was trying to recharge..but i cant.what is this problem??i could not understand anything.even normal calling also i cant do in this sim????? that 99 Rs also gone..i think so…

    • Take a phone from one of ur friend or neighbor having idea and call up the customer care. they will have every detail of what has happened with ur money and recharge.
      Hopefully u should get the recharge amount on your net setter.

  8. I heard that if i unlock my Idea netsetter..speed will it so?if i unlock my netsetter i can use 2G and if i want 3G later. can i use the same dongle??it will provide same speed?

      • thats k.but i cannot use idea 2g 99 gprs pack.why is it so??if i can use that?no prob??mobile shop owner told that u cant use gprs pack in that netsetter..2G seperate pack is ther 400Rs something seperate tariff is there..that is also costly..what can i do??is there any solution for this?pl help me?

        • You can use only 3G on it and not 2G. It is made to work only for 3G and not 2G. 2G and GPRS both are same 🙂
          You have to crack/unlock it to even use 2G. Yes, 3G is very costly.
          Check out MTS. They have a unlimited plans.

          The best 3G plan is available in BSNL in India. Just visit your nearest center and know about it.

  9. faiz hahsmi

    what is the way to check the data usage for idea 3g? Is there any USSD code or by text? please reply soon.Thank you.

  10. Hi Nikhil,
    I bought an Idea 3G sim and activated for Rs. 51 (intended for 250 MB data for one month) When I use the Sim in my huawei data card (fully unlocked), it gets connected in EDGE mode only eventhough 3G coverage is available. Can a 3G sim be used only in mobile?

  11. Thx a lot for ur fast response. My data card supports 3G upto 7.2 Mbps d/l. I had surfed with my friend’s sim and speeds upto 2 Mbps were recieved. That’s why I purchased a 3G Sim. But in my case the Sim connects only in EDGE. What could be the problem?

  12. Sir, i just bought my Idea Id-208 device and its seems good and the problem with this device is that when i’m entering into the Android Market then i’m getting a message that “Your phone is not provisionable”. Call costumer care. And wat is the reson behind this message. And also i’m sending a message SET 54671 and also getting the same message “Your phone is not provisionable”. Pls help me sir.. Thanks

  13. I have activate idea 3g mobile tv yesterday, plan- 50/- per a channal and it now done but when i click to play channel there are two message shown- 1st is “Can’t play access point ‘mobile’ is missing” and 2nd is “Eror in preparing -39”. Please solve my problem, I have Nokia N82 which have setting of Idea fresh and Idea Internet.

  14. Sandeep Saini

    Dear Nikhil,

    I m From New Delhi.I have a Vodafone Data Card,model no. ZTE-K3570Z.I currently used this only with vodafone sim.
    Now i want to use idea sim on the same stick.

    plz know me the unlocking procedure as soon as possible.


  15. Pl help me..I face a big problem in my idea 3G netsetter..2 days before i recharged 945Rs for Unlimited 3G pack..but if i use network options WCDMA PREFREED OR WCDMA network is not showing…It’s showing u cant use before register this network..its coming like help me to solve this problem..

  16. Dear Nikhil
    I have purchased IDEA sim for use in usb-dongle (unlocked). I took their 1GB plan for 30 days…everything is ok except that even while in Delhi it shows as,”roaming” Hutch-Idea , even though it is a local number (Delhi) sim
    This plan is NOT FRC as they said on their website that non-IDEA dongle will not work with FRC plans…this is the other plan for 1 GB

    2….Will this (roaming) mean , I incur an additional expense

    So can you please update me on this problem and how to solve this

    s gopal

    • Hey Gopal,

      As Idea says, it may not support non-Idea dongles. Showing as Roaming in a local area is dangerous. It might be due to the unlocked dongle, the Idea sim may be feeling it to be roaming also or it can be wrong interpretation by the dongle.

      I suggest you to quickly check your dongle usage and amount if possible right now.
      Discuss the issue with customer care.

  17. Dear Nikhil

    Thx for the prompt reply…I have discussed the issue with the C Care and must say that the c care of Idea is pretty bad and they just shunt you from one number to another without answering or rectifying the query……will check again and if possible go visit their local store

    regds n thx again
    s gopal

  18. Please help in setting my Nokia Lumia 900 for Idea 3G. I had Nokia 6110 Navigator, in which I had 3g, but Lumia 900 is 4g, still its not working.

  19. Hi Guys any one used idea 8rs or 42rs pack? which gives 30min & 120min for 1 & 3 days. I’m not able to use that plans. any Ideas?
    Please share your experience with me.

  20. Rohan Menon

    hello u hav given lotz of info about idea 3g nd itzz was very useful info.. thnk u but i hav 1 question can i use idea 3g while im out of india bec recently i hav used vodafon 3g it was awesum even i hav use it out of india it was working well they gav me sum code to activate it so dat i can use it any wer in da world soo is der any thing like that wid idea 3g…
    thnk u n advanz 🙂

  21. I am using IDEA 3 G sim in Visiontek (7.2 Mbps HSUPA Modem). It connects but does not open any site. Is it any settings problem or the modem i m using is not supporting.

    • I think the settings are not properly configured Sushil. Just call up their call center and follow the exact steps they mention and you should be able to start working with your Internet within minutes.

  22. Dear Nikhil

    i have an unlocked airtel Huewai E-1731 dongle. my one 2G idea sim runs slow on Edge connectivity and another idea sim on WCDMA connectivity. why both sim run different on same pc.

  23. I have recharged my airtel sim with 2g plan and when am selecting the wcdma option ,my donngle e173Cs-1 is not showing any network. what i have to do now.plz help me.whether i have to rcharge with 3g plan or there is some problem with my datacard. thanks in the my airtel dongle is 3g.

  24. I am using Idea 3G NET setter & now moved from Nagpur to Mumbai. Now I am in Roaming. Please suggest what I should as i am continue to be here in Mumbai, in order minimize the the extra charges. Should suggest the options.

    Thanks in advance

  25. a cant getting speed in my 3g plan….its speed is only 20kbps p/s and its made HSPA network not WCDMA IDEA what can i do??????

    Answer Please……..

What's Your Thoughts On This?