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Best 3G data cards in India

Okay, hold up before you start up fuming and saying things like “We now have Jio 4G, Idea 4G and Airtel 4G available at affordable rates, why on earth you are talking about 3G data cards?” We agree with you on that. Yes, now we have 4G in India but it is not all pervasive. We still have areas across India where 4G connectivity especially of Jio, does not work that well. I do not mean just rural or remote areas, I can attest to the fact that Jio 4G connectivity in certain parts of my city at certain parts of the day is abysmal. How abysmal, in densely populated area called Bapuji Nagar which is also like the smartphone market of Bhubaneswar you cannot even fire up the SpeedTest app to check what speeds you are getting (it gets stuck with the “Network Connectivity Issues” error message).

A fair warning, in this post we shall be discussing only 3G only data cards. We know that you have data cards with both 3G and 4G connectivity but we shall be limiting our discussion to 3G only cards.

Your best bet, any decent data card from Huawei. I was using the Huawei E303C for four years before I switched to a JioFi. This one cost me around Rs.1800 but sadly it has been discontinued. You can now opt for the Huawei E3531s-1 which retails for around Rs. 1500. This one supports what is called soft Wi-Fi which creates a hotspot if you are connected to a laptop, just like Connectify. If you have more cash to shell out and want native Wi-Fi connectivity support you can go for the Huawei E8231 which retails for around Rs. 2000.

If you are bound by a lower budget and are still looking for something that works well you have the option of D-Link. You can have the D-Link DWP-157 which retails at just shy of Rs. 1000. This one is quite a sturdy performer and works well. If you want other brands to follow you can have this one from iBall and this one from Intex.

Now that we have said you can go for, we have to warn you what you not go for. In the market, especially retail stores you can find unlocked devices. For example Airtel provides its own 3G and 4G dongles which are usually locked to the network, which means you cannot use SIMs of any other service provider. Some stores take these locked data cards at unlock them by flashing the firmware. These retail at prices lower than the networked locked versions but beware they come with no warranty. This means if anything goes wrong you cannot approach the hardware manufacturer or the service provider. Stay away from those.

If you have used any 3G data cards in the past and would like to recommend one for our readers, you can list them in the comment section below.
Vikram S Bargah
Vikram S Bargah • Jan 9, 2018
Satya Swaroop Dash
Yes, now we have 4G in India but it is not all pervasive. We still have areas across India where 4G connectivity especially of Jio, does not work that well.
Faced same issue few days back where due to poor signal strength the network use to hop from 4g to 3g and back. hence decided to buy the Iball Airway (Model - 21.0MP-58). Have been using it for a month now & I am pretty much satisfied with it.

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