BSNL 3G trick to get Unlimited 3G data

// October 18th, 2011 // Old

I have been one of the early adopters of 3G revolution which, in India, came through BSNL 3G. BSNL 3G was the only  3G internet connection available at that time. I had opted for Rs.4200 , 6 month unlimited 3g plan of BSNL. All was good till August 2011, when my 6 month validity came to an end. Things had changed a lot in these 6 months… Other private players had entered into market, but all of them had a higher tariff and no unlimited plan. Seeing this BSNL had also taken off the Rs.4200 unlimited plan.

Considering my travel, business presentations, work from office as well as home I needed a wireless/portable internet connection. My usage goes to minimum of 4-5Gb per day, so limited plans are out of the question. Tried my luck with Docomo 3g, MTS Blaze, Vodafone 3G (connecting to airtel 3g network) but nothing was satisfactory. No one really had a truly unlimited 3g without any fair usage policy. Also they would take years to match up the 3g coverage what BSNL has currently (I did face difficulties with coverage within the city limits itself).

BSNL Ipad 3g

Finally, deciding to go back to BSNL 3g after 2 months of struggling, I visited BSNL website to check their tariff plans. I almost finalized to go with their Rs.3000 3g data plan with 10gb data per month. But all of a sudden the iPad Data plan option on their home page caught my attention. Once I went into that page was amazed to see a unlimited data plans for Apple iPad. My engineering brain started thinking if the sim can connect to 3g network on iPad, why can’t  it connect to 3g network on regular data card. I googled around for information to use the BSNL micro sim with regular data card, and discovered that many other users were able to use it with regular 3G usb dongles. Considering the factor that the iPad micro sim is going to cost only Rs.100, I decided to give it a try.

I went to the BSNL customer service center and asked for iPad sim. They asked me to fill up the sim card registration form and provide xerox copies of the documents. Although the actual price of sim was Rs.100, I was demanded to make an additional recharge of Rs.599 or Rs.999 , which I could not avoid. This is not mandatory actually, but it is a way for BSNL to make money by forcing the customers to recharge. If I had a iPad with me I would have argued with them, but considering the fact that I needed the Sim  to use on regular data card, I just listened to them. They did ask about my iPad, but I just managed by saying I have not brought it to the service center.

BSNL micro SIM

Other users who are trying to get 3g micro sim, you need to be smart enough to manage the Customer Service Center staff without an iPad. I would not recommend to tell you don’t have an iPad, you can just tell that you have ordered it and its in transition, iPad is with your brother sister at some other location etc. Just make up a genuine sounding reason.

UMG 1831 Micro SIM

After getting the micro sim, I was eager to test it out on my Huwei UMG1831 USB Dongle. To my great relief, the sim was detected automatically. I configured the mobile partner software with the BSNL 3G settings with plan bsnlnet and clicked connect. It connected without any problem. I checked the speed with and found that the speed was quite similar to the speeds I used to get on regular BSNL 3G.

BSNL 3g Speed

Tip for using micro sim:
Micro sim is just like any regular sim in functionality, but the only difference is the size. It will work on any USB dongle or mobile(I tried it on my xperia mini pro). You should just take some extra care when inserting it into the device which is has a sim card slot which is bigger than the size of the micro sim. The core part of the sim (the golden color part) has to be in proper contact  the sim card reader of the device.

Micro SIM compared with Regular SIM

Additional Tip: The micro sim card by default will be attached to a plastic card which usually comes with all sim cards. You can let the micro sim card be attached to it, and cut the plastic material to a shape of a regular sim card, so that you can fit it as if it is a regular sim.

BSNL iPad 3G Data Plans
Prepaid Plan :

Unlimited Monthly Plan
Limited Monthly Plan
Daily Plan
MRP of Recharge Vouchers(RCV) in Rs.^
Free Data Usage
6 GB
30 Days
30 Days
1 Day
Data Usage Charges Beyond Free Usage
Starter Pack in Rs.100^. Free usage with activation 1GB/month for six months.
^MRP is inclusive of Service Tax @10.30%.

Postpaid Plan :

Unlimited Monthly Plan
Activation Charges in Rs. *
FMC in Rs. *
Free Data Usage
30 Days

*Service Tax as applicable extra.

I’m sharing this information based on my experience. Let me know if this worked for you too, so that your comment will help other users like my article helped you to make a choice. I have got a good speed with BSNL iPad 3g sim card, you can comment and let me know the speed you got.


  1. Uday says:

    wahwah guru kya baat hai 

  2. Sonu_pd9 says:

    Perfect !! 🙂 

    1. Vishal says:

      How do u recharge as i bot the sim 6 months ago and now the free 1GB is not available anymore,

  3. ganesh5557 says:

    good article…:)

  4. Deepak Chander says:

    But I do not think this will work anymore. See this news 🙁 9GB is the maximum you get for Rs.1000

    1. Anonymous says:

      It bad to hear it.

      Anyways I have 1gb/month for next 6 months. The new tariff is applicable from november, il go and recharge 999 on october last day, to get at least another month unlimited data.

      1. Vishlovewhat says:

        sanddep did u recharge of 999 ipad 3g is it working? please let me know

        1. Anonymous says:

          I had recharged at the end of october and it worked. But now bsnl seems to have stopped the plan – check

  5. V-2jacka says:

    when I take this ipad SIM for BSNL 3G ….hw long will take to activate………….
    do we get any message on the cellphone (other number) which they might ask…….hw did it work for you…….was it activated on the same day……………….
    Please mail me the bsnl setting for the same……….
    one more question : say if take 599 plan …………….it is unlimited and can we use any USB 3g modem dongle………………….

    [email protected]

  6. Rakesh Kumar says:

    Sill is it working……..

    1. Hi Rakesh,

      BSNL no more offers unlimited plan for Ipad SIMs also.