Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, a government owned telecommunication company, is continuously improving its mobile internet services in almost all small districts of India. In this post we will see a short network review and speed test result of BSNL’s 3G network.

Before we start reviewing the network, keep following things in mind:

  • I have used Samsung Galaxy Note 2, an Android powered smartphone capable of handling 2G (GSM 850/900/1800/1900), 3G (HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100) and 4G networks, for performing network speed tests. The mobile device was connected to my laptop using USB tethering feature of Android OS.
  • The test was performed at Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, India.
  • The strength and speed of the network may vary from one city/location to another. Don’t jump to any conclusion just by reading this review post. Try to use the network yourself and do some speed tests.

Activating 2G and 3G services on your mobile device

If you have recently purchased a brand new SIM card of BSNL, then your internet settings must already be saved in it. In case you are using a very old SIM card or have lost all internet settings, then you can receive your new settings just by following any one of following mentioned steps:

1. Contact customer care: Contact BSNL customer care using the same number for which you want to activate internet services. The customer care executive may ask you the brand and model number of your mobile device, so keep this information handy.

2. Manually enter Internet Settings: If you know how to manually configure Access Point Names (APN) on your mobile device, then try entering following details:

Note: The following values may change any time. Before entering following values you may also want to refer the manual of your mobile device.

  • Name: Cellonewest_net (Keep in mind that the value in this field may depend on your zone viz. East Zone, West Zone, North Zone and South Zone)
  • Access Point Name (APN): bsnlnet
  • Clear the Proxy, Port, Username, Password, Server, MMSC, MMS Proxy, MMS Port and Authentication type fields.
  • Leave MCC (404), MNC (58) and any other field to their default values.
  • Select/Enter default,supl as APN Type.
  • Select IPv4 for both APN protocol and APN roaming protocol.

Once you have successfully saved/received internet settings on your mobile device, go to the official website of BSNL and recharge your account with a 3G pack.

Important Notes:

Setting up your device

Once you have recharged your number with your preferred internet pack, you are now required to select a suitable network mode on your mobile device. You may want to refer to your device’s manual to see a list of all supported Network modes. For example, following are the network modes available in Note 2:

  • GSM only.
  • WCDMA/GSM (auto connect).
  • WCDMA only.

For using 2G internet on my mobile device, I have to select either GSM only or WCDMA/GSM (auto connect) as my network mode. And for using 3G internet,  I have to select either WCDMA/GSM (auto connect) or WCDMA only as my device’s network mode.

For me both WCDMA only and WCDMA/GSM (auto connect) modes worked perfectly with BSNL’s 3G network. However keep in mind that if you select WCDMA/GSM (auto connect) as your network mode, then your mobile may automatically switch you to 2G network if there’s NO 3G network available or 3G network’s signal strength is very low.

No matter what mobile OS you are using, you should try switching to some other mode, if you are unable to browse the internet using a particular network mode.

In Android 4.x based devices, you can access Network Mode by going to Settings >> More networks >> Mobile networks >> Network Mode. If you are using some other operating system, then you should try searching the web or refer its user manual.

Download and Upload Speed

The maximum download speed I was able to get on BSNL’s 3G Network was 1.55 Mbps, while I got 0.94 Mbps as my maximum upload speed.

bsnl 3g speed test

bsnl 3g speed test

bsnl 3g speed test

In all the three tests you will notice very high ping value because detected (based on allocated IP address by the network) my location somewhere near in New Delhi and automatically selected the test server at New Delhi also! When I tried to select Indore (nearest server to Chhindwara) as my test server, I got some weird test results (0.31 Mbps as download speed and 0.57 Mbps as upload speed). Feel free to check out following speed test video of BSNL’s 3G network:

Important Notes:

  • Speed and strength of 3G network also depends on the type of adapter you are using. If you are using a cheap mobile device, then you may get very slow download speed.
  • During peak hours (when many people are using the network at the same time for calling, texting, browsing etc.) you may get very slow download speed.
  • If you’re travelling in a very fast car or a train, then you may experience frequent disconnections.
  • Other service providers like Airtel, RelianceVodafone etc. may provide you with better download/upload speed, but BSNL is providing cheap and affordable 3G plans to everyone.