Meet Wi-fi Dabba, a Bengaluru-based start-up, backed by Y Combinator, providing Internet at a starting price of just Rs.2 for 100MB. Also, the data-only recharge packs have a validity of 24 hours and the licensed ISP provides data via small routers powered by Fiber optics.
A recent report, which has quoted the co-founder of Wi-Fi of Dabba Shubhendu Sharma, read that, “Data cost in India is very high at present. We believe that even after the launch of Jio there is a lot of room for price wars to happen and we are certain that we can drop the prices even further”.
No points for guessing but the data war in India has become more intense, thanks to the entry of Reliance Jio. Also, the Mukesh-Ambani led company gives 0.15GB data for one day at Rs 19, which is significantly lower than that provided by Wi-Fi Dabba.
Coming back, Wi-Fi Dabba also has a couple of other data packs, including 500MB data for Rs 10 and 1GB data at Rs 20. Currently, Wi-Fi Dabba services are only available in Bengaluru, with the company planning to roll out its network of fiber optics across India soon. This service has been found extremely effective by people who belong to lower income groups, first-time Android smartphone users as well as school students who form a majority of the user base for Wi-Fi Dabba.
The company’s network website read that, “We’re a new kind of network. The high-speed kind of network. We’re going to provide insanely cheap Wi-Fi across Bangalore city. The government’s not gonna do it, the big companies shouldn’t be allowed to do it. It’s up to you and us to just do it”.
This 13-month-old start-up sells data as pre-paid tokens, which can be bought via tea stalls and local bakeries in the city. For the usage of WiFi Dabba data, users just need to log in with mobile number and enter the OTP sent on the phone. Next, inserting in the key, users would be connected to the Internet. According to Sharma, rolling out prepaid packs make more sense given the fact that almost 90 percent of people in India use a prepaid connection.
Wi-Fi Dabba claims to have set up close to 350 routers (or dabbas) in Bengaluru, with each of these routers providing data at a speed of 50 Mbps in a radius of 100-200 meters. Further, the company is said to have more than 1800 connection requests in-waiting.
The cost of installation of each of these routers is close to Rs 4,000 and Sharma added that “20 of these dabbas can achieve what one tower of big companies can, at a fraction of the cost”. Further, the company takes help of local operators to lay down cables across the city. While it typically takes about seven days for Wi-Fi Dabba to roll out a new connection, the company is working hard to reduce the time period to three to fours days.