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Aadil Naik
Aadil Naik • Nov 20, 2017

1 GB for 20 rupees, 'Wifi Dabba' makes it cheaper than Jio

The Banglore based start-up company called Wifi Dabba has taken the data-selling business to a next level. Thinking out of the box, the company has already built a wide customer base in Bangalore by providing data at the cheapest rates in the market. This is not the only peculiarity of the company though; it does business through tea-stalls or 'dabbas' in the city to sell data via WiFi.

Wifi_dabba_in_action

Just one year back, the data prices skyrocketed with the introduction of 3G/4G services. Telecommunication companies were making huge amounts of money by providing these services. Then Reliance Jio appeared in the market and it changed everything. At first, Jio provided 1 GB 4G data per day for about three months without any cost to the customer. Later it revised the plans but still was the cheapest in the market. The other telcos had to follow the suit for their own survival. The arrival of Wifi Dabba, as the start-up wants to call itself, is definitely a game changer in this business. It is providing a new competition, although locally, to the telcos.

Wifi Dabba offers data starting from 100 MB for just 2 rupees. Hence anyone who can spear 2 rupees can use the Wifi Dabba data services. It offers data in the form of pre-paid tokens sold by small shops like tea stalls and local bakeries in Bangalore. The customers need not to download an app on their devices. They can simply connect to the wifi and use their token code as the password.

How does Wifi Dabba operate?
Wifi Dabba is a licensed Internet Service Provider and it provides data through small routers, called as "dabba" by the company. These routers are powered by optic fiber cables instead of airwaves. This makes the system more reliable. To get a dabba installed, the company partners with local cable operators who lay down the fiber cables. It takes about 7 days to get the connection installed and functional which the company is planning to reduce to 3-4 days. It has already installed about 350 of these routers across the city and has received some 1800 requests for new connections.

Wifi_Dabba_coverage
Bangalore coverage map of Wifi Dabba
The company mainly targets two user groups:
  • the lower income people like masons, barbers and others who have purchased their very first Android phones but don't want to spend Rs 300 or more just to get internet.
  • the school going children who need occasional data access to download study material, etc.
The company doesn't want to confine itself within Bangalore. They want to spread their network to other cities and aim to cover the whole country with their high-grade fiber optic mesh.

Source: Wifi Dabba
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Nov 20, 2017
This is interesting and I'm already curious about their business plan. Obviously, these guys are sourcing the Internet from an existing provider. Perhaps the deal they're offering is that you won't end up consuming all 100MBs that you get for Rs. 2 or full 1 GB that you get for Rs. 20. Or maybe it's just the numbers game. Yet, it's very interesting.

I'm wondering if they offer some commission to the vendor. If not, they could be promising that the buyer of WiFi will stay in the vicinity of the seller and is likely to buy more.

CEans from Bangalore - could you please let us know what average download / streaming speeds do you get from WiFiDabba? I hope they aren't selling the old 2G/3G technology under the Fast WiFi wrapper.
Aadil Naik
Aadil Naik • Nov 20, 2017
@Kaustubh Katdare, Yes it may be true that the speeds are not great enough. Unless we check it on-site, nothing can be said for sure!
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Nov 20, 2017
Aadil Fayaz Naik
@Kaustubh Katdare, Yes it may be true that the speeds are not great enough. Unless we check it on-site, nothing can be said for sure!
They seem to have partnered with multiple Broadband service providers to create their network. They ask the broadband service provider to lay the cable to the end-point and it takes about 6-7 days to get it ready.

ET article says that they're offering 50Mbps speeds; which I doubt is true. Of course, I'm faraway from Bangalore and hence, need someone from Bangalore to help us with actual speeds.

I really wonder how are the founders planning to get into pricing war with the existing service providers. Can someone break down the pricing? I'm tempted to tag @Prasad Ajinkya .
Abhishek Rawal
Abhishek Rawal • Nov 22, 2017
Interesting. I am kinda curious to know about the vendors behind the scene who have provided AAA - NAS/WAG/WLC to them.

I would love to ask them multiple questions if we can possibly bring them in Founder's circuit.
Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Nov 22, 2017
Abhishek Rawal
I would love to ask them multiple questions if we can possibly bring them on Founder's circuit.
That's already work in progress. You can send the questions to @Radhika We can see if they can be accommodated.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Nov 25, 2017
Okay, so while we'll have an official word from the founders of WiFi Dabba, I figured that they might have written some custom software to integrate advertisements to subsidise the costs to the end consumer. Perhaps, they won't show ads in the first few weeks of the operations; but once people are used to it; expect ads!

Maybe it will have a 'connect' screen with ad and then show ads in between.
Aadil Naik
Aadil Naik • Nov 25, 2017
Kaustubh Katdare
Okay, so while we'll have an official word from the founders of WiFi Dabba, I figured that they might have written some custom software to integrate advertisements to subsidise the costs to the end consumer. Perhaps, they won't show ads in the first few weeks of the operations; but once people are used to it; expect ads!

Maybe it will have a 'connect' screen with ad and then show ads in between.
That is a well planned trick then!
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Jun 7, 2018

Curious to know if there's any progress on this project. Reliance Jio seems to be making life harder for a lot of new entrants. 

This is something out of box thing to start a new business.

Wonderful..
 Mumbaikar waiting for WiFiBabba in Mumbai Location

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