WiFi Dabba, a Bengaluru-based start-up backed by Y Combinator, is providing Internet at starting price of just Rs 2 for 100MB. 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 report in Economic Times (ET) quoted the co-founder of WiFi Dabba Shubhendu Sharma, who told the site, “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.”
Data war in India has become more intense, thanks to the entry of Reliance Jio. The Mukesh-Ambani led company gives 0.15GB data for one day at Rs 19, which is significantly lower than that provided by WiFi Dabba. However, it is important to note that Jio connection comes with free voice calls, SMS, and subscription of Jio’s suite of apps like MyJio, Jio Cinema, Jio Music, etc. WiFi Dabba recharge packs, on the other hand, only offer data.
WiFi Dabba has a couple of other data packs as well, which includes 500MB data for Rs 10 and 1GB data at Rs 20. Currently, WiFi Dabba services are only available in Bengaluru, with company planning to roll out its network of fiber optics across India soon. People who belong to lower income groups, first time Android smartphone users as well as school students form a majority of user base for WiFi Dabba.
“We’re a new kind of network. The high speed kind of network. We’re going to provide insanely cheap wifi 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 we to just do it,” reads WiFi Dabba’s website.
The 13-month-old start-up sells data as pre-paid tokens, which can be bough via tea stalls and local bakeries in the city. To use WiFi Dabba data, just log in with mobile number and enter the OTP sent on phone. Next, put in the key, and users will be connected to Internet. According to Sharma, rolling out prepaid packs make more sense given over 90 per cent of people in India use a prepaid connection.
WiFi Dabba claims to have set up close to 350 routers (or dabbas) in Bengaluru, and each of these routers provide data at a speed to 50 Mbps in a radius of 100-200 metres. 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 says that “20 of these dabbas can achieve what one tower of big companies can, at a fraction of the cost”. Coming to modus operandi, the company takes help of local operators to lay down cables across the city. While it typically takes about seven days for WiFi Dabba to roll out a new connection, the company is working to reduce the time period to three to fours days.