100 MB internet for Rs 2: This startup wants to beat Reliance Jio at its own game

Updated by Faizan Nabi on November 20, 2017

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100 MB internet for Rs 2: This startup wants to beat Reliance Jio at its own game

Name of the Company: Wifi Dabba Name of Founder (s): Shubhendu Sharma and Karam Lakshman City: Bengaluru Revenues: NA Headcount: 32 Industry: Internet Data Investors Details & Amount raised: NA Reliance changed the rules of the game by launching Jio; forcing the other telecom operators to either play by those rules or lose customers. But, this 13-month old startup from Bengaluru wants to change the way the entire game is played. "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," says Wifi Dabba, cofounder, Shubhendu Sharma. Reliance Jio to offer benefits up to Rs 2,599: All you need to know Reliance Jio has announced a slew of new offers. The benefits which amount up to Rs 2,599 are available on Rs 399 and above plans. These offers include both cashbacks and discounts. Here's a look at all that Jio users will get ​ Offer starts November 10 and will be valid till November 25 The all-new Reliance Jio cashback offers will start from November 10 and will be valid till November 25. Jio subscribers who purchase recharges of Rs 399 and above from MyJio or Jio website will get Rs 400 cashback All Jio subscribers who buy recharges worth Rs 399 and above from MyJio or Jio's official website will get Rs 400 cashback. This cashback will be in the form of eight vouchers of Rs 50 each. These vouchers can be used while buying recharge packs in the future. Cashbacks for both existing and new users paying via Paytm, MobiKwik, PhonePe, Amazon Pay and more The company is also offering cashbacks to both exiting and new users on recharges done via digital wallets. Existing users will get cashback of Rs 20, Rs 15, Rs 30, Rs 149 and Rs 135 on Amazon Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, MobiKwik and Axis Pay respectively. New users will get cashback of Rs 99, Rs 50, Rs 75, Rs 300, Rs 100 and Rs 50 on recharges made via Amazon Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, MobiKwik, Axis Pay and FreeCharge respectively. Rs 399 discount on AJio.com website Under the cashback offer, subscribers will also get a discount of Rs 399 on transactions worth Rs 1,500 and above. Rs 500 discount on purchases of Rs 1,999 and above on Reliancetrends' website Jio subscribers will also get discount of Rs 500 on all purchases of Rs 1,999 and above on Reliancetrends website. ​ Rs 1,000 discount on Yatra Jio is also offering Rs 1,000 discount on round trip domestic flights on travel website Yatra. Subscribers also get Rs 500 discount on one-way ticket on Yatra.com website. Offer valid only for Prime members The various cashback offers are available only for Prime users. This means all new users who want to avail the above benefits will have to take Jio Prime membership. Subscribers can redeem Jio cashback vouchers after November 15 Reliance Jio subscribers can redeem Jio cashback vouchers worth Rs 400 (Rs 50 x 8) from November 15 onwards. As for e-commerce vouchers, the same will be available from November 20th onwards. Reliance Jio to offer benefits up to Rs 2,599 on Rs 399 and above recharge: All you need to know​ Offer starts November 10 and will be valid till November 25Jio subscribers who purchase recharges of Rs 399 and above from MyJio or Jio website will get Rs 400 cashbackCashbacks for both existing and new users paying via Paytm, MobiKwik, PhonePe, Amazon Pay and moreRs 399 discount on AJio.com websiteRs 500 discount on purchases of Rs 1,999 and above on Reliancetrends' website​ Rs 1,000 discount on YatraOffer valid only for Prime membersSubscribers can redeem Jio cashback vouchers after November 15 The Y Combinator- backed startup is already selling data at a significantly low price. Check out their data packages: 100 MB for Rs 2; 500 MB for Rs 10; and 1 GB for Rs 20 - with a uniform validity of 24 hours. Comparatively, Jio provides 150 MB at Rs 19 to its pre-paid customers and 1.05 GB at Rs 52. This data is available in the form of pre-paid tokens sold by small shops like tea stalls and local bakeries in Bengaluru. "We do not ask our users to download any app. They just need to punch in their mobile numbers, fill in the OTP for verification, punch in the key and connect to the internet," explains Sharma. For anyone who has accessed Wifi in a hotel, the process is very similar, where you connect to the Wifi Dabba network and a browser page opens for you to key in the details. Wifi Dabba is a licensed ISP and it provides this data through small routers powered by fiber optics installed in these shops. Cheap data, Fast data The aim is to provide "super cheap" data at "super fast" speed to even those who have only Rs 2 to spare. The company does, however, provide the users with the option of choosing their own data limit and validity and pay for it online on their website. All these plans are available in a pre-paid format because "90% of data connections in India are pre-paid. Not many people want to spend Rs 300 up front and this way, users can buy data when they need," explains Sharma. Co-founders Shubhendu Sharma and Karam Lakshman The promise of fast data is kept by using fiber optics to provide bandwidth instead of depending on airwaves. Fiber optics provides for a more reliable connection as compared to cellular towers, the speed of which degrades depending on the distance. "We provide a speed of 50 Mbps in a radius of 100-200 metres," says Sharma. The company has already installed 350 routers or dabbas (as they like to call it) across the city of Bengaluru and Sharma claims the startup has over 1800 connection requests in-waiting. "While the cost of maintaining fibre is high and it also requires local modifications; the quality of service and reliability provided by a cable is any day better than airwaves," adds Sharma. The startup partners with local cable operators who do the physical work of laying down the cables. Sharma claims it takes the company 6-7 days to create a new connection. The startup is working towards getting this period down to 3-4 days. This, though, is only the beginning. The company has a detailed plan of getting into a price war with the big telcos and have fired the first salvo. The masterplan The aim is to be the preferred choice for internet data and the founders are not mincing their words. 'We're a new kind of network. The high-speed kind of network. We are going to provide insanely cheap wifi across Bangalore city. The government's not going to do it, the big companies should not be allowed to do it. It's up to you and we to just do it,' reads a statement on the website. Bangalore, Sharma informs, is only the start. The plan is to criss-cross the entire nation with its high grade fiber optics to ensure that the user gets reliable data connection. The modus operandi Doling out high speed data in pre-paid tokens Wifi Dabba has a diverse user profile. Sharma informs the startup currently enjoys the patronage of three main user groups - lower income peoples like masons, barbers and others who have already purchased their first Android systems, but can only spend a fraction of their daily wages on accessing data; school-going students who come to these wifi-enabled shops to download content; and local shopkeepers who are in the vicinity and require data. "Instead of installing big towers like big telecom companies do, we are going to put lakhs of these small wifi dabbas across the city to develop a huge network which would cover the entire city of Bangalore," says Sharma. Sharma says these wifi units are quicker and cheaper to build. "We spend Rs 4000 to roll out one dabba and 20 of these dabbas can achieve what one tower of big companies can, at a fraction of the cost," claims Sharma. In comparison, it takes telecom companies anywhere between Rs 1-2 crore to set up a cellular tower. Clearly, economies of scale is what the startup is counting on to provide such competitive pricing.


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