At its core, Wifi Dabba an inexpensive wi-fi Internet community that is now to be had in maximum portions of Bengaluru. It introduced its products and services round the similar time as Reliance Jio, and whilst the 4G community promised customers knowledge at simply Rs. 50 in keeping with gigabyte, Wifi Dabba introduced 1GB at simply Rs. 20. Of direction, that isn’t a truthful comparability, as a result of Wifi Dabba is not a cell community – as an alternative it is a selection of Wi-Fi hotspots unfold across the town. A greater comparability may well be with broadband suppliers, and in Bengaluru, Airtel gives 100GB at Rs. 999 – or Rs. nine.99 in keeping with GB.
What makes Wifi Dabba fascinating despite the fact that, is that you’ll in fact pay simply Rs. 2 to get on-line – and use it far and wide town. “To get more and more people online, the price point is very critical,” says Shubhendu Sharma, co-founder and COO of Wifi Dabba. “It’s something from a case study that was done in the 90s by FMCGs, about sachet pricing. What they found was that the 100ml bottles were not selling, so they made these small Re. 1 sachets. You give small sachets, and you get people on the system. And we’re hoping that once people start using they’ll take the bigger packs also, but this pricing isn’t going away.”
This implies that you’ll simply stroll as much as a retailer, quit a Rs. 2 coin, and get a token to take you on-line for 24 hours you probably have a telephone that helps Wi-Fi. And you’ll then seamlessly connect with hotspots across the town, till your 100MB quota runs out. With a standard broadband connection, it’s a must to pay the total quantity without reference to what your utilization is; and naturally, you might be restricted to a unmarried location. Wifi Dabba falls into the space between stressed out broadband and wi-fi cell Internet, which is a beautiful fascinating proposition.
How does Wifi Dabba paintings?
Sharma began the corporate at the side of CEO Karan Lakshman, and the 2 started analysis and building for the speculation in July final yr. By September, they had been in a position to release, and as of late they’ve over 400 places in Bengaluru.
The “Dabbas” are hotspots which are allotted to small stores, equivalent to bakeries, tea stores, and so forth. They’re broadcasting a Wifi sign, and you’ll purchase a token at any of the malls, Sharma explains. “You connect to the open SSID, and then punch in your phone number – this is a one time requirement – to establish your identity,” he says. “Then you enter the eight digit code on the token and you’re online.”
“There is seamless connectivity in the background as long as your Wi-Fi is still on, just like you move from telecom tower A to tower B,” Sharma continues. “And if your balance runs out, you can also buy a renewal online and extend.”
The “secret sauce” of the corporate is its pricing, and that is the reason made imaginable through the that is getting used for the dabbas, the routers that the corporate is distributing.”We actually started off the whole thing by tinker with our Raspberry Pis,” Sharma says with a snicker. “We never thought that so many people would be signing up for prepaid Wi-Fi when Jio was launching, but it turns out that there’s a real need.”
Along the best way, the corporate has change into a digital cyber cafe – it has licenses from native ISPs, such because the neighbourhood cable corporate, to run a fibre line to the malls the place the dabbas are arrange. The stressed out spine guarantees that your community is each speedy and dependable, and the is one thing that the duo advanced themselves.
Why cannot native stores change into their very own Wifi Dabbas?
As discussed previous, that is the important thing to the operation. “If you look at commercial Wi-Fi hotspot infrastructure, there are providers from Cisco to Ruckus to others who are selling the hardware for around Rs. 30,000 or more,” says Sharma.
“We knew that it has to be brought down by a factor of 10 if not more,” he provides – and the dabbas do in fact price the corporate round Rs. four,000. “We got into this, getting into – not the chip level design – but assembling the components ourselves,” he explains. “The firmware that runs this has been custom written, the whole telecom infrastructure software, billing, it’s all done in-house.”
The shopkeepers see it as a worth upload, and a income supply, so they are in a position to spouse with Wifi Dabba and set up the and inventory tokens. It’s now not one thing that may be simply replicated both – a native shopkeeper cannot simply move and purchase a house router off the shelf and plug it into his broadband connection.
“The main difference is that we have redesigned the antennae,” explains Sharma. “So a residential router, the range is something like 150 feet, while our range is 150 meters [a little over three times as much]. And a residential router can handle maybe 10 to 15 connections, our hardware can support 100 without the quality of service going down.”
What comes subsequent for Wifi Dabba?
At provide, Wifi Dabba has over 400 places in Bengaluru, with 25 to 30 activations in keeping with day, Sharma says. It’s tracing round four,000 classes on a daily basis, with between 65 and 80 p.c of those being returning customers, he provides. The function at this time is to extend additional, and there are a few other ways during which this is going on.
“We are already doing pilots in Tier-III cities, across 100 locations in Maharashtra, UP, and Karnataka, where we’re able to collect usage patterns and figure out what people want,” says Sharma.
It seems that whilst some customers are guests – consumers who come to stores and so forth – Wifi Dabba may be tapping into a neighbourhood-level call for for sachet get entry to to the Internet. “Let’s say we install it at a bakery,” says Sharma. “Next to that there are lots of other shops, and even houses, and these guys are also becoming our users, paying for the Internet whenever they need it.”
Aside from that, Wifi Dabba may be increasing the achieve of native ISPs, laying cable in some spaces, despite the fact that Sharma did not percentage the element of what number of spaces it has had to try this. “It’s a big expense, but we are trying to bring the cost of last mile delivery as low as we can,” he says. “That’s the top priority for us.”