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A ‘Starbucks’ in Rural Karnataka – Tea Seller Offers Free Internet with a Cup of Chai worth Rs 5!

Syed Khadar Basha, a 23-year-old tea vendor in Siruguppa town of Ballari district in Karnataka, came up with an interesting idea to attract customers. He purchased an Internet router with an unlimited data plan this September and is offering free data usage for 30 minutes to customers who buy a cup of tea worth Rs. 5. And it’s working. A long queue of customers is seen outside his shop all throughout the day and his sales have increased by four times since then.

All a customer has to do is buy a cup of tea, log in, and access the Internet. But according to Khadar’s policy, one customer can log in only once in a day. From 100 cups daily before he launched this scheme, he is now selling 400 cups.


Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr

Most of his customers are college students from remote villages. While having conversations with then, the tea-seller found out that they get about Rs. 100 as pocket money each, and it is not enough to buy data pack. This was when he came up with the idea of helping then in a way that they will be able to use the Internet and he will generate revenues as well.

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He purchased the router and other accessories for Rs, 3,000 and spends Rs. 1,700 each month on data pack. With the speed of one to two MBps, he is able to connect 10 to 15 customers at one time. Having studied only till Class 10, Khadar is happy to help other students.

“Offering free data in cities like Bengaluru may not be a big thing especially when we have free WiFi zones and also a few mobile operators offering free data. But, when we think of a remote town like Siruguppa, internet penetration is pretty low. These days, many people are buying smartphones as they are getting addicted to social media or they want to access their mails,” he told The Times of India.

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