Gigato app launched in India to provide free data to prepaid mobile users! Is it a game changer or another marketing gimmick?

By July 31st, 2015 AT 12:26 PM

On Thursday, Silicon Valley-based mobile startup Mavin, Inc. launched Gigato – a new data-sponsoring app that reimburses users for data spent. Initially available only for India, Gigato reimburses users for data used on partner apps and offers some data for free. Companies can reward users with free data packs for using their apps and earn downloads, similar to cash-back programs. For example,  furniture e-retailer Pepperfy offers “use 10MB, earn 12MB.” There is music streaming app Saavn with “use 30MB, earn 40MB,” and so on.

Once you pick an offer, Gigato will track your data usage on that app. As soon as you hit the mark set in the offer, you will get a message from your operator saying however-much reward data has been credited to your account. The data reimbursed via Gigato is unrestricted and can be used on any app or website. Launch partners include OLX, Saavn, Jabong, TrulyMadly, Dainik Jagran, Voxer, Navbharat Times, and Babajob. Gigato is available for prepaid customers on Android devices via the Google Play Store and open to all app publishers in India.
Gigato   Free Mobile Data   Android Apps on Google Play

Mavin, the startup behind Gigato, is made up of former Google and Microsoft “engineers, creative systems thinkers, obsessed designers and product ninjas who believe that the mobile internet is not just a great business platform, but a force for change in society.” According to Mavin co-founder Raina Kumra, the team decided to target prepaid customers in India “because they have to pay high prices for mobile data… Our aim is to create a mobile Internet for these users where they no longer have to ration data.” Mavin’s other co-founder Shailesh Nalawadi added, “Gigato is focused on bringing down the cost of data in emerging markets such as India by allowing app developers to sponsor the data for their end users.” If the app is successful in India, Mavin plans to roll out the data-back app to other emerging markets.

TT perspective:

On taking a closer look at the app and how it functions, we did not find it very different from Airtel Zero platform which had the entire online tech community up in arms against it on the grounds of preferential treatment towards certain apps that partnered on the platform on the grounds of breaching of ‘Net neutrality’. What Gigato does is reimbursal of the data you use on a partner app so basically you use ‘x’ amount of mobile data on a partner app, Gigato replaces that much data or sometimes slightly more into your prepaid account, while what Airtel zero did was to not charge the user at all for that ‘x’ amount of data that they used on a partner app. So in essence both of these are different approaches towards the same goal. How the Indian market accepts this strategy, only time will tell.

Let us know your views and opinions on this app through your comments below.

Esmail is our very own in-house spectrum specialist. He is passionate about Telecom, DTH and OTT video streaming apps. When not writing an article, you can find him binge watching shows on Netflix while sipping on a cup of coffee.

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Gigato is just a crap. They decide which apps one should use, most of them are shopping related apps. Its unlikely one would browse 20-30 shopping apps. It’s simply not practical and doesn’t make sense to browse these no of apps just to get paid for data consumption. We, the people of India, typically use Internet for retrieving useful information, browse social media sites (FB, WhatsApp) and other useful means. Yes, we do use shopping apps but that too very limited no of times, esp. only when we’ve to buy something new; not on daily basis as this app expects.… Read more »


Dear Vikas, I’m a co-founder of Mavin and Gigato. Allow me to correct a few of your misperceptions. We do not decide what apps a user uses, a user may use any app they like. If they happen to have Gigato installed they will automatically earn data credits on apps that are running promotions – even if they do not come to our platform first. Any android app or startup can join gigato by sending us their Android package name and they will find our rates much better priced than any CPI or CPE network out there. Users of India’s… Read more »


Dear Tarun and Esmail, Here are some key differences of why we are not anything like an Airtel Zero. – Only operators can zero rate. We are not an operator. We are a startup, working across all operators for all apps. – We function like a data dashboard and reimbursement platform. Airtel Zero did not function this way. It instead white listed certain packets which is anti-net neutrality. – Our platform was designed to be net neutral from the start. For you to liken our product to Airtel Zero shows you did not understand some of the fundamental differences. Please… Read more »


Gigato is acting as a middleman between operators and the Content Providers (CPs). What noemally happens in 0 rating is that the CP’s pay the ISP say ‘q’ per byte. Here in this case the CP pays you q1 and you pay q2 to the ISP. I am not able to see how this is different from zero rating. I am actually working on a paper which proves the fallacies of such a model and are going to send our recommendations to TRAI.

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