Today Uber has reduced its price structure for riders around Kampala, a move seen as an incentive at attracting more riders and also increase the stipend for its drivers. However, that wasn’t all, the ride hailing service also hinted about a big partnership with MTN Uganda for data concessions and the possibility of introducing mobile payments over the latter’s Mobile Money platform.
MTN’s Mobile Money is the market leader when it comes to numbers and so Uber considering a mutually beneficial partnership with them straight away makes business sense. It will also be a positive welcome since many people have become accustomed to Mobile Money that it is even now used for merchant payments.
The world is quickly moving towards a cashless economy with many opting not to carry physical money given the insecurity that comes with it. Once implemented, Uber riders will only have to initiate payments on their mobile phones to complete Uber transactions that as of now been limited to cash and card payments.
Adding the mobile money option will make it the third payment gateway for the service in Uganda. East Africa ranks first when it comes to Mobile Money usage at a global scale if you factor in the precedent sent by Safaricom’s M-Pesa.
Even here in Uganda, Mobile Money has more registered accounts than conventional traditional banks that are grappling to respond with their own solutions to mobile Money.
While we welcome this, it would work best if they struck a similar partnership with Airtel too since it also has the numbers to complement MTN’s Mobile Money and the two make up the largest bulk of the mobile money fold.
Uber has also partnered with Africell and Smile Telecom to provide 4G smartphones and concessional pricing on data and voice packages for the drivers. Another partnership in the pipeline is with Stanbic Bank, with the banking giant considering a vehicle asset financing for driver driver-partnerships and rolling out a corporate and retail debit card solution for riders to pay for Uber rides under the Uber for Business Solution.