A few weeks back, Uber announced it was exiting its operations in China by selling them to its main rival Didi Chuaxing. The strategic move by Uber was to allow the company focus on fast growing markets in other Asian countries such as India. In India, Uber ranks second behind Ola cabs and has previously stated in 2015 that the company was planning to pump as much as $1 Billion to gain market leadership. Uber has several services in the populous nation including include UberAuto, UberGo, UberX, and UberBlack in over 22 cities.
In a bid to attract more users to the platform, Uber announced a while back it will allow users to pay for their rides in cash, making the city of Hyderabad the first to accept cash for the service. The company has today announced the launch of a new features that allows users to dial an Uber. The feature works from the mobile web, targeting users who do not have the App installed.
In a blogpost introducing the new feature, Uber says that users just need to navigate to dial.uber.com on their mobile phone upon which they are asked to enter their mobile number to login or sign-up to the service. In a single tap, the user can then view the pricing information for the ride besides being able to get a fare estimate upon which they can request the ride. The request then connects the user with the driver over a call, which allows them to coordinate pick up for the ride. Once the trip gets completed, the rider can the pay for it in cash.
The service targets Uber’s low cost option in India, UberGo and offers an important introductory point for users in rural India to the App. It will also allow users with feature phones or devices with low storage space get to use the service. My bet is that the service might find its way to Nairobi next, to deal with the plans by Little Cab to allow users hail cab via USSD.