Safaricom Little Cabs is a rival for Uber. With presence now in 10 sub-Saharan African cities, Uber may be facing its first real contest from Safaricom.
Safaricom celebrated for the world’s most used mobile money platform, Mpesa is launching a taxi service in Kenya that will kit cars with free wifi, MPesa payment options, and connectivity on the Safaricom network.
“It is effectively a rival for Uber,” Collymore said in an interview with Reuters this week. “It is a local competitor which will be cheaper and better for the local community.” It will be called Little Cabs, according to the company’s chief executive Bob Collymore.
In reply to the newsflash, Samantha Allenberg, a spokesperson for Uber Africa told Quartz, “We do not focus on competitors but rather spend our time thinking about how we can better the experience for riders and driver-partners. However, Uber loves choice as it creates competition and a better experience for the consumers.”
Uber also introduced a cash option in Kenya that allow users to pay for rides with MPesa or cash.
Little Cabs’ success against Uber is not certain as Odipo Riaga, a tech blogger in Kenya perceives, Safaricom is not known to hang on to any venture for too long if it’s not profitable. The drive for Little Cabs, according to Collymore, is to find new revenue streams.
In contrast, Uber is revving up its presence on the continent by launching in two new cities just this month, Kampala in Uganda and Accra in Ghana.
In Kenya, a local taxi company Maramoja has shifted itself to be a luxury taxi hailing service with a fleet of Mercedes, BMWs, and Range Rovers.