Safaricom, Kenya’s giant telecommunication has announced plans to venture into the local taxi business through a module similar to Uber, which it plans to compete with.
According to Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore they have partnered with a Nairobi-based software developer, Craft Silicon, and will in the next three weeks launch the app dubbed Littlecabs in the market.
“It is effectively a rival for Uber,” he said. “It is a local competitor which will be cheaper and better for the local community.”
Safaricom will help develop the application, offer the network connectivity, put Wi-Fi in vehicles that will be signed up on Littlecabs, and use its mobile-phone based financial service M-Pesa to process payments.
Collymore said that the new venture is a way of seeking new sources of revenue and maintained Safaricom remains focused on its core businesses of offering calls, texts, Internet access and M-pesa.
Uber, a tech based American taxi service made an entry into the Kenyan market in January 2015 and its popularity has totally disrupted the survival of traditional taxis, which have been fighting Uber by hook and crook.
The company also announced that Nairobi is now Uber’s fastest growing places internationally.
HOW UBER WORKS
Users get a taxi by using a downloaded application that gives them a ride on demand depending on their direction.
Uber’s pricing is hinged on a metering gauge that charges users for every kilometre covered – meaning every trip is openly priced, hence fairer compared to traditional taxis who always overcharge especially depending with the time of the day.
Uber’s main competitors in the Kenyan market so far has been Easy Taxi Kenya, the local franchise of a Brazil-based firm targeting emerging markets, and Maramoja, a Nairobi-based company.