Uber has partnered with SabRentKaro, a renting marketplace, which let drivers rent out smartphones which can be owned after a certain period if the drivers desired to own them, reports Economic Times. It seems that this partnership is live only for Hyderabad, Bangalore and Visakhapatnam where 2,000 Uber drivers have already gotten phones on rent in the last 3 months.
Drivers can apparently rent smartphones for Rs 300-500 per week for 6 months after which they’re free to keep the phone. We’ve written to the company for more details and will update this if we hear from them. SabRentKaro currently operates in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vizag.
Note that in September last year, Ola and Uber had started charging their drivers Rs 300 a week as phone, mobile internet and other services charges. Ola had sent a message to its drivers stating that it would charge Rs 300 per week for the next 6 months and Rs 75 per week post 6 months as a ‘Platform Management Fee.’ Uber charged similar, although the company provided drivers the option to use their own phones to avoid having to pay the Rs 300 fee.
When MediaNama spoke with multiple drivers across Pune, Bangalore and Delhi, they said that they preferred using their personal phones on the Uber platform because they had the mobility to make data recharges of the amounts they wanted. They said that this was still cheaper than paying Rs 300 a week and that having their own phone also meant they didn’t need to return it to the company. The drivers also said that in case they drove with Ola, Ola had provided their own phones which needed to be returned (drivers didn’t particularly care to return the phones, we imagine this is an additional cost for Ola which can be subsidised by renting smartphones like Uber’s doing with SabRentKaro.)
Recent Uber developments:
Last week, Uber launched operations in Lucknow, its first in Uttar Pradesh and its 29th city in India. India is Uber’s largest geographic market outside the US and China. The company claims to have 400,000 drivers on the platform in India. Last month, the company revised its fares for Pune and Delhi NCR where trips longer than 15 kms would cost more to “justify partner economics.”
In September, we reported that Uber drivers would get incentives for every extra ride they completed over the predetermined number of rides they had signed up for. In the same month, the company said that it would provide a platform called UberSHAAN for people who owned one or multiple cars to find drivers for them to join the Uber platform. This was done through Xchange Leasing, the Mumbai-based car leasing firm in which Uber invested at least Rs 243 crore this year. Uber aims to have 1 million drivers in India by 2018.