Tigo and Uber in unprecedented partnership in sub-Saharan Africa

20Mar 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Tigo and Uber in unprecedented partnership in sub-Saharan Africa

Tigo and Uber Tanzania have made history by entering into a unique partnership in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that allows the mobile company customers to use the latter’s app free of charge.

The Managing Director of Tigo Tanzania, Simon Karikari (2nd left), and the General Manager of Uber East Africa, Loic Amado, shake hands after announcing the partnership between the mobile company and Uber Tanzania in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Others are Uber Country Manager Alfred Msemo (right) and Tigo’s head of Mobile Financial Services, Hussein Sayed. Photo: Selemani Mpochi

The collaboration was announced yesterday in Dar es Salaam, which is the only city served by Uber in the country and where the mobile network operator (MNO) says it commands 60 per cent of the market.

Briefing journalists on the development, the Managing Director of Tigo Tanzania, Simon Karikari, said the zero rating of data under the partnership will greatly transform moving around the city. He said the arrangement is part of the company’s strategy to give its customers and other people reasons to use data for accessing services around the world.

The two companies said in a joint statement that from yesterday all Tigo customers will use the Uber app for free. According to them, the first of its kind partnership will be beneficial to existing Uber riders and driver-partners and encourage more riders to use the Uber app.

“Tigo is a robust brand in the Tanzanian market and we have a vested stake in introducing more efficient ways for customers to engage with the world around them. Uber is a strong addition to the growing range of products and services that our customers can enjoy in their daily lives,” Karikari said in the statement.

According to him, the partnership will in the future offer more than zero rating of data as part of Tigo’s aspiration to promote and enhance the digital lifestyles of people in the markets where it does business, including Tanzania. He said the long term partnership with Uber will offer a lot of other benefits, which will be accessible through the company’s data, mobile money and voice services as well as other digital solutions it offers.

The General Manger of Uber East Africa, Loic Amado, said the deal was yet another testimony of Uber’s commitment to invest and continue doing business in Tanzania. He said the partnership has come at the perfect time when the local economy is booming.

Amado added that the zero rating of data was the first for the company in the whole of SSA noting that similar innovations will be coming soon since they are part of their unique cooperation with Tigo. The head of Uber Tanzania, Alfred Msemo said they expect the new service to help the company lure more riders from the about 100,000-200,000 being handled in a month at the moment.

Uber Country Manager Msemo said the business has been of tremendous economic value since its inception about two years ago, including creating 3,000 direct jobs of which 20-30 per cent of the drivers are women. He said the company has grand plans to extend its outreach beyond Dar es Salaam and plans are already underway to launch Uber taxis in other parts of the country this year.

“We are excited about our partnership with Tigo in Tanzania which will enable all riders and driver-partners who have Tigo lines to use the Uber app on their mobile phones free of charge with no data costs. This partnership will encourage thousands of residents in Dar es Salaam who are Tigo customers to use the Uber app to move around Dar es Salaam,” Msemo noted in the press release.

Tigo is the commercial brand of Swedish company Millicom, a multinational firm championing digital lifestyle in 13 countries worldwide; with commercial operations in Africa and Latin America and corporate offices in Europe and the US. The company listed on the Swedish Stock Exchange has since 2007 invested over US$1,690 million (about 3.81trn/-) in Tigo Tanzania.

The local unit, which started operations in 1995, says it has a loyal 10 million registered subscribers, and directly and indirectly employs over 300,000 Tanzanians including, an extended network of customer service representatives, mobile money merchants, sales agents and distributors.