FIRST they charmed us with cheaper rides, bottled water and breath mints.
Now Uber is about to take things to the next level with what’s become the world’s most sought-after amenity: Wi-Fi.
The ride-sharing company has signed a deal with Optus that brings free Wi-Fi to UberX vehicles across Melbourne and Sydney.
An initial trial will be rolled out in 100 cars, with connectivity for up to 10 devices, meaning all passengers will be able to use the service at the same time.
Uber drivers will also get discounted Optus mobile and data plans, including a specially created $40 BYO plan with unlimited calls and texts, 300 minutes of international calls and 10GB of data.
Optus local markets director Steve Long said the partnership aimed to “create a truly connected experience for drivers and riders”.
“Uber has fundamentally changed the way we think about getting from point A to point B,” Mr Long said.
“Recognising that online access is a critical component of the Uber experience, we are offering exclusive offers to both drivers and passengers.”
Uber’s head of business ANZ Brent Annells said the partnership would yield significant benefits for both companies.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Optus to open up the benefits of our platforms to more Australians,” Mr Annells said.
“Optus has truly embraced the benefits of ride-sharing today by enabling their employees to access safe and reliable rides at the touch of a button, while Optus’ deal for driver-partners will help make Uber the best and most efficient platform for partners to earn a flexible income.”
The two companies previously teamed up on the UberUMPIRE campaign on Australia Day this year, which saw cricket umpire Billy Bowden and his team of umpires officiate backyard cricket matches across the country.
The announcement comes of the back of Uber’s national public relations blitz, with stunts including puppies on demand and ice cream delivered from Gelato Messina.
While UberX has been legalised in NSW, Western Australia and the ACT, it remains illegal in other states and territories.
Rival GoCatch has a partnership with Qantas, which allows passengers to earn frequent flyer points on taxi rides worth more than $10.