Uber v/s Ola isn’t a new phenomena in India. That has in fact boiled up even further after Uber’s exit from China. Now the US HQed cab-hailing app, in further signs of its deepening focus on India (considering this is its only chance to establish a strong presence in Asia, and hence globally), has launched a dial-in feature of sorts for non-smartphone users to book an Uber.
With this, you won’t need to install Uber’s mobile application to order a cab. You can do so just by going to a mobile website — dial.uber.com and request a taxi. With this move, the company is hoping to attract more customers by creating new ways and making its service more accessible to a wider user base. Just to remind you of that wider userbase, India has close to 900 million mobile phone connections, however only a sixth or so of them have smartphones. So yeah, there is the market.
Once you open dial.uber.com in your browser, you will be asked to enter your mobile phone number in order to log-in. After logging-in, you can check the pricing, cab availability and a fare estimate for the journey. If you are not using the app and requesting cab via its website, the only payment option available in cash payment.
The newly introduced service is currently available in select Tier-II/III cities, including Nagpur, Kochi, Guwahati, and Jodhpur. The company has not yet clarified whether it intends to introduce this service in other cities later or not.
Compared to its global operations, Uber has been working differently in India. It introduced cash payment and pre-paid wallets for the Indian market, while it only supports credit cards in the US and Europe. At one point, it also offered transportation categories like auto rickshaws and bikes.
Lately, Uber has been coming with new strategies as per the demands and current market scenario in India in order to move past Ola, its local rival. Uber claims to have acquired 40 percent of the market share in India.
Currently, the company is facing a lot of troubles with the state government authorities in India. It is facing issues related to surge pricing in Delhi and Bangalore. It had to suspend its motorcycle taxi pilot — UberMoto after Karnataka govt. seized its bikes citing violation of Motor Vehicles Act.
The US-based company has also been forming partnerships with other startups in India to get more customers. it joined hands with Zomato, allowing its users to book cabs to visit restaurants using the Zomato app. Last month, it also partnered with Snapdeal to enable car bookings directly from Snapdeal’s app.