Ride-hailing in the UAE just got a lot more enticing.
Careem just announced that starting from mid-July, it will offer free unlimited Wi-Fi in its vehicles.
Careem partners up with Etisalat and Snapit Digital
To bring free Wi-Fi to its vehicles, Careem had to partner with telecom operator Etisalat and Snapit Digital, a media tech company.
According to Careem, the new service guarantees that personal data of the customers who are connected to the Careem mobile app will not be shared with any third party and log-in is secured. Connecting to the Wi-Fi will be easy: Customers see short commercials, and log in with their mobile number and OTP (one-time password) for new users.
The service will incorporate Wifi10X, designed by SnapitDigital, and fully integrated with Etisalat’s network. Incidentally, Etisalat was the first telecom company in the MENA region to launch commercial 5G services in the Middle East.
On Tuesday, Careem also announced a similar Wi-Fi service to be launched in Pakistan, where the company partnered with telecom company Telenor.
As The National reminds, Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s taxi companies have already been providing free Wi-Fi in their cabs. “Abu Dhabi taxi company TransAD introduced free Wi-fi in partnership with Etisalat in all of its taxis beginning in November 2016, while Dubai’s fleet of 10,800 taxis is in the midst of a phased rollout of the service in collaboration with telecom provider du.”
“Free Wi-Fi was also introduced in 500 Dubai Airport taxis in December 2016, with another 700 added in 2017,” the newspaper continued.
What will this mean for customers?
Free accessible Wi-Fi available as part of Careem’s already affordable service opens quite a lot of doors. From saving on mobile data plans, to getting a chance to stay connected and work on the go, Careem’s services will look very enticing for the mobile professional. While most trips in the UAE are not quite long, save for Emirate-Emirate commutes, the free service is a welcome addition for any career-driven professional in the UAE.
Many tourists in this day and age are more inclined to travel with a ride-hailing firm over traditional taxis, and they will now find there that is no difference between the two.
It’s not clear yet, though, how Careem will install Wi-Fi routers inside drivers’ (dubbed Captains by Careem) vehicles. This plan must have been weeks in planning for the company to announce a mid-July launch.
Elevating the brand
The Wi-Fi launch in the UAE and Pakistan could be indicative of an eventual large-scale implementation of this, where Careem would provide Wi-Fi to customers across their entire international customer base.
Had Uber not agreed to buy Careem, we would have been inclined to state that Careem would have had the upper hand in their soon-to-end rivalry. Once the $3.1 billion merger is complete, it is not yet clear if the partnership with Etisalat and Snapit Digital would extend to Uber as well. The companies have stated that even post the merger, the two brands will continue to co-exist. The Careem brand will not be assimilated into Uber, supposedly.
This week, the UAE’s Ministry of Economy approved Uber’s attempt to acquire Careem. Under the Competition Law No. 04 of 2012 and the Executive Regulation No. 37 of 2014, companies operating in the UAE are required to submit a request to the Ministry of Economy prior to the completion of a merger or acquisition. This ensures that the acquisition or merger will not lead to the dominance or control of the corresponding markets in the UAE at rates exceeding the percentages stipulated by the Law.
The acquisition is expected to be completed in early 2020.