In a first for Africa, Uber has partnered with mi-Fone to have the Uber app embedded in all new phones starting from March. For those not in the know mi-Fone which was established in 2008 happens to be the first African mobile devices brand. It came about when the founder Alpesh Patel then a Director of Sales Africa for Motorola came to the realization that big brands did not understand Africa and that Africa was best served by Africans. He eventually left his job and founded the phone company out of a passion to empower and educate African consumers by enabling internet access through mi-Fone devices. They have achieved this by offering low cost but quality smartphones. So far mi-Fone has a footprint in 15 African countries.
As part of the deal all driver-partners using the Uber app in Kenya will have access to purchase a specially priced 5 inch smart phone. In Kenya Uber drivers started with Iphones, moved to Samsung and now it seems that we will be seeing a lot of mi-Fones in Uber rides. A smart way of driving uptake of the phone as the average cost of good Samsung smartphone is about Sh20,000 yet you can get a mi-Fone to less than Sh10,000.
In Nigeria mi-Fone and Konga the largest E-Commerce platform have joined forces to launch their co-branded initiative called mi-Tribe. The mi-Tribe device comes pre-embedded with the Uber app and offers discounted rides for first time Uber users who sign up with the code MIAFRICA.