Your next Uber ride may include Wi-Fi

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Your next Uber ride may include Wi-Fi
Image via AAP

A deal between Optus and Uber includes a trial of in-car Wi-Fi. A hundred Uber vehicles in Sydney and Melbourne are to be equipped with Optus 4G Plus Wi-Fi hotspots for passengers to use.

The device allows up to ten devices to be connected simultaneously, so if you're travelling with colleagues, friends or family you'll all be able to use the internet without eating into your mobile data allowances.

What hasn't been disclosed at this stage is who will pick up the bill if the project goes beyond a trial. 

Will Optus treat it as a promotional opportunity, which means Optus customers will end up paying whether or not they use Uber cars? 

If the cost is passed on to Uber or individual drivers, that will presumably mean some combination of higher fares for passengers and lower net income for drivers - unless Uber is prepared to bear the cost because it thinks in-car Wi-Fi will attract so many new customers that its extra profit will more than cover whatever Optus charges.

The deal between the two companies also includes Optus's agreement to use Uber for employee transport, and an unspecified "exclusive offer" for Uber drivers. How good an offer it is remains a secret, but given that participants in the Uber hire car service (no, it's not 'ride sharing' - that means the car was already going to travel along the route for the driver's benefit) rely on mobile data, it's probably worth investigating. 

If you are an Uber driver, we'd encourage you to tell us about the offer in a comment on this article.

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