Popular ride-sharing service Uber on Wednesday announced a deal with AT&T that will see the company’s app pre-loaded on Android phones sold through the nation’s No. 2 wireless carrier.
Starting this summer, AT&T will also become the provider of mobile services for new Uber drivers, and work with the start-up to broaden adoption of
Uber says 137 million Americans (43% of the population) across 60 cities already use its service to get around town.
The pact comes as San Francisco-based Uber is reportedly in the midst of a $500 million round of funding that would value it at more than $12 billion. The company, whose app connects users with a network of limos and drivers of vehicles for hire, has raised more than $400 million to date.
AT&T also aims to benefit from the partnership, hoping Uber pre-installed on devices will lure new subscribers. “With Uber, we found a company that gets what it means to revolutionize an industry through mobile technology to give customers a new, compelling and valuable service,” stated Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility.
The step carries some risk for AT&T. A Reuters report noted Uber has run into difficulties over issues such as insurance and opposition from the taxi industry. But so far, those challenges haven’t significantly slowed its expansion over the last four years.