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Hybrid Designs, the company behind RIDE, has partnered with Ethio Telecom allowing passengers to pay for their fairs through Ethio Telecom’s mobile money service platform, telebirr.

RIDE’s digital payment integration that marks its full end-to-end digital transformation comes after five years since the company began operation with a shortcode number and is part of new features from the forerunners in the ride-hailing sector.

Sponsoring the Ethiopian Coffee Sport Club (Buna), launching a package delivery service, unveiling a digital monthly corporate billing service called RIDE Plus, and delivering Ethio telecom SIM cards, are developments that all happened in the past three months.

In addition, RIDE has also recently partnered with Enat Bank making credit schemes available for its drivers.

Introduced to the country in 2016, the demand for ride-hailing services has skyrocketed. A 2020 study by a local consulting firm estimates that around 90,000 trips are used by the residents of Addis daily.

Thousands of drivers work for the platforms, and the business has become ever more competitive. Over 40 companies hold e-taxi service licenses in Ethiopia, with the market also attracting foreign players such as Little Cab of Kenya.

However, despite its sparkling and lucrative looks, the industry has also wavered in litigation and unfair business practices as ride-hailing companies tried to cut corners, with even some platforms blocking the phones of their drivers from installing apps from the competition.

The Addis Abeba Transport Bureau, which was meant to govern the sector, has also lagged behind the technology. Its regulations meant to formalize the sector often come against the core of the business and resulting in the Bureau being sidelined.

Related- Ethio Telecom Signs Exclusive Deal with Master Agents Ahead of Safaricom Launch

telebirr, on the other hand, has been enjoying an eventful year since its launch a year ago and has signed up 19.4 million users who transacted 18.7 billion birr.

The first mobile money service by a telecom operator in Ethiopia has also integrated its service with several banks and is adding many features to its platforms such as water bill payments and traffic penalty payments.

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Kaleab Girma, an Addis Ababa-based reporter and researcher, with over six years of experience in the field. He currently serves as Shega's Editor-in-Chief and specializes in reporting on small businesses, innovation, technology, and startups in Ethiopia.

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