Over Labor Day weekend Uber updated their Terms & Conditions for Uber drivers adding and addendum Bring Your Own Device.
Ever noticed all Uber drivers have an iPhone on their windshield? Since the beginning of Uber they have issued an iPhone to all their drivers. Although not confirmed many suspected it was in order to keep the Uber service reliable because they included a reliable device along with an unlimited data plan from at&t or Verizon.
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Earlier this summer Uber announced they would start charging for that unlimited data. A few weeks ago they did and it wasn’t cheap. Driver started complaining because now they were paying $10 a week or $40 a month for a data plan they couldn’t us. That’s because Uber locks down the devices so drivers can only use the Uber app.
Now with this change in the Terms & Conditions Uber is allowing drivers to download the Uber Driver app on their own device. As of this writing it is unclear how you download the Uber Driver app as it is still not in the AppStore. Drivers are warned that the app uses a lot of data and it is highly recommended that the driver have an unlimited data plan.
A very valid warning since drivers for Lyft who are not offered a device and all use their own device use many more GB of data then an average user uses. The constant connection of the app and use of a GPS app for directions can easily take a user over 10 GB in a month. Compared to an average user to uses around 1GB a month and normal data plans only giving users 1 – 2 GBs. But upgrading their data plan should be less expensive then paying for Uber’s iPhone. Plus the driver will also be able to use that data plan for their own use like music streaming.
I don’t expect many drivers giving up their iPhone since this update was not announced to the drivers. It was updated during an app update that is made when a driver is trying to log in as a driver. If the driver didn’t take the time to read the document and doesn’t know what BYOD means, they won’t know they have that option now.