It seems like Uber has enabled a new feature that allows users to make free calls to the designated driver with the help of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Uber has also enabled VoIP-based calling for its driver partners so that the driver too would be able to make free calls to the potential riders. The new feature aims at improving communication between drivers and riders while keeping private their respective phone numbers.
This feature was announced back in October 2018 for a global-scale for both Android and iOS devices and has now come to India. Indian Uber users noticed the new VoIP calling feature in the Uber app on Saturday evening.
How this feature works
Users simply need to tap the call button after booking the cab, and then press on the pop-up Free Call option, after which they would have to grant permission to the app to access the device microphone. Granting permission is claimed to enable the in-app calling functionality. Next, users would see a call screen displaying the name of the driver and a call timer, along with controls for muting audio, activating speaker and ending the call.
Uber (at least on Android) now allows you to make a "free" call to your driver. "Uber Call". Interesting. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/rCE5d2V00Q
— Venkat Ananth (@venkatananth) February 9, 2019
This VoIP call through the app, that would make use of cellular data or connected Wi-Fi network, enables both driver and rider to keep their respective phone numbers hidden, and the driver would simply be displayed as “Uber” on the call screen. The free calls take place through Uber servers and conversations can be recorded by Uber.
This feature is cost-effective and comes in handy in case you are traveling abroad and don’t possess a local SIM or don’t have international roaming activated. Drivers, too, can make a call to riders without having to leave the Uber app.
Users are appreciative of the new feature because of its convenience.
However, even though the VoIP feature has started in India, Uber still allows users to make cellular-network based voice calls. The VoIP is available only for Uber cab service, and not for other Uber services.