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Optus reaches out to one million Uber passengers

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source. June– December 2015, n = 25,421 Australians 14+ including 3,508 who reported main mobile phone service provider

As Optus trials putting WiFi in Uber cars, a quick dip into Roy Morgan Single Source research reveals the incidence of recent Uber usage among the main service providers’ mobile customers, and tallies the combined number of trips by Uber passengers in the second half of 2015.

Roy Morgan Research has previously reported that 989,000 Australians 14+ (5%) travelled by Uber in an average three months in the second half of 2015. Almost three quarters of them were aged between 18 and 34.

There is some variation in Uber usage across mobile phone owners connected through different service providers: 8% of Australians with a Vodafone mobile service have travelled by Uber in the last three months, just ahead of the 7% of Optus or Virgin mobile customers. Only 4% of Telstra’s mobile users travel by Uber.

% of Australians and MSP customers who travel by Uber

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source. June– December 2015, n = 25,421 Australians 14+ including 3,508 who reported main mobile phone service provider

Uber travellers made around 3.7 trips each with the service in the last three months—equivalent to an estimated 7.3 million passengers from July to December 2015.

Optus mobile customers were around 2.3 million of these passenger trips—more than any other provider, thanks to its large number of customers, their high incidence as above, and an above-average number of trips taken by Uber users in a three-month period.

Despite Telstra’s lower incidence and below-average number of trips, its huge base of mobile customers together made an estimated 1.8 million passenger trips—about the same as made by Vodafone (1.4 million) and Virgin (400,000) customers combined.  

Estimated cumulative number of Uber Passenger Trips in July to December 2015

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source. June– December 2015, n = 198 Australians 14+ who travelled by Uber in the last three months, including 106 who reported main mobile phone service provider

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The recently announced partnership will deliver discounted mobile plans to Uber drivers who connect with Optus. While it may sometimes seem like every third person we meet today drives for the global ridesharing phenomenon, this is just a tiny pool of potential customers compared with the million Australians who are in the cars and chatting to their drivers.  

“Our early research shows that of the 7.3 million cumulative passenger trips with Uber over the second half of 2015, 2.3 million were already connected to the Optus network—more than any other provider. This means, of course, that there are five million or so other occasions over a six-month period when Optus could be potentially pitching its 4G WiFi network to non-customers (via  a driver who’s potentially an Optus advocate!).

“Monitoring Uber trip incidence and counts across the range of demographics, as well as usage of the Uber app and the mobile phone provider satisfaction rates and switching intentions of those users, will be an important part of how Optus can begin to judge the real bottom-line impacts of this novel partnership.”    

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%