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Infinix & TECNO badly affected as Uber & Little Cab ban use of some smartphones in Kenya

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Driving for Uber, Little Cab, or Bolt (Formerly Taxify) is a great opportunity to make some extra cash or even provide a significant income for those who do it on a full-time basis.

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When it comes to the investment required, driving for this ride-hailing apps is an extremely cheap option, too, especially when you consider how much you can easily make at the end of the day. Assuming you already have a vehicle with all the necessary documentation and licenses, all you need is the right smartphone.

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Fortunately, these platforms approve of a number of different smartphone models from popular brands. The companies also require that each driver have their own smartphone with its own designated SIM card, and have access to the Internet, email, WhatsApp, and other channels of communication. 

However, ride-hailing companies Uber and Little Cab have banned a number of smartphones from being used by their partner drivers here in Kenya.

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Alarmingly, most of the smartphones that have been banned are from Infinix and TECNO brands, but premium smartphones like iPhones have not been spared as well. Why I said alarmingly is because we all know that most Infinix and TECNO brands are very affordable and we find that most of the ride-hailing app drivers use these brands by default.

But something annoying is that we’ve all experienced instances where the driver could not locate you accurately mainly because of their device capabilities. So this is probably a commendable move by Uber and Little as they have compiled a list of banned phones that their driver-partners should not use.

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  • Infinix Hot 5
  • Infinix Note 3
  • Infinix Hot 2
  • Infinix S2 Pro
  • Infinix Smart
  • Infinix Hot S
  • Infinix Hot Note
  • Infinix Note 2
  • Infinix Zero 3
  • TECNO Camon CX Air
  • TECNO Camon CX
  • TECNO Pouvoir 2
  • TECNO S6
  • TECNO B1
  • TECNO L8 Lite 2019
  • TECNO W1
  • Nokia 1
  • Nokia 3.1 Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy J1 2016
  • Samsung Galaxy J5
  • Samsung Galaxy Mini Prime 2016
  • Huawei P8 Lite
  • Huawei Y6 2019
  • Wiko Jerry 3
  • Safaricom Neo Ray LTE
  • Oppo F5
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 5s

The most surprising entrant in this list has to be the iPhone 8, although Apple had acknowledged GPS issues with iPhones and iPhones released in 2012 or earlier,  but the exclusion of iPhone 8, iPhone 7 and iPhone 5S in their acknowledgement is quite interesting.


Little Cab’s ban list is short as compared to that of Uber, but they pretty much single out specific devices which are listed below:

  • All Infinix devices
  • All X-TIGI devices
  • TECNO M3

Little blacklisted the TECNO Y5S, M3 and all X-TIGI devices as of March 2019 while all Infinix devices were blocked as from April 2019.

When it comes to the recommended smartphone to use by driver-partners of ride-hailing apps in Kenya, Uber and Little have the exact requirements for this. It’s highly likely that one “borrowed” some information from the other, but we can’t know who!

These are the requirements:

  • Android version: 6.0 or newer
  • Single SIM slot only. No dual sim devices
  • 2GB RAM minimum
  • Snapdragon or Mediatek
  • Minimum processor model: Snapdragon 630 or the Mediatek Helios P10
  • Minimum of an 8 core processor running at 2Ghz
  • Minimum Geekbench 4.1 score of 600 (single-core) and 4000 (multicore)
  • The minimum screen size of 4.7 inches
  • Device must have both A-GPS and GLONASS

If we compared Bolt’s requirements to Uber and Little’s, they are quite current.

  • Devices should run at least Android 9.0 or iOS 13 – Whereas Uber and Little don’t mention anything about iOS
  • Device should have a minimum of 1.5GB of RAM
  • They don’t recommend rooted phones.
  • Don’t use battery saver since it causes GPS errors
  • Connect your phone to a charger during the journey
  • Use a phone holder for the best possible GPS signal
  • Set your location accuracy as “high accuracy” (Bolt warns that they will disable a partner’s account if they show “problematic GPS behaviour.”)

As much as this may be a commendable move by Uber and Little in attempts to offer the best service to their customers, maybe a better option would be to collaborate with a specific smartphone maker to come up with an Uber or Little phone with the right specifications and features for their drivers. Just our two cents!

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Feritter Owich
Feritter Owich
I am the mobile editor here. I cover apps, smartphones and anything else related to consumer electronics. Reach me at [email protected]

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