Grab Philippines: Uber app to continue working but with ‘limited functionality’

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Uber back on the road after paying P190-M fine
Driver operators outside the Uber main office in Mandaluyong City -- REUTERS/DONDI TAWATAO

Uber users in the Philippines will still be able to book rides via mobile application as Grab Philippines announced that the Uber app will continue to operate throughout the review period with Grab bearing the costs.

In an April 9 statement, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing application said the move was part of its “commitment” to comply with the interim measures imposed by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).

Among measures being proposed by the PCC include requiring ride-hailing apps to operate independently pending the conclusion of the PCC review; refraining from sharing confidential information; refraining from imposing exclusivity clauses, lock-in periods or termination fees on Uber drivers seeking to join Grab.

Grab however said that Uber will operate with “limited functionality” and “little or no support”.

Read the full the statement released by Grab Philippines today, April 9:


Grab Philippines’ Response to PCCs Interim Measures Order Case no. M-2018-001

April 9, 2018

We reiterate our commitment to the Philippine Competition Commission’s motu proprio review.

With respect to the interim measures imposed by the Commission, the Commission has required the parties to maintain independent business operations and separate operation of the ride-hailing platforms, which means that the Uber app should be kept open, throughout the review period, but left it to the parties to agree on cost allocation. Grab believes that this measure increases the transaction costs of the parties, contrary to the spirit and rationale of interim measures. Grab intends to discuss this matter with the PCC.

Considering that Uber has exited the region on 25 March and clearly stated during the public hearing its incapacity to fund the operations in the Philippines, the parties have agreed to keep the Uber app operational with Grab bearing the costs, to give drivers and consumers time to adjust to Uber’s departure. In the spirit of cooperating with the PCC, Grab has also agreed to continue to bear the costs of the Uber app extension (from March 25 to April 8) until April 15, 2018. Our understanding from the PCC is that this interim arrangement, which was fully explained to the PCC, is not a breach of its Order.

Grab wishes to clarify that, although the Uber app continues to operate, it has limited functionality and little or no support. Grab noted that the LTFRB has expressed concerns pertaining to customer support and safety issues arising from Uber’s limited operations. Grab wishes to stress that this interim arrangement is only for the purposes of satisfying what the PCC appears to require until Grab is able to discuss with the PCC.

We hope that the PCC will sit with the parties to hear their sides and give a fair assessment of the concerns expressed by both parties and that any other action taken would take into account the practical hurdles that may lie across the parties’ paths.

Grab believes that public transportation remains diverse with a wide range of transportation alternatives and a competitive and growing TNVS sector. We are committed to engage with the PCC, LTFRB and other government agencies and to ensure a competitive TNC industry that will benefit the nation as a whole. Grab welcomes LTFRB’s announcement of 4 new entrants into the market and applauds LTFRB’s constant push for more players to keep the market competitive whilst emphasizing on safety as a core tenet of ride hailing in the Philippines. We remain focused on our mission to improve local transportation and will continue to innovate to improve consumer convenience and service, and increase drivers’ earnings potential. As an accredited TNC, Grab will abide by LTFRB regulations where pricing and service levels are closely monitored.

In the meantime, the Grab app operates as per normal and independently. The extension gives Uber drivers more time to sign up on Grab and other alternative platforms. Grab will continue to provide support to accredited TNVS drivers who wish to be part of Grab.