The strategic partnership could offer a wide range of collaboration opportunities, with Gojek’s platform also including digital payments and food delivery services

Ride-hailing companies have been hit hard by the pandemic, with health restrictions widely limiting their drivers’ ability to travel. Uber, for example, has reportedly been haemorrhaging cash, having lost $1.8 billion in the last three months leading up to August.

In Indonesia, domestic ride-sharing service Gojek is facing similar difficulties, with shares trading at a steep discount in recent months. 

But struggling though it may be, Gojek’s multi-service platform still presents an enticing opportunity.

This week, local operator Telkomsel has formed a strategic partnership with Gojek, investing $150 million citing a “broad range of collaboration opportunities” to reach a wider portion of the Indonesian population.

Telkomsel’s relationship with Gojek goes back to 2018, when the operator agreed to subsidise data rates for Gojek’s drivers while out and about. The operator currently has around 170 million subscribers in the island nation, while Gojek has a similar number of users.

The expanded partnership reportedly aims to deliver numerous new product offerings and cost savings, as well as collaborating on initiatives like digital training programmes to help boost Indonesia’s technology pool.

"Gojek has always looked up to successful homegrown technology businesses such as Telkomsel and this agreement signifies a real vote of confidence in our platform model and reach in Indonesia and throughout the region,” said Gojek CEO Andre Soelistyo.

Ride-hailing companies are of increasing interest for telcos, especially if they are backed by a more diverse service platform like Gojek. The service’s typically broad usership makes them an exciting prospect not only for boosting a telcos subscriber base, but also to collaborate on new topics like digital advertising.  

“By working together, we hope to help Indonesia become a true digital powerhouse in Southeast Asia, and bring the benefits of the digital economy to millions more consumers, driver-partners and small businesses,” said Soelistyo.

Indonesia is not the only country to see such a partnership develop. In South Korea, for example, SK Telecom recently formed a joint venture with Uber in an attempt to circumvent the country’s strict ride-hailing market regulations. 

As connectivity becomes ever more vital to automotive travel, whether through automated cars or simply mobility and location services, it seems likely that telcos will increasingly explore their options when it comes to ride-hailing giants.


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