Uber built a great ridesharing experience with SMS & Voice

Planet Earth

58 countries

Uber operates in

Planet with map pin

400+ cities

served globally by Uber


1B+ rides



Uber needed a way to keep riders up-to-date on the status of their driver request.


Using Twilio Messaging, Uber can provide timely ride status updates to both domestic and international customers through real-time text messages.

Uber is everyone’s private driver. Uber operates a global network of everyday and luxury cars, and offers a mobile experience that allows any customer to request a pickup. Customers are kept up-to-date with text messages as the status of their request changes—when a driver accepts the request, when the driver is less than a minute away, and if the ride has been cancelled for any reason.

Never leave a customer in the cold

Though Uber’s text communication strategy was already in place, riders weren’t getting the high quality customer experience Uber wanted to deliver because of problems with its existing hosting providers. Fast delivery of notifications is critical when customer transactions happen in real time. A text message delay of more than a minute can leave a customer standing in the rain waiting for a ride they didn’t know was cancelled. Likewise, if a customer’s ride has arrived, but the customer doesn’t receive the notification, the experience suffers. Uber needed a better way to reliably deliver the level of communication its service demanded.

Messaging drives the business ahead

Uber turned to Twilio for superior delivery of its business-dependent text messages. Information about the driver—their star rating, phone number, and how far away they are—is sent via Twilio supported text message.

“We built the Uber experience without Twilio initially,” explained Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, “and the problem was, people were not getting the high quality experience we were promising. The kinds of problems we were seeing with other providers, we just haven’t seen with Twilio. I sleep easier, and my engineers sleep easier because we’re not dealing with situations where it’s taking 15 to 20 minutes for a text to be delivered.” Thanks to Twilio, customers are now kept current with real-time text messages. “It’s been invaluable to have a reliable service to tell folks what’s going on with their ride,” said Kalanick.

waiting for a car

Scaling internationally with Twilio

With communication running smoothly on Twilio, Uber can now focus on leveraging the technology to keep expanding and moving forward—wherever it wants to take it. For any growing company, being able to scale deliverability internationally is just as important as scaling domestically. Twilio provides Uber with communications that cover all the countries and cities where it operates.

“Our vision of the future is really one of cities, not countries,” said Kalanick. “If there’s a major city somewhere out there, you can be pretty certain Uber is going to be there. Having one telecommunications provider ultimately will cover all the cities and countries we go to—that’s critical for us.”

“Uber is launching in a lot of international markets, and Twilio has helped us scale internationally as we grow as a company,” elaborated Curtis Chambers, engineering manager at Uber. “Twilio works fast, like we do.”

Car driver

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