Uber offering WiFi-enabled vehicles for CES in Las Vegas

Uber will offer WiFi-enabled vehicles in Las Vegas next week for the big Consumer Electronics Show.
The ride-hailing giant is teaming up withVinli, a Dallas-based startup that develops a small $199 adapter which plugs into a car’s on-board diagnostics port and lets people utilize a 4G LTE connection while they drive.
From Jan. 6 to Jan. 9, Uber customers in Las Vegas will be able to specifically request a WiFi-enabled vehicle equipped with Vinli’s device, which will be powered by T-Mobile’s 4G LTE connection.

Founded in 2014, Vinli raised a $6.5 million Series A round this past September from Samsung, Cox Automotive, and others. The company started shipping devices in October.
Uber has rolled out in-car WiFi before, partnering with Bharti Airtel for its customers in India this past August. It also tested something similar in Houston earlier this year; in Philadelphia more than one year ago; and in Italy more than three years ago.
Uber and Lyft were legalized in Las Vegas in September. BuzzFeed has a good report on how “Uber beat the Las Vegas taxi industry” here.
GeekWire will be on the ground in Las Vegas next month covering CES, where there will be plenty of automakers showing off their connected car technologies.

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