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Uber banned from operating in Italy

Ruling in suit filed by taxi groups finds the mobile app constitutes unfair competition, Reuters reports

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Taxi drivers went on strike in Rome and across Italy earlier this year to protest against an amendment that would deregulate the sector of transport, enabling a wider use of Uber.

Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Uber has hit a roadblock in Italy.

An Italian court has blocked the ride-hailing company from operating in the country, ruling that the use of the service's mobile apps constituted unfair competition, according to a Reuters report. The ruling, which was in response to a lawsuit filed by Italy's major traditional taxi associations, also prohibits the startup from promoting or advertising its services in Italy.

Uber Italy said it was shocked by the decision and planned to appeal.

"Thousands of professional, licensed drivers use the Uber app to make money and provide reliable transportation at the push of a button for Italians," Uber Italy said in a statement.

Uber uses a smartphone app to connect riders with part-time drivers of private cars, oftentimes for less than the cost of a traditional taxi or car service. Its rapid growth over the past couple of years has led to roadblocks from government regulators and taxi commissions, which argue that on-demand ride services don't adhere to the same regulations as traditional taxis.

This isn't the first time Uber has faced banishment from a country. The San Francisco-based startup has also run into opposition from governments in Brazil, France, Germany and India, among others.

Updated at 11:40 a.m. PT with Uber's statement.