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  • Village Phones Print
    The concept of Village Phone is an idea which caught people's imagination. Grameen Bank members have entered the age of information technology by leasing and purchasing cellular phones. The mobile phones not only create a new business opportunity for the poor, but also bring access to information, market, health and other services to the remote rural areas of Bangladesh. This was a major innovation; placing modern cell phones in the hand of the woman from poorest households in remote villages, something that no telecom operator had dared to do in the past. With Grameen Bank financing a Grameen Bank borrower buys a mobile phone to become the Telephone Lady of the village. She provides the telecommunication services to the village while earning profits for herself. By the end of 2007, there were more than two hundred ninety-five thousand village phone ladies who have together taken loans amounting to Tk. 2,563.44 million.

    Village Phone ServiceThe demand of the Village Phone services is increasing day by day. During the year 2007 nearly 17,000 new phones were distributed and connections were provided to as many cell phones in the villages. Grameen Bank, in collaboration with
    Grameen Telecom (The company which was incorporated as a not-for-profit venture under the companies act of 1994)  will provide nearly 150,000 new connections to its members and their family members during the next year.The additional income by selling telephone service and internet based facility through electronic recharge system of village phone ladies is almost double that of the national per capita income. Zone-wise statistics of village phones financed through the Bank’s lending programme are given in the table :

    Zone No of Branches Covered No of Village Phones owned by Bank members
    Chittagong 70 6142
    Tangail 95 9635
    Rangpur 55 5550
    Dhaka 60 10977
    Patuakhali 84 6535
    Bogra 65 9241
    Sylhet 67 12285
    Rajshahi 85 17944
    Dinajpur 61 7022
    Faridpur 79 8604
    Comilla 73 9638
    Mymensingh 59 10345
    Munshiganj 60 8761
    Khulna 69 8386
    Noakhali 78 10891
    Jamalpur 80 10775
    Nilphamari 48 5442
    Habiganj 53 7354
    Pabna 60 8595
    Barisal 75 4749
    Jhenaidah 73 10180
    Cox’s Bazar 56 4773
    Gaibandha 47 6470
    Naogaon 77 14173
    Jessore 76 8694
    Chandpur 54 6633
    Kishoreganj 70 6395
    Bhola 52 2145
    Rangamati 20 623
    Gazipur 37 6443
    Madaripur 67 8113
    Thakurgaon 62 6981
    Perojpur 59 3692
    Sunamganj 51 3643
    Feni 45 5331
    Narsingdi 37 6979
    Kurigram 45 3981
    Netrokona 45 5499
    Sirajganj 41 5825
    Total 2390 295444

    Flexiload program

    Village Phone - Flexi Load ServiceFlexiload program started in April 2006 in Tangail and Comilla Zone as a ROSA pilot project. The agreement between Grameen Bank (GB) and Grameen Phone (GP) was to sell the airtime in rural areas through GB members. The program was going on successfully.

    Finally the agreement was set up on November 06, 2006 to expand the program in other zones. In this program GP is the first party and GB acts as a distributor of Flexiload.

    Selected GB members are the sales agents who get load from GP through GB and sell it to the lower end. GB’s commission is 1.135% and sales agent’s commission is 2.75%. Up to December 31, 2007 Grameen Bank creates 1,000 sales agents in 39 zones, who transected Tk. 366.00 million. Grameen Bank and agents received commissions amounting Tk. 4.30 and 10.00 million respectively. Now every week Grameen Bank agents are transacting Tk. 10.00 million. Grameen bank plan is to make 4,000 Grameen Bank agents very soon. We hope this program will develop and reinforce strategies, which will bring high economic benefits to Grameen Bank members.

Banker to the Poor   Banker to the Poor Banker to the Poor GF USA