Village Phones

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 Phones
The 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

lexiload program
Flexiload 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.

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