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  • Village Phone 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 2009, there were about three hundred sixty four thousand village phone ladies who have together taken loans amounting to BDT 2.57 billion.

    The demand of the Village Phone services is increasing day by day. During the year 2009 nearly 2,000 new phones were distributed and at the same time 100,500 chrun back connections were provided to 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) has made a plan to finance nearly 20,000 new phones to its members during the next year.

    The additional income by selling telephone service and internet based facility through electronic recharge system (ERS, EDGE,/GPRS) 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 below :

    Progress of Village Phones up to December, 2009.
    Zone of Branches Covered of VP owned by
    Bank members
    Chittagong 71 6,174
    Tangail 78 8,101
    Rangpur 59 7,245
    Manikganj 60 11,055
    Patuakhali 86 7,079
    Bogra 64 9,044
    Sylhet 70 14,288
    Rajshahi 85 24,892
    Dinajpur 63 12,148
    Faridpur 85 10,361
    Comilla 74 9,638
    Mymensingh 54 11,511
    Munshiganj 60 8,761
    Khulna 69 8,386
    Noakhali 78 12,546
    Jamalpur 54 8,208
    Nilphamari 56 5,442
    Hobiganj 55 7,433
    Pabna 60 13,359
    Barisal 79 5,511
    Jhenaidah 74 10,211
    Cox’sbazar 58 6,966
    Gaibandha 54 11,121
    Noagaon 77 15,160
    Jessore 79 9,633
    Chandpur 54 7,988


    71 6,527
    Bhola 52 2,432
    Rangamati 30 4,763
    Gazipur 46 7,423
    Madaripur 68 17,615
    Thakurgaon 69 12,874
    Pirojpur 61 4,129
    Sunamganj 57 5,595
    Feni 46 6,766
    Narsingdi 38 7,737
    Kurigram 46 4,456
    Netrokona 47 5,684
    Sirajganj 45 9,769
    Sherpur 51 6,349
    Total 2483 364,380

    Flexiload Programme
    Flexiload Programme Flexiload program started from April 2006 in Tangail and Comilla zone as a ROSA Flexiload Programme(Retailer outlet sales agent) pilot project. The agreement between Grameen Bank (GB) and Grameenphone (GP) was to sell handset, accessories and bulk airtime in rural areas through GB members. The programme is still now successfully going on.

    Finally, the agreement was set up on November 06, 2006 to expand the program in other zones. In this programme, Grameenphone is the principal or host and and Grameen Bank acts reload distributor functioning perfectly through a master SIM card.

    Selected GB members are the sales agents who get load from logistics management team of Grameenphone under GB channel. GB agents transfer their load as per end users demand. It is continuous process. GB’s commission is 0.95% and sales agent’s commission is 2.75% respectively. Up to December 31, 2009 GB creates 1,000 sales agents in 40 zones. The total transaction averagely reaches at the end of the year in BDT 1060.24 million. Grameen Bank and agents received commissions amounting BDT 10.07 and 29.15 million respectively. Now every week Grameen Bank agents are transacting BDT 9.00 million. Grameen bank plan is to make 2,000 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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