Village Phones cross 250,000 subscriber mark

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Sep 2006
Bangladesh , September, 09 2006 - The internationally acclaimed Village Phone Programme, a joint initiative of GrameenPhone Ltd and Grameen Telecom to provide universal access to mobile phone services in rural areas, has recently crossed the 250,000 subscriber mark.

It is a unique story of telecommunication development that has provided through GSM phones, income and employment to women belonging to the poorest rural households.The village phone programme started on March 26, 1997, the same day the GraneenPhone service was launched. Presently there are more than 253,000 Village Phones in operation in over 50,000 villages around the country. The programme is administered by Grameen Telecom, a not-profit company, in cooperation with Grameen Bank, the internationally recognised pioneer of the micro-credit movement.“The Village Phone Programme of Grameen Telecom, which is mandated to promote development of information and communication-based technologies in rural areas, has ushered in a quiet revolution in Bangladesh. Almost one out often people in Bangladesh now have a mobile phone in their hands, something that was a dream even ten years ago”, said Khalid Shams, the CEO of Grameen Telecom.The Village Phones function as an owner-operated pay phone with full connectivity including international call facility. Typically a poor village woman borrower of Grameen Bank buys a subscription and handset with a loan from the bank and then retails the telephone services in the village. It provides the woman a good income earning opportunity while enabling people who cannot afford to buy a regular subscription to avail the service as and when they need it.

“The Village Phone Programme started from a strong commitment made by the shareholders of GrameePhone to connect the unconnected. It is now providing an essential service in remote and rural areas where there were no telephone facilities before”, observed Erik Aas, Managing Director of GrameenPhone.The Village Phone initiative was given the `GSM in the Community’ award by the GSM Association in 2000, the `Commonwealth Innovation Award’ in 2003 and the `Petersburg Prize’ by the Gateway Foundation in 2005. The Village Phone Programme has been replicated in a number of other countries including Uganda and Rwanda in Africa.



Source : AmaderMobile
 

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