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ASSIGNMENT

Submitted to : Designed, Composed & Submitted by :


Ms. Atia Nasim Bano Shantanu Das (Leader, PERCEPTION)
Faculty, School of Business Student, BBA 17th Batch
Course: Management [BBA-1201] 4th Semester, Section: B
AUB, Rajshahi Campus AUB, Rajshahi Campus
Bangladesh. Bangladesh.

Date of Submission: 24-March-2008. Rajshahi.


PERCEPTION
Group-Member Details
No. Name ------------------ RID Authentication
 Shantanu Das (L) ---------------------------- R00711109

Marks obtained: >>> 10+1/10 (Extra: 1)

 Mahfuza Begum Barsha ----------------------------- R00710058



Marks obtained: >>> 10/10
SIGNATURE
 Asma Haque Shormi ----------------------------- R00711078

Marks obtained: >>> 9.5/10
( Ms. Atia Nasim Bano )
 Amrin Nahar Saleha ----------------------------- R00711052 24-March-2008.

Marks obtained: >>> 9.5/10

 Md. Moniruzzaman ----------------------------- R00711066



Marks obtained: >>> 10/10

Managerial Techniques - Specialization and Motivation.

KEEP PROMISES MAKE IT EASY BE RESPECTFUL BE INSPIRING


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Forward
Although, Bangladesh is a very young country with its 36-years of independence and she doesn’t
even have enough land to hold the entire population on her lap; still, this is one of the extremely
poorest countries in the world having a very tight growth of population which say “NO” to
decreasing! But, there’s a lots of possibilities here where the people never give-up hope, where
people never stop moving forward; and where people never stop talking with each other. As it’s the
best way to communicate with one another, so the Mobile Phone is very popular to its people in
Bangladesh. Relatively, today we have more than six (6) Mobile Phone Operating Companies in
Bangladesh. From these, The GrameenPhone Ltd. is stunningly growing its mobile market in
Bangladesh and has already came across a long way with its 1,60,00,000 exceeded customers
within only 10-years of time. It’s being our pleasure and honor to have the “Managerial
Techniques” regarding Specialization and Motivation as our Assignment Report on GrameenPhone
Ltd.- The largest and the most enhanced Mobile Phone Operator of Bangladesh.

We are very much grateful to the God first, who has given us all the abilities to perform this chore.
Next, we would like to thank our respected Teacher Atia Nasim (AN), Faculty of Management at
AUB Rajshahi Campus who gave us the chance to submit this Assignment Report & Presentation
and also co-operated us with all kinds of rational suggestions, rehearsal and guidance. We also like
to express our gratitude to the honorable Campus Coordinator of AUB Rajshahi Campus, Professor
Md. Abdullah-Al-Harun (AAH), without whose inspiration and company, this mission was not
able to be accomplished.

At last but not the lest, we are grateful to our ever-respected parents those who always give us
mental support and well wishes.

On behalf of PERCEPTION

Shantanu Das (Leader)


Student, BBA 17th Batch
4th Semester, Section: B
AUB, Rajshahi Campus
Rajshahi, Bangladesh.

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Preface
“We are here to help”- That’s what GrameenPhone says to its customers; to us from its LIVE airing
on 26-March-1997, The Independence Day of Bangladesh. That was the beginning. Today,
GrameenPhone is the largest Mobile giant in Bangladesh covering almost the entire country with
its EDGE/GSM Network. Also, GP is the very first Mobile Operator to premier GSM (Global System
for Mobile Communication) Network in Bangladesh. Even being a Mobile Operator whose major
responsibility is to serve it’s customers with better Mobile solutions, GrameenPhone is also playing
a major role with its several activities in Bangladesh beside the best Mobile services which is
introduced as: Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).

GrameenPhone defines CSR as “A Complimentary Combination of Ethical and Responsible


Corporate Behavior”, as well as “A Commitment towards Generating Greater Good in Society as a
Whole by Addressing the Development Needs of the Country”.

To interact effectively and responsibly with the society and to contribute to the socio-economic
development of Bangladesh, GP has adopted a holistic approach to CSR, i.e. Strategic and Tactical.
Through this approach GP aims to, on the one hand involve itself with the larger section of the
society and to address diverse segments of the stakeholder demography, and on the other remain
focused in its social investment to generate greater impact for the society.

GrameenPhone focuses its CSR involvement in three main areas - Health, Education and
Empowerment. We aim to combine all our CSR initiatives under these three core areas to enhance
the economic and social growth of Bangladesh.

We believe that Corporate Social Responsibility is a journey along which we will create a positive
difference in the community and the development of the country; thus meeting the expectations of
our customers and stakeholders.

All these are possible only for the strong Managerial Techniques of GP with its Specialization and
Motivation beyond services. From the beginning, GP has given most priority to the society, its
people and their desires. We will have a broad discussion on this ASSIGNMENT Report regarding
the exceptional and revolutionary Managerial Techniques of GrameenPhone Ltd. with its
Specialization and Motivation.

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Table of contents:
Serial Topic Page No.
I Group Details.................................................................................................................... ..................02
II Forward............................................................................................................................. ..................03
III Preface.............................................................................................................................. ..................04
01 Evolution and History (Evolution)...................................................................................... ..................06
02 History............................................................................................................................... ..................07
03 Managerial Values............................................................................................................ ..................09
04 Attractive Packages…………………………………………………………………………….. ……………10
05 HR Policy & Practice......................................................................................................... ……………11
5.1 Training and HR development................................................................................... ……………11
5.2 Employee benefits..................................................................................................... ……………12
5.3 Code of Conduct........................................................................................................ ……………13
5.4 Controlling the supply chain....................................................................................... ……………13
5.5 Standards for Health, Safety and Environment.......................................................... ……………14
06 CSR Policy & Practice....................................................................................................... ……………15
6.1 Projects and Program................................................................................................ ……………15
6.2 Managing CSR........................................................................................................... ……………16
6.3 Summing Up.............................................................................................................. ……………16
07 Professional Management with Local Knowledge…………………………………………... ……………17
7.1 Increasing Competition.............................................................................................. ……………18
08 Impact from Business Activities........................................................................................ ……………19
8.1 VillagePhone Program............................................................................................... ……………19
8.2 Community Information Centers................................................................................ ……………19
8.3 HealthLine.................................................................................................................. ……………20
8.4 BillPay........................................................................................................................ ……………21
8.5 Extensive Customer Services.................................................................................... ……………21
8.6 Access to the ‘Information Highway’…………………………………………………….. ……………21
09 Seven reasons for being with GrameenPhone………………………………………………. ……………22
10 Overall Impact................................................................................................................... ……………23
11 GrameenPhone at a glance.............................................................................................. ……………24
12 Bibliography...................................................................................................................... ……………25
13 List of Abbreviations.......................................................................................................... ……………31

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Evolution and History
November 28, 1996
GrameenPhone was offered a cellular license in Bangladesh by the Ministry of Posts and
Telecommunications, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

March 26, 1997


GrameenPhone launched its service on the Independence Day of Bangladesh.

November 5, 2006
After almost 10 years of operation, GrameenPhone has over 10 million subscribers.

September 20, 2007


GrameenPhone announces 15 million subscribers.

June 23, 2008


GrameenPhone surpasses 20 million subscribers milestone.

GrameenPhone is now the leading telecommunications service provider in the country with more
than 20 million subscribers as of June 2008. Presently, there are about 40 million telephone users in
the country, of which, a little over one million are fixed-phone users and the rest mobile phone
subscribers. Starting its operations on March 26, 1997, the Independence Day of Bangladesh,
GrameenPhone has come a long way. It is a joint venture enterprise between Telenor (62%), the
largest telecommunications service provider in Norway with mobile phone operations in 12 other
countries, and Grameen Telecom Corporation (38%), a non-profit sister concern of the
internationally acclaimed micro-credit pioneer Grameen Bank. Over the years, GrameenPhone has
always been a pioneer in introducing new products and services in the local market. GP was the
first company to introduce GSM technology in Bangladesh when it launched its services in March
1997. The technological know-how and managerial expertise of Telenor has been instrumental in
setting up such an international standard mobile phone operation in Bangladesh. Being one of the
pioneers in developing the GSM service in Europe, Telenor has also helped to transfer this
knowledge to the local employees over the years.

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History
The company has so far invested more than BDT 10,700 crore (USD 1.6 billion) to build the network
infrastructure since its inception in 1997. It has invested over BDT 3,100 crore (USD 450 million)
during the first three quarters of 2007 while BDT 2,100 crore (USD 310 million) was invested in
2006 alone. GrameenPhone is also one the largest taxpayers in the country, having contributed
nearly BDT 7000 crore in direct and indirect taxes to the Government Exchequer over the years. Of
this amount, over BDT 2000 crore was paid in 2006 alone.

Since its inception in March 1997, GrameenPhone has built the largest cellular network in the
country with over 10,000 base stations in more than 5700 locations. Presently, nearly 98 percent of
the country's population is within the coverage area of the GrameenPhone network.

GrameenPhone was also the first operator to introduce the pre-paid service in September 1999. It
established the first 24-hour Call Center, introduced value-added services such as VMS, SMS, fax
and data transmission services, international roaming service, WAP, SMS-based push-pull services,
EDGE, personal ring back tone and many other products and services.

The entire GrameenPhone network is also EDGE/GPRS enabled, allowing access to high-speed
Internet and data services from anywhere within the coverage area. There are currently nearly 3
million EDGE/GPRS users in the GrameenPhone network.

GrameenPhone nearly doubled its subscriber base during the initial years while the growth was
much faster during the later years. It ended the inaugural year with 18,000 customers, 30,000 by
the end of 1998, 60,000 in 1999, 193,000 in 2000, 471,000 in 2001, 775,000 in 2002, 1.16 million in
2003, 2.4 million in 2004, 5.5 million in 2005, 11.3 million in 2006, and it ended 2007 with 16.5
million customers.

From the very beginning, GrameenPhone placed emphasis on providing good after-sales services.
In recent years, the focus has been to provide after-sales within a short distance from where the
customers live. There are now more than 600 GP Service Desks across the country covering nearly
all upazilas of 61 districts. In addition, there are 81 GrameenPhone Centers in all the divisional cities
and they remain open from 08:00am-08:00pm every day including all holidays.
GP has generated direct and indirect employment for a large number of people over the years. The
company presently has more than 5,000 full, part-time and contractual employees. Another
100,000 people are directly dependent on GrameenPhone for their livelihood, working for the
GrameenPhone dealers, retailers, scratch card outlets, suppliers, vendors, contractors and others.

In addition, the Village Phone Program, also started in 1997, provides a good income-earning
opportunity to more than 280,000 mostly women Village Phone operators living in rural areas. The
Village Phone Program is a unique initiative to provide universal access to telecommunications
service in remote, rural areas. Administered by Grameen Telecom Corporation, it enables rural
people who normally cannot afford to own a telephone to avail the service while providing the VP
operators an opportunity to earn a living.

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The Village Phone initiative was given the "GSM in the Community" award at the global GSM
Congress held in Cannes, France in February 2000. GrameenPhone was also adjudged the Best
Joint Venture Enterprise of the Year at the Bangladesh Business Awards in 2002. GrameenPhone
was presented with the GSM Association's Global Mobile Award for ‘Best use of Mobile for Social
and Economic Development' at the 3GSM World Congress held in Singapore, in October 2006, for
its Community Information Center (CIC) project, and for its HealthLine Service project at the 3GSM
World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, in February 2007.

GrameenPhone considers its employees to be one of its most important assets. GP has an
extensive employee benefit scheme in place including Gratuity, Provident Fund, Group Insurance,
Family Health Insurance, Transportation Facility, Day Care Centre, Children's Education Support,
Higher Education Support for employees, in-house medical support and other initiatives.

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Managerial Values
KEEP PROMISES
GrameenPhone always tried to keep promises from its
inception till today, which has brought a different dimension
to its managerial techniques. Best Network Coverage, Well-
built management, Efficient and Effective Manpower- all
these brought the company to its destiny. Promises can be
made easily; but keeping those promises is much harder
than to make it previously. GP has come across with those
promises very successfully with its OUTSTANDING and
Specialized Managerial Techniques.

MAKE IT EASY
From the very beginning, GrameenPhone is a “User Friendly” Mobile Operator. It means; we always
made our Systems, Services, Features, and Tariffs very much Easy-to-use based, Simple stepped
and exciting to our valued customers. Our 24-hours FREE* (*currently available for the
djuice/business solutions user) 121 Customer Manager Support standbys with useful and Insta-
Care which has created a very positive impact to the nationwide Mobile Users, which driven them
to buy our Special SIM packages like SMILE Pre-paid & Post-paid, djuice, business solutions, xplore
and lot more exciting packages coming soon!

BE RESPECTFUL
GrameenPhone is always being respectful to others; especially to the prominent Social Personalities
those who directly motivating themselves into various social, economic, educative and other
positive fields with eye-catching role-play. For instance: Palan Sarker was awarded by
GrameenPhone for playing tremendous role in the educative fields for playing the role of
educating others which is located in the northern zone (Rajshahi) of Bangladesh.

BE INSPIRING
GrameenPhone is the Official Sponsor of Bangladesh Cricket Team. Only this example may easily
indicate the inspiring attitude of GP of which, others are being inspired to raise-up this kind of
inspirations.

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Attractive Packages
SMILE Pre-paid
Smile gives you many reasons to smile as it is here to fulfill your needs. With
Smile you can enjoy the widest coverage & clarity of speeches that will keep
you connected anytime, anywhere at affordable rates. It has a number of
useful contents like RingTones, Wallpapers, Logos, & other offers to cater to
your various needs. We hope to bring a smile on your face every time you
use Smile.

djuice
Djuice is a popular international brand, exclusively designed for you by
GrameenPhone. This is a world full of fun, friends & fabulous music. It’s not
just mobile subscription, it is a blend of exciting real life experience. With
Djuice, enjoy your stay in the now & express yourself just the way you like.
Enter the ever-happening djuice duniya & indulge yourself with ultimate
sukh.

Xplore Post-paid
Xplore is for someone who wants freedom & takes decisions
independently. This post paid package is more flexible, more economical
then before. With Xplore, you can enjoy the widest coverage at
reasonable rates. Its innovative services like M2M, NWD, ISD & EISD
brings you immense flexibility. GrameenPhone’s unparalleled experience,
coupled with its classy services will take Xplore to an apex - that is for us to achieve & you to
explore.

Business Solutions
Business Solutions is a complete, quality business communications
service from GrameenPhone – designed especially for the business
community in Bangladesh. Our Business Solutions team is here to help
provide you with customized telecommunications solutions through
consultation with you.

At office or on the move – stay connected through Business Solutions.


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HR Policy & Practice
GrameenPhone is the pioneer in the field of human resource management, employee care and
competence development in Bangladesh. GrameenPhone is currently employing approximately
5000 people of which 84 % is under 31 years old. The employees are spread out in six office zones
throughout the country, with Dhaka being the largest with 3561 employees. Most of the staff has
university backgrounds within fields such as management, marketing, economics, finance and
engineering.

In 1997 the number of expatriates working in the company was close to 90. Today however, there
are only five foreigners employed on a regular basis, and another five on time-limited contracts.
The government demands that a ratio of 1:20, expatriates to locals be kept. The figures are
therefore not only within the government requirement, but significantly so. The situation is
supposedly a lot different in many of GrameenPhone’s competitor companies.

The turnover rate in 2006 was 8%, and a preliminary 4% so far for 2007. The number of
resignations peaked in 2005 when new operators penetrated the market and offered higher
salaries to GrameenPhone employees, but this was still relatively low. One could argue that low
turnover rates are a good indicator of a healthy work environment.

Training and Human Resource development


GrameenPhone has since 2005 been adopting the Telenor Development Process (TDP). According
to the annual report the aim of this process is to “Set direction, Manage performance and develop
individual, Team and organizational capabilities to deliver business results”.

GrameenPhone governs the HR process through an annual survey conducted among all
employees. In addition, a compulsory appraisal dialogue is held annually between the individual
worker and his superior. These measures give GrameenPhone management a broader picture of
how employment situation looks in the company. The feedback is used to strengthen the
organization. In particular, the appraisal dialogue identifies individual wishes, goals and training
needs for further professional development.

GrameenPhone offers employee training on several stages, in addition to a general introduction for
new employees. At junior management level, GrameenPhone in collaboration with the British
Council offers in-house training in basic management skills and workshops.

Furthermore management training at junior and middle levels is offered in collaboration with the
Indian Institute of Management. Finally for senior management GrameenPhone offers a module

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based program in cooperation with Stockholm School of Economics. This program is custom made
for GrameenPhone.

Outside of these standardized programs, we also offer 100 scholarships to employees who want to
take an Executive Master of Business and Administration (EMBA) and covers 75% of the tuition fees.
This program is part time. The need for training is related to the job of each individual employee
and mainly identified through the annual compulsory appraisal dialogue.

Being a part of the Telenor Group, GrameenPhone employees also benefit from the hands-on
technology/know-how transfer of Telenor experts in different areas on a regular basis.

Our employees have the opportunity to participate in group-wide professional workshops and
placements in Telenor affiliates to gain additional relevant experience in their respective areas of
work.

Employee benefits
In addition to a relatively high salary, GrameenPhone employees are offered several benefits.

In an annual survey comparing 10 competitors and similar companies in other industries,


GrameenPhone identifies the wage distribution and bases its own wage levels on those in the
upper quartile. This yields a minimum monthly salary of 28000 BDT (408 USD). The national
average income for earners in non-agricultural sectors is 6000 BDT (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics
2005).

As a part of the employee policy, GrameenPhone is also providing monthly education grants to
children of all employees’ until the age of 21. This grant is a fixed monthly sum for each child.
Furthermore, these children can also apply for financial support to attend university.

In compliance with the local legislation GrameenPhone is building a pension fund for its
employees. In addition to the required minimum level, GrameenPhone also invests in provident
funds. 10 % of the employee’s salary is paid on a monthly basis into the fund.

Participation in the fund is voluntary. Following five years of employment, the company invests, in
addition to the 10% provided by the employee, the same amount into the fund for each individual.
All regular employees are also entitled to a gratuity payment paid at the end of his/her service with
the company and this is calculated based on the length of service.

All employees are entitled and covered by health and medical insurance. This also applies to family
members. This coverage has also been known to apply to out-source. An example of this is that
several drivers hurt in traffic accidents have been sent to Thailand and Singapore for medical
treatment.
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Code of Conduct
Upon entering the company, all employees must sign a code of conduct. The document presents
guidelines for proper conduct and ethical behavior. It is divided into four parts:

Firstly, general guidelines describe the rationale behind this document, namely the importance of
communicating corporate values and for employees to adopt them. This section includes broad,
overarching topics such as human worth, working environment, health, loyalty and confidentiality
and reporting/disclosure among others.

The second section refers to the relationship with customers, suppliers, competitors and public
authorities. The main message here is that all stakeholders should be treated with respect and that
unethical interaction, such as receiving expensive gifts and services are unacceptable.

The third section looks at the employee’s private interests and actions in relation to the company.
Here political activism and other external duties are encouraged up to the level where it will not
interfere with their work at GrameenPhone.

The last section emphasizes that all misconduct or indeed suspicions of such activity must be
reported immediately. It ensures the employee that no reprisals will be undertaken towards them.
In other words: whistle-blowing is allowed and promoted.

The most important aspect of this document is its comprehensive approach to conduct. In relation
to this point it is important to note that it is mandatory for all GrameenPhone employees to sign a
document agreeing to comply with this code.

Controlling the supply chain


GrameenPhone has according to the annual report (GrameenPhone 2007c), “implemented various
policies and procedures for ensuring strong governance at the company level”. This was also
highlighted in the interview with the HR director. Even out-sourced staff is offered training,
insurance and benefits partly as regular employees. Furthermore, all suppliers are to entitle to
respect, and the selection process for choosing suppliers is transparent for all parties involved.
However there are still some challenges which need to be overcome both in terms of the supplying
firms specifically and individuals employed through the supplier. This relates to implementing
stricter rules for health and safety, and making HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) training and
awareness a top priority. All in all GrameenPhone works to improve the system of supplier control.

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Standards for Health, Safety and Environment (HSE)
GrameenPhone has issued a manual for HSE work within the company. The manual is available in
all sections of the company and applies equally to permanent, contract and temporary employees.
The HSE policy is based on the corresponding policy in Telenor with certain local adaptations. The
Telenor policy is subject to internal control by Telenor ASA which in turn is then scrutinized by
external auditors. This ensures that high standards are kept.

The manual offers a comprehensive outline of the responsibilities and duties of GrameenPhone and
that of the individual employee. An important aspect of this is the medical consultancy and regular
check-ups provided for GrameenPhone employees in collaboration with authorized medical
centers. The manual offers an overview of the agreements with such centers and the employees are
made aware of their location and services. Furthermore, the HSE guidelines apply to all
stakeholders implying that external companies, such as suppliers have to follow the regulations as
well.

The policy includes specific measurement statistics and strict procedures for inspection and
reporting. All protective gear is described and prescribed and the closest supervisor is responsible
for making sure that each employee follows these procedures. Performance in accordance with the
guidelines is supervised continuously. For instance the drivers are subject to strict guidelines for
safe driving and as a result continuously monitored by the Fleet Management System, indeed a GPS
based surveillance system has been put in place to save costs, reduce environmental impact,
protect the drivers and make sure that conduct is in compliance with the HSE requirements.
Inspections and follow-ups are conducted at the beginning of every year or whenever the HSE
management finds it necessary.

Being one of the debt issuers at the establishment of GrameenPhone, the International Finance
Corporation (IFC) has set strict demands for HSE policies. When GrameenPhone developed its HSE
manual, the IFC placed it prominently on its homepage as a good model to follow. This could also
be viewed as another indication that GrameenPhone is a pioneer in the field of HSE management.

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CSR Policy & Practice
GrameenPhone aims to be a responsible corporate citizen of Bangladesh and this is reflected in its
slogan: “We are here to help”. CSR is considered very important by GrameenPhone. The Director of
New Business identifies three reasons for this; first, GrameenPhone has a connection to Grameen
Bank and DR. Muhammad Yunus and recognizes the importance of this, particularly in relation to
public opinion. Second, it has a connection to Norway which is well known for its involvement in
development issues in Bangladesh. Third, being the market leader, people tend to demand
responsibility and as a result CSR policies are usually clearly visible.

Projects and Program


CSR projects have always been a part of GrameenPhone. The VillagePhone program and
sponsorship of the national cricket team are examples of old CSR initiatives. However, the earlier
efforts were seen as too fragmented. Recently, CSR activities have been coordinated under a new
director and guided by a comprehensive strategy. The new strategy has pointed to three areas
where the CSR effort is to be directed; education, health and empowerment, all in accordance with
the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. However CSR can also be important for
developing new business opportunities.

In the area of education GrameenPhone aims to work mainly with primary schooling. However, one
engineering university has approached GrameenPhone with a request for support to build an ICT
lab. The idea is that the lab is run by the government and paid for by GrameenPhone, which will
also provide some of the equipment. In addition, scholarships for poor female students to attend
university are also offered by GrameenPhone.

Health is the largest area of CSR activity in GrameenPhone. Several programs and projects have
been established. One is in cooperation with US Agency for International Development (USAID)
supporting the Safe Motherhood and Infant Care Program which aims to provide health care to
underprivileged groups in the society. Another is in partnership with the Dhaka Ahsania Mission
Cancer & General Hospital. GrameenPhone is developing and sponsoring five new wards and an
operating theatre at the new hospital. One-third of the capacity of these wards will be reserved for
underprivileged people while the rest of the services will be offered at a discount. Moreover,
GrameenPhone cooperates with United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) focusing on the
spread and in particular the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Finally, in partnership with SightSavers International, GrameenPhone is arranging mobile, free “eye-
camps” in rural areas. To date three camps have been organized and funded and an agreement of
continuous cooperation has been signed. In general GrameenPhone is according to the Director of

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New Business, aiming to provide these mobile clinics with advanced technology for better
communications. This also includes combining health centers and CICs.
A focus on ‘empowerment’ is claimed to be an important aspect of other projects and programs
which GrameenPhone is involved in. CICs are seen as particularly important in this respect. Projects
with explicit objectives in terms of ‘empowerment’ have not been undertaken so far.

In addition to these three areas of focus, GrameenPhone sponsors the national cricket team and a
number of other socio-cultural events and activities.

Managing CSR
The overarching management guideline is that all CSR activities within GrameenPhone have to be
both long term and sustainable. An important part of this is monitoring and co-managing projects
with joint partners. All projects are to be reviewed on a quarterly basis and GrameenPhone
recognizes that partnerships are extremely important to obtain the desired results. The selection of
partners is based on the organizational experience and reputation within the country. International
Organizations such as USAID, UNAIDS and DFID are partners at present.

Summing up
The social aspects of GrameenPhone are plentiful:

 The impact from business activities such as: the Village Phone, the Community Information
Centers, the Health Line, the BillPay and the extensive customer’s service.

 The comprehensive Human Relation policy and practice including; Training and Human
Resource development, Employee benefits, Code of Conduct, Control of supply chain and
Standards for Health, Safety and Environment

 The emphasis on Social responsibility GrameenPhone is the largest mobile telecom network in
Bangladesh with a large and continuously expanding capacity. It is both the largest employer
and perhaps unsurprisingly the largest tax payer in the country. The technical, political and
financial contribution of the company is therefore substantial. It is currently operating within a
strict code of conduct, which also applies to all stakeholders. It has a professional and adapted
HR policy including HSE and training program, and extensive CSR and other related social
business activities.

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Professional Management
with Local Knowledge
Currently 10 out of 12 people in the management team are local. This team has been running the
company throughout the recent phases which have seen rapid growth. It seems as though the
development of local competence has been crucial for the success. Furthermore, Telenor has been
particularly important in facilitating much of the capacity building in GrameenPhone. This is due to
the following factors.

Through the Telenor Development Program, Telenor has set the standards for training and staff
development in GrameenPhone. The program is developed by Telenor and customized by
GrameenPhone for local variations, such as culture. Furthermore the hiring of a local, experienced
HR manager could be seen to have strengthened the course and direction of the HR work
including training and competence development. The synergies from Telenor are strong, but the
autonomy and the ability to make local adjustments are equally important. The consequence of
this is a system where all employees are given the possibility to develop up to the highest level of
management education and competence.

There is an impression that many managers were given new responsibilities. The result has been a
steep learning curve and rapid competence development. The fact that most of the employees in
GrameenPhone are below 30 and very few above 50, suggest that this strategy has been fruitful,
and that many managers are growing in their position. The goal of lowering the number of
expatriates working in the company is a lot more than a vision. It is also a reality. One can argue
that the future outlook for GrameenPhone is positive, mainly a result of, amongst other factors, its
young, dynamic and competent local workforce.

Telenor has provided management expertise from the beginning, most notably; all of the CEOs
have been sourced through Telenor. One could argue that placing key personnel in
GrameenPhone, Telenor was able to provide the company with extensive autonomy. Several
interviews suggested that this autonomy makes GrameenPhone different from other telecom
companies in Bangladesh. Based on this, one could suggest that Telenor has played an important
role in fuelling the success. Whether this will remain equally important in the future, is harder to
determine.

Some criticism has been pointed towards the local management regarding marketing. Public
opinion in Bangladesh suggests that the resources being put into marketing could be better used
lowering tariffs. The marketing budget of GrameenPhone is presently 4% of the total revenue.
However, observing the marketing situation in Bangladesh and advertising in particular, extensive

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marketing seems paramount to gain customers. Advertising through billboards, TV, radio and
newspapers takes a considerable part of the public sphere and in order to be noticed one has to be
aggressive. Or as noted by a director in the marketing division: “Everyone is shouting so we have to
shout louder. And we do”. In this reality one can argue that extensive marketing is necessary to be
able to compete. The alternative would be to lose market share.

In conclusion the development of a local and competent management team through extensive
training programs and a sound HR policy has been important for the overall success of
GrameenPhone. This goes for local autonomy and indeed Telenor as well.

Increasing competition
The market is already rather competitive with six mobile telecom operators in Bangladesh, five of
them with strong, international partners. This has resulted in lower prices, a larger range of services
and extensive marketing campaigns. So, the competition has played an important role in the
GrameenPhone success.

Higher competition has led to decreasing prices, and in turn lowered entry barriers for new
consumers. This combined with the declining price of mobile hand-sets; the growth of potential
customers has been considerable. The majority of new population segments reached by
GrameenPhone have been lower income consumers. This may have forced GrameenPhone to roll
out new services faster than it would else have, in order to avoid devastating price competition. It is
difficult to say whether the expansion of services have been beneficial for GrameenPhone in
business terms. It has however, as suggested earlier, seemingly been positive for the development
of Bangladesh. One could argue that fierce competition has forced GrameenPhone to innovate and
roll out new services, which is believed to have had an important effect on the development of
Bangladesh.

Page 18 of 31
Impact from
Business Activities
GrameenPhone business activities feature explicit social missions combined with business
objectives. The 2006 Annual Report (GrameenPhone 2006c) lists some of the most crucial business
activities, which are summarized in this section.

VillagePhone (VP) Program


The Village Phone Program works as an owner-operated pay phone. It has
created a good income-earning opportunity for the VP operators. These
are mostly poor women, also borrower members of Grameen Bank. The
VP Program is being visible in GrameenPhone from the start and it is a
distinct characteristic of the company. As of today, there are more than
260,000 VP operators in over 50,000 villages in 439 sub-districts of the
country. The societal effect of this Program has been subject to several
studies (Bayes et al. 1999; Richardson et al. 2000). It received the “GSM in
the Community” award at the GSM World Congress in Cannes, France in
February 2000. It is important to note that the growing number of
subscribers has led to a decline in the markets for the VP operators.

Community Information Centers (CIC)


The CIC are a small internet kiosks equipped
with a computer, a printer, a scanner, a web
cam and an EDGE-enabled modem to access
the Internet using the EDGE connectivity. They
are designed to be run independently as small
businesses by local entrepreneurs. Beneficiaries
use the centers for a wide variety of business
and personal purposes, ranging from accessing health and agricultural information to using
government services and video conferencing with relatives overseas. GrameenPhone takes an
active part in the training of these entrepreneurs, so that that they become fully aware of the
potential of their business, through the CICs. Since 2006, GrameenPhone has built 550 CICs
country-wide, employing 945 people. The objective of the CIC is to “bridge the digital divide” by
offering internet connectivity to a broad range of the population and to create business
opportunities for entrepreneurs throughout the country. It is an important part of GrameenPhone’s
CSR strategy.
Page 19 of 31
The CICs are started up and run by local entrepreneurs who are selected in a highly competitive
process. The establishment requires 1000 USD in start-up capital which sometimes is acquired from
microfinance institutions. But more often it is financed through the individual’s family. The average
income is 3-5 USD a day, yielding approximately 150 USD a month which also is the revenue target.
With this level of revenue the investment is paid back within a year. GrameenPhone is the facilitator
of this type of business through offering discounts on the internet service, the network capacity,
training and follow-up of the entrepreneur. Today however, it is estimated that only about half of
the CICs are sustainable, a problem which GrameenPhone is addressing by looking more rigidly at
the eligibility and selection criteria.

In addition to the services offered in a regular Cyber Café, the CIC offers specialized information
about employment opportunities. Furthermore it acts as a medium for government information
including forms, VISA applications and so on. It is meant to be the information nerve centre of the
local community.

HealthLine
In cooperation with the Telemedicine Reference Centre (TRCL),
GrameenPhone is offering, for subscribers, the HealthLine service, a
unique 24-hours Medical Call Centre manned by licensed
Physicians. Our HealthLine service is offering a range of services
including, general medical information, advice and information on
drugs, interpretation of laboratory reports, and help in medical
emergencies. The initiative started in November 2006, and it was
awarded a global award from GSM Association already in 2007. The
HealthLine service is financially sustainable.

The TRCL is at all times staffed by medical doctors. Most of the


problems are solved by the doctors individually or by consulting
specialist colleagues. Many of the staff-holds positions in local
hospitals in addition to the work at the TRCL.

Today, the service is manned with 24 doctors. It is answering 6000 telephone calls per day. TRCL
estimates that the total demand is close to 20 000 calls per day, but capacity constraints are
holding it back.

Page 20 of 31
BillPay
The BillPay service of GrameenPhone is giving people easier access to paying their utility bills by
using GrameenPhone’s extended network of retailers. A pilot project in Chittagong covering almost
300,000 electricity consumers is offering easy access to 500 retail stores giving customers an
opportunity to pay their bills without going to the bank. There are other advantages too, the Power
Development Board (PDB) - the electricity service provider, is getting its money in a safe transfer
and people face smaller transaction costs when paying their bills. The BillPay system has not been
extended nationally yet, but the pilot project is promising, and expansion plans are expected to
progress rapidly.

The greatest challenge for the BillPay is the weak financial infrastructure, the regulatory regime and
the small level of trust from customers. BillPay is a part of the larger Mobile Commerce road map
with an objective of increasing the availability of similar services in the future.

Extensive Customer Service


In accordance with the core value of
“make it easy”, GrameenPhone has built
an extensive network of service centers
and call centers. These centers are divided
into three categories. First, what the
annual report refers to as “the flagship”
are the GrameenPhone Centers. At present
80 such “One-Stop shops” for sale and
after sale service are operational.
Furthermore over 600 GrameenPhone
Customer Service desks are spread among
almost every sub-district of Bangladesh. GrameenPhone has also established two 24 hour services:
GrameenPhone Call Centre and the internet based Grahak Katha Online. Customer service
coverage is extensive. According to interviews and also an analysis of the annual report, a major
implication of this has been that travel time for after sale service has been reduced from eight
hours to now just one hour.

Access to the ‘Information Highway’


GrameenPhone launched the EDGE service, a high-speed data service providing wireless Internet
access, in September 2005. Now, the entire GrameenPhone nationwide network is EDGE enabled,
meaning any of its subscribers can access the Internet from anywhere in the country within it
coverage area. Presently, there are nearly 3 million EDGE users in the GrameenPhone network
compared with about only 600,000 fixed-line Internet users in the country. In other words,
GrameenPhone is also the largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Bangladesh. This indicates that
more people are accessing the Internet through mobile phones than through any other means. In a
country where the last-mile connectivity is only limited to certain areas of larger cities, this trend is
likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Page 21 of 31
7 reasons for being with GP
1. Nationwide Coverage
We at GrameenPhone have always been working to fulfill our aim: to keep
people stay connected, whether to their dear ones or to their business,
anywhere they go, may it be our country or around the world. Today we
cover every corner of our country through our wide coverage of the
network, helping people stay close to their near & dear ones.

2. Great thankyou Bonus and Discounts


We are blessed with customers, who are steadfastly loyal to us.
Thus, we have presented regular talk-time & discount to our valued
customers through our thankyou customer retention service.

3. Nationwide Customer Service


We are also providing the friendliest service, to all our customers, regardless of
their spending or duration of their stay. Not only that, we are present at most
number of locations throughout Bangladesh, catering at their convenience
through 121 Service, GPC & GPSD.

4. One-Stop Solutions at GPCs


GrameenPhone makes all kinds of mobile related services available at one
place, under one roof, through GrameenPhone Centers, as convenience of our
customers is one of our chief priorities.

5. Fastest Web Browsing


In this modern world, we ensure our valued customers can stay connected even
on the move. Thus, we have introduced EDGE, a fast & reliable mobile internet
service, for them to always stay informed. Our Community Information Centers
delivers the power of the internet to the remote villages of Bangladesh.

6. Nationwide FlexiLOAD Facilities


We have delivered convenience to our customers through our FlexiLOAD service,
reducing time required for recharging & paying bills.

7. 24-Hours HealthLine & Other Services


We are the pioneers in bringing new innovative services for our consumers,
based on communal or individual needs. HealthLine, Bill Pay, Pay-for-Me are
all here to make life easier & better for our customers.
Page 22 of 31
Overall Impact
From the above empirical description, GrameenPhone has contributed to development in
Bangladesh in several ways:

 Building technical infrastructure with increasingly more advanced services, working towards a
critical mass, where telecommunication impact on development will increase significantly.

 Through the transfer of technology and managerial expertise.

 Building production and maintenance capacity locally.

 Through strict codes of conduct possibly strengthening the norm against corruption.

 Individually, and through ATOB, working close with regulatory authorities against efficiency-
hindering policies.

 Through high production and related high tax payments, as well as through continuous
investments in competition and product differentiation. This results in a larger consumer
surplus.

 Wages and payments paid out to close 100,000 people, with considerable income effects.

 Through extended business activities such as CIC, BillPay and HealthLine reducing consumer
costs of basic services.

 Through professional HR practices and training programs enhancing human capital as well as
setting a standard for behaviour and conduct.

 Through community services which help fund basic services for poor people. It seems that the
impact of GrameenPhone on the development of Bangladesh is very significant, and also clearly
beyond what is traditionally expected from a private company, such as investments, wages and
taxes. The code of conduct, HSE policy, HR practices and extended business activities seem to
play an important role in GrameenPhone and also have effects beyond the company’s own
specific goals. A particularly interesting observation is the “intellectual domestication” process
going on, most likely implying increasing management independence.

Page 23 of 31
GP at a glance
Subject Description Status/Other
Operator, Network Name GrameenPhone Ltd. GrameenPhone / BGD-GP

Founder, Co-founder Iqbal Quadir DR. Muhammad Yunus

Permission & Inception 28 November, 1996 Bangladesh Government

Company Type Mobile Phone Operator Telecommunication

Service launching 26 March, 1997 Independence Day of Bangladesh

Services Circuit Switched 2G Inbound CAMEL Phase-2

Slogan We’re here to help Stay Close

Key People Mr. Anders Jensen, CEO Mr. Erik Aas (Former CEO)

No. of Customers More than 2,00,000,00 As of June, 2008

No. of Employees Over 5,052 As of WikiPedia.org

Network Type GSM 900 LIVE

No. of Towers (BTS) Over 10,000 As of GP’s Official Website

No. of Tower Locations 5,700 countrywide As of GP’s Official Website

2,500 Incoming + Outgoing Calls


Tower Range & Capacity 1.5 Kilometer
at a time

Card Type SIM Built-in Electronic Phonebook

Internet Connectivity EDGE/GSM Average 20KBPS Bandwidth*

Investments USD $ 1.6 Billion Till December, 2007

Annual Income ▲ USD $ 91.4 Million As of WikiPedia.com

Celebration Point, Road # 113/A,


Head Quarter Bangladesh
Plot 3 & 5, Gulshan-2, Dhaka.

Official Website www.grameenphone.com www.djuice.com.bd

Official Website Server Linux, Apache / Unix IP Address: 202.56.4.67

Page 24 of 31
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List of abbreviations
ADB – Asian Development Bank
AL – Awami League (political party)
APRU – Average Revenue per User
ASA – Microfinance Institution in Bangladesh (means “hope” in Bengali)
ATOB – Association of Telecom Operators in Bangladesh
BRAC – Microfinance Institution in Bangladesh formerly known as “Bangladesh Rural
Advancement Committee”
BDT – Bangladesh Taka (national currency)
BNP – Bangladesh Nationalist Party (political party)
BOI – Board of Investments in Bangladesh
BPI – Bribe Payer Index
BSR – Business for Social Responsibility
BTRC – Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission
CEO – Chief Executive Officer
CIC – Community Information Centers
CLO – Chief Learning Officer
CMO – Chief Marketing Officer
CPI – Corruption Perception Index
CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility
DFID – Department for International Development (UK)
EDGE - Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution
FDI – Foreign Direct Investments
GDP – Gross Domestic Product
GNI – Gross National Income
HR (M) – Human Resource (Management)
HSE – Health, Safety and Environment
IFC – International Finance Corporation
IFRS – International Financial Reporting Standard
IMF – International Monetary Fund
ISP – Internet Service Provider
ITU – International Telecom Union
MFI – Microfinance institutions
NBR – National Board of Revenue
NORAD – Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
NPL – Non-performing loans
PDB – Power Development Board
SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission
TDP – Telenor Development Process
TRCL – Telemedicine Reference Centre Ltd.
UNAIDS – United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS
UNDP - United Nation Development Program
USAID – United States Agency for International Development
Page 31 of 31