Village Phone is a concept that combines the experience of the
Grameen Bank with village-based micro-enterprises and the latest
digital wireless technology to provide modern telecommunication
services to the poor in Bangladesh. The Grameen Bank plays a vital
role in the execution and expansion of the Village Phone programmes
through Grameen Telecom, a not-for-profit company that has been
entrusted with the responsibility of providing telecommunication
services in rural areas.
objectives of the Village Phone programme are to provide easy access
to telephone services in the rural areas of Bangladesh and to
initiate new income-generating options for villagers by gradually
bringing the full potential of the information revolution to their
doorsteps through the use of telecommunication as a new weapon
labour mobility and the marketing of agricultural products have
resulted in enhanced demand for telephone services. The Village
Phone programme provides universal access to telephone services in
rural Bangladesh. A person may not own a telephone but she or he now
has access to a telephone nearby.
Village Phone programme promotes community phones in villages where
private telephones are still a rarity. There are currently 5,000
village phones operational in Bangladesh and they provide telephone
access to some 12.5 million rural people. GrameenPhone charges taka
2.00 per minute for local calls at peak hour, compared to taka 4.00
for urban subscribers.