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A Working Report on Grameen Phone Community Information Center (Gpcic)

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    I am truly grateful to all the employees of Grameen phone Community Information Center (GP CIC) especially my super visor, Mr. Md. Shafiqul Islam Sikdar. And to end with, I would like to express my extreme appreciation to my honorable supervisor, Mr. Md. Sohel Islam and to my respected instructor Mr. Md. Muzahid Akbar.

    Their precious contributions enhanced my self-belief and helped me to finish my study in time as well. III Executive Summary CIC initiative taken by Grameen phone – is a countrywide massive network grown in the last few years with over 500 centers across 450 Upazilla of the country which is designed to provide he benefits of internet service among the disadvantaged population and increase employment in this part of the country.

    Despite of such success of self-sustainability of most of the centers, around 10% of them are still struggling financially. In the point of time, when it is planned to expand the initiative, it is necessary to understand the dynamics behind success of such centers and take stock of work so far so as to effectively replicate the experiences and success stories. This report is basically prepared to asses the current business condition and future prospects of he project CIC, in the context of Grameen phone.

    Even though, I tried to gather as much information as possible relevant to the purpose of the study, still some necessary data might be missing in order to follow the rule of the company confidentiality. However, both primary and secondary sources were used to collect data for the study. Interviews were taken of the User, Non user, GP CIC employees and some Entrepreneurs of the CIC. Secondary data were collected from the Internet, Journals, and Newspapers and from the company Grameen phone itself.

    Grameen phone Ltd and the rest 62% owns by Telenor AS, the leading cell company in Norway. It has listed both in Oslo and NASDAQ stock exchange. Grameen phone Ltd considers them as a medium to connect the people through their mobility. Management has brought a change in the organizational structure in view of need of time. As of the recent change, line function of the company comprises of the 7 major tasks. These are: Networks (IT & Technical) Commercial (Sales, Marketing, Distribution, Logistics, Data & New Business, segments, Regional Sales) Communications (Corporate Communications, Information, Public Relations, CSR)

    Finance (Finance, SCM,HSSE) HR & Admin. Customer service Corporate Affairs & Government Relations A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC)

    FLOW CHART OF THE COMPANY: A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC)

    Background of the Report

    After the completion of Four years (12 semesters) BBA Program of Independent University ? Bangladesh; 3 months organizational attachment is a must. I completed this internship period in ? Grameen phone Ltd (GP), the number one telecommunication company in Bangladesh. I worked he GPCIC (Grameen Phone Community Information Center) project under Data and new Business, Commercial Division. I focused on Roll Out, Operation & Technical Support of the project. After the kind approval of my instructor, the report originated.

    Objectives of the Report

    The objective of this working report is to figure out & debrief the over all process of the Roll Out, Operation & Technical Support Team. Initiative was also taken to find out the reason behind the GPCIC s success. Understanding the need for information center in rural areas of Bangladesh. ? Understanding the reason behind successful CIC. Understanding the reason behind drop out CIC. ? Understanding the concept of CIC as a social business initiative. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC)

    Methodology of the Study

    The study required a holistic approach to adequately diagnose the over all circumstance of the CICs. Thus it required a combination of Primary and secondary data collection. Primary – to get an in depth understanding of the entire CIC dynamics / issues from different respondent groups and help fine tune the KSF (Key Success Factors) determinants and Secondary – To capture all etails including cross examination of the KSFs, keeping the study objective in view. The proposed methodology is outlined below: Primary data collection: Primary data have been collected directly to solve the problem at hand. The primary data were collected through taking feedback from the under mentioned sources. CIC operators GP Employees related to CICs Users Non-users Secondary data collection: Secondary data were collected through Internet CIC Booklet CIC report in Media Other secondary source

    Limitations of the Report

    Alike most of the study time was a constraint for doing this treatise.

    Since I have been allotted a time frame of three months for my intern it was almost impossible to get the actual figure which can reflect the result of the study with 100% accuracy. The other restraint for executing the study A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 5 was the limited access to the internal issues. As an intern, I had very little access in the decision making and other sensitive confidential issues. On the other hand, different centers are located in the rural areas and it is hardly possible to contact with them. Thus, I had to take the interviews via Telephone.

    As a result, it was really inflexible to identify the actual outcome. Moreover, the financial statements of GP for 2009 have not been published yet. As a result, most of the data those have been provided in the organizational part is based on year 2008.

    Over View of the Approach

    GP employee Feedback: Partnership arrangement with CICs, Support services made available to the CICs. Need Gap analysis, Reasons for Good or Poor performance etc. Secondary data collection : Area profiling, verify population density, presence and location of important socio-economic, business, educational or other infrastructures ith particular relevance to CIC success. Non-user Feedback: Awareness on CICs & service bundle Need/demand for CIC services, Reasons for not using CIC services.

    Way forward to attract non-users. Profile User Feedback: Awareness on service bundle, Services availed, Role of CIC in their life and living. Need Gap assessment, User profiling. CIC Feedback: CIC Entrepreneur Interview. To explore service bundle offered, services on demand, opportunity lost or problem encountered, complaint handling, customer services profitability etc. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 3

    Grameen Phone Community Information Center (Gpcic)

    What is GPCIC? The Grameen phone Community Information Center is a shared premise where rural people may access a wide-range of state of art services such as Internet, voice communications, video conferencing and other information services. This initiative is part of Grameen phone s drive to do something good for the rural community, which is a major portion of the population of the country. CICs developed a unique business model that was highly applauded by local government the International community .

    Set up with technical assistance from the GSM Association, Grameen phone Community Information Centers (GPCICs) are equipped with the minimum of a computer, a printer, a scanner, a webcam and an EDGE-enabled modem, to access the Internet using Grameen phone s nation? -wide EDGE connectivity. The pilot project started in February 2006 with 16 CICs; today the project has become a massive operation with over 500 CICs operational in nearly 450 Upazilla s. The short-term plan of this initiative is to establish at least one CIC in each of the 462 Upazilla s. In the long? -run Grameen phone plans to increase the umber of CICs substantially so that very CIC can support the information needs of four adjacent villages. GPCICs are designed to be run independently as small businesses by local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs are trained and are provided with continuous support from Grameen phone. To help the entrepreneurs earn a living, Community Information Centers also provide other Grameen phone services, such as payphones (again using Grameen phone’s mobile network) and electronic recharges (Flexi load) for prepaid and postpaid mobile accounts. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC)

    Objective of the Cics:

    GP’s perspective: Create access to information Generate employment Produce business through self sustained economic activities Socio-economic upliftment of the rural masses Brighten GP s image as Social Entrepreneur? Bridging the digital-divide Entrepreneur’s perspective: Working with Viable business case Opportunity to promote ICT in the local community. How to form a CIC? Technical Option A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 8 CIC User User ` MS Windows XP/Linux USB UPS Backup Mainline Power Supply Internet Modem Basic Option Multiple Terminal CIC User CIC User 1GB link CIC User

    Terminal w/ keyboard & mouse Terminal w/ keyboard & mouse Terminal w/ keyboard & mouse NIVO unit NIVO unit Mainline Power Supply USB EDGE Modem ` Linux Server UPS Backup Switch NIVO unit A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 9 General services available in the GPCIC : Internet surfing and e-mailing Content on health, agriculture, etc. Locally relevant customized and open content Chatting with Voice, Picture Video conferencing Typing Scanning, Printing Commercial Mobile Call E-governance services GP value added services such as Flexi Load, Ring tones downloading etc.


    Bangladesh is an agrarian country. Literacy rate is below 30%. There is a tendency in the populace to leave their village homes in search of livelihood in the already overcrowded cities. These situations must have to be altered and the trend need be reversed soon enough. By creating job opportunities in the villages positive impacts ? on the socio-economic sphere has been made. IMPACT ON GP’s BUSINESS The proposed business model implicated local entrepreneurs; generate business activities in the rural Bangladesh. Business had run as self sustained business units. This has eventually onsequent in positive financial impacts on the business of GP as well.

    Impact on Telecom and Information Technology Sector

    Telecom is the thrust sector in the country. To keep pace with the rest of the world, Bangladesh has no other alternative but to pace its advancement in telecommunications and tele-density in both voice and data. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 12 GP has noticeably performed in fulfilling its obligation towards Universal Service Obligation in telecom. This project has implemented at the initiatives of GP, has endear GP to the Regulator, he Government and the mass to a great extent.


    The inhabitants of the villages have come across many educational opportunities through these centers. These would enrich their knowledge. The training facility at the centers provides them the opportunity to learn more about ICT. The literacy rate has increased eventually.


    Bangladesh is mainly an agricultural country with nearly 75 percent of the population dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Agriculture accounts for approximately 30 percent of Bangladesh s GD? P. Improved farming techniques and the use of irrigation and high-yield grains ave greatly increased Bangladesh s agricultural output. This project provided the rural population of Bangladesh with information on issues related to agriculture.

    These sites reckoned for information on plants, plant diseases, types of farming, use of pesticides and herbicides etc. Apart from having a vast reservoir of information, CICs keep farmers updated on various agriculture related Government schemes, their details, duration of offer and eligibility. Availing these schemes is beneficial to farmers and local entrepreneur will assist farmers in procuring other details, thus saving their time and energy.


    Information on health helps the citizens remain healthy and fit. It has covered a wide range of topics from Pregnancy to Child health to First Aid tips. Project gives the shortcuts, the little- known tricks and proven methods to help everybody in their quest for good health. By A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 13 understanding the basic principles of healthy living and applying them with sense and moderation, people can vastly improve the quality and well increase the length of their lives. Through a section like “Ask the Doctor” citizen posts any query regarding health advice.

    CIC has forwarded this query to panel of specialists in Dhaka and people can get a reply. The advances in medicine have truly been staggering. Applying what we already know to the healthcare can lead to continued good health. The project introduces Telemedicine facilities in the long run.


    It is appreciated from the implementation experience of the project in Bangladesh that there is a direct employment generation for at least one person for each center. After the activity peaks up, with passage of time, at least three persons are indirectly supported by each center which holds a romise for significant employment generation from this project.

    Gender Equity

    Government of Bangladesh has announced equal opportunity for women. Parliament has reserved seats for women members. For other areas also, there are many opportunities forthcoming to the rural women for which information and knowledge are lacking. The Community Centers, established on the principle of inclusion, brought better knowledge to women. Knowledge brought options, options have created opportunities and opportunities lead to reduction of gender inequality and increase sustainable development of family and the ommunity.

    Digital Divide

    Out of 80% of Bangladesh population living in rural and remote areas has little to no access to information. There are many governmental poverty alleviation and development schemes, health A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 14 advisory bulletins, information pertaining to citizen-charter, legislation and so on for the rural people, information which do not reach them. But because of the implementation of the CIC empowerment of rural citizen has taken place through these ICT enabled centers by way of rapid flow of information on such issues.

    Thus the digital divide narrowed up in the long run in the rural Bangladesh.

    ACTIVITIES THAT I PERFORMED: CIC Identification: Sort out growth centers from LGRD database. A total of 6500 growth centers identified through out the country. Entrepreneur Selection: Archive CIC Entrepreneur application form in electronic database. Assigned weight to application form as per pre set criteria. Responded to entrepreneurs general query over email.? Database Creation: Created a simple database in excel format for closed CIC where commissioning to closing of the project activities was considered. Cut off date was 10 th

    August 2009. CIC Product Support: Mapped CIC with reload distributors according to their respected territory. Total 87 CICs were mapped with corresponding distributors for Flexi load / reload SIM handover to CIC entrepreneur. Follow up Flexi load out of stock balance for 550 GPCICs. Feed back collection: Collected post event feedback from the Entrepreneurs for various ATL and BTL activities undertaken by Grameen Phone. Assisted in ad hoc task of monitoring & evaluation of implementing agency.

    Mentionable, both ATL and BTL program is carried out by GP to build awareness about GPCIC & promote CIC s service different target audience. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 15 Online & Over phone training: Occasionally I was blessed with the responsibility to help CIC Training team members to train entrepreneurs over phone and email. The basic task was to guide the entrepreneurs to navigate to appropriate URL for fertilizer recommendation software. Total 30 CIC training were conducted by me. Assisted in other ad hoc tasks by CIC team members as and when it was necessary.

    Challenges That I Faced

    GrameenPhone has a fair recruitment policy. This policy can be classified as a Regular,

    Contractual, and Part-Time & Intern. Every individual Duties, Rights & responsibilities have been clearly defined in the employment term. The organization environments are conducive of applying theoretical knowledge in to reality. Like many other big corporate houses GrameenPhone share information on need to know basis. Sometimes it has been felt that people in GP work under strict deadline. They focus more on their immediate deliverables. That time it is difficult to seek their valuable time on any issue for further clarification or to clear up my concept. During CIC field visit it was difficult to move independently.

    It can be said that CIC center are geographically dispersed. Visiting CIC from different category (e. g. state in their life cycle, revenue earning status, different level of enterprising quality, and varying service augmentation by end user, successful & unsuccessful CIC) need considerable time, money & energy. Due to their nation wide presence getting all kind of CIC in a single/ few short tour plans is not possible. Strong external competitor has not emerged for CIC till time. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC)

    Learning Through the Internship Program New Cic Roll Out

    • To establish new CIC in uncovered Upazilla GP follow bellow mentioned steps.
    • Site Identification: Identify Upazilla & establish CIC considering demography, growth center, and long term Business viability.
    • Press advertisement: GP go for press Advertisement for getting application from prospective entrepreneur.
    • Site Selection & Data collection: So many technical details e. g. Serving cell, / neighboring cell & longitude latitude, radio condition, shop dimension data collected to choose from competing center.

    Finally CIC team Short list CIC site according to field data.

    Entrepreneurs Selection: CIC team Evaluate application among competing alternatives. Then Follow competitive selection process, Call for interview, Select the entrepreneur. Finally, pass the selected entrepreneur list to training team.

    • Agreement Signing & Logistics Distribution: Following steps are taken in to account
    • Administer agreement signing with Individual entrepreneur Immediately after training session
    • Compliance issue
    • Distribute GP WAN & GPPP SIM
    • Distribute banner, festoon Poster, leaflet, & other POSM. Soft Launch: at this stage under mentioned steps need consideration
    • Activate Sim. Verify soft launch status through BSCS, TAPS & other tools. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) Channel Dedication / FPDCH Definition
    • Sending request to concerned technical department to Identify of serving cell and needful channel dedication. Getting feedback from networks & test performance.
    • Update in life cycle database
    • Collect external antenna for CIC with Poor network quality.

    Shop Profiling

    • Raise Purchase Requisitions for all kind of Branding, Profiling & marketing materials
    • Communicate with Brand or Creative for design related issue
    • Allocate work among vendor to maximize efficiency
    • Confirm work completion & quality in delivery with entrepreneur
    • Create move order to disburse bill from finance.

    Reload SIM Handover:

    • send request to reload department
    • reload verifies according to agreed process
    • reload register SIM & send to regional reload
    • Regional reload distribute Flexi load SIM to distributor
    • Distributor handover Flexi load SIM to entrepreneur. C CI IC C O OP PE ER RA AT TI IO ON NS S 1. CIC Product maintenance: under mentioned things are taken into account for CIC Product maintenance.
    • GP WAN ,GPPP, & Flexi load Bar – Unbar issue
    1. Sim Replacement
    2. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 18
    3. Credit Limit fixation
    4. Grace period issue
    5. Update sales report in ERP
    6. Providing necessary VAT & TAX Treatment
    7. Ensure smooth operation of CIC operation
    8. Follow up bill collection
    9. Follow up agreement terms
    10. Make shift of apparatus for disqualified Entrepreneurs: under mentioned things are taken into account for Make shift cases Inform regional team regarding disqualification
    11. Collect SIM from CIC entrepreneur
    12. Collect marketing materials from CIC entrepreneur
    13. Collect Signboard from CIC
    14. Adjacent CIC Survey: Following steps are done

    And the long existing traditional practices are being changed. Examples are the changed practice of checking results of government exams through the internet, looking for education related information using internet, increased level of email use, seeking different government forms through internet. Off course it requires time and effort for behavioral change of people. However, the change is taking place. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) 21 The other important aspect is the absence of strong competitor in the market in the areas of such services.

    And a large space for work exists related to service development focused to not only the rural part of the country but also for the urban part. This creates a huge opportunity for the service providers to grab the market before other competitors and remain ahead of them. Negative Findings: Pricing strategy The current pricing strategy is resulting disadvantage for the CICs as any potential shop can have an internet SIM and start providing internet service. This situation keeps no competitive edge for the CICs in some short term business cases. ? Lack of skill among the entrepreneurs:

    The average computer skill & English language comprehension skill are barely minimum to support CIC operation . However GP is taking manifold program to develop entrepreneurs skill set. Practicality is human capacity development is very costly & time taking matter. Sometimes people can actually visualize true benefit of ICT.


    The key issue for sustainability is sufficient revenue which can be obtained through creating demand in the form of awareness building. Well designed communication should e carried out which would be understandable to the target community. Both ATL and BTL are required to generate sufficient awareness and understanding on the services. Promotional programs should be developed around the benefits of the services and success stories should be highlighted. Within the process technical terms/words should be avoided. Service bundle should be designed based on the demand and profitability and new service line should be added.

    Usage of existing information service i. e. contents has to be increased as well. Monthly internet charge for the CICs should be reduced compared to others providing ompetitive edge for the entrepreneurs. Educated young person with higher educational level, higher computer skill and pleasant personality should be preferred. Partner organizations should also be requested to recommend for such candidates. Sufficient speed for internet should be ensured for smooth running of the business. Skill of the entrepreneurs should ensured by providing proper training to the entrepreneurs specially in the area of identifying proper address/ source of information ability to find appropriate information from right place and deliver the service to the users with faster speed.

    To keep the motivation level of the entrepreneurs, increased communication should be ensured. Regular workshops and training programs can serve the purpose. A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) Technical support should also be strengthened and appropriate method of communication should be developed for faster service. Local influential persons should be involved with this initiative as they have a strong influence and reliability within the community. And finally, image crisis of the CICs should be overcome. The CICs should be differentiated from a „Flexi-load shop .

    Different colors and designs from other shops can ? be used for differentiating purpose.


    The internship program helped me discover a new era of ICT innovation for the latest world of art & technology. Telephone & internet (Mobile plus Landline) Penetration in Bangladesh is less than 30 % & 3% respectively. It s a green field market for CIC (generic name Telecenter) in ? Bangladesh. Here I found that ICT can bring meaningful changes for the country people. Other landline & PSTN operator can also initiate such project as social business. The business model is self sustainable.

    Mutation Parcha along with DCR in the name site owner in respect of the site, land and building. Succession certificate (if the site owner acquires the title and possession by way of inheritance). Registered Power of Attorney (if the site is controlled, managed, supervised and possessed by the constituted lawful attorney on behalf of the actual site owner) Resolution of Governing Body including by-laws (applicable only in the cases when the site belongs to any school, college, trust, society or similar institution/organization. )

    Approval for construction, plan and structural design of the site building from concerned local overnment authority Approval for commercial use of the site building from concerned local government authority, if the building is located within any residential area Holding Tax Receipt, if the site building is located within any city corporation/municipality area Copy Of recent Utility Bill Trade License of the Entrepreneur Supporting documents checklist Part 7 Business compliance documents Part 8 Hardware checklist Part 6 A Working Report on Grameen phone Community Information Center (GPCIC) You must now read the declaration below and sign it.

    This must be signed by the applicant personally nd not by a representative or other person acting on his/her behalf. I hereby apply for owning a GPCIC. The information I have given is complete and true to the best of my knowledge. I also declare that the photograph submitted with this form is a true likeness of myself. I understand that all information provided by me will be processed for evaluation of my candidature for GPCIC entrepreneurship and I also consent the processing of information provided by me by GPCIC.

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