INTRODUCTION November 28, 1996 Grameen phone was offered a cellular license in Bangladesh by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications March 26, 1997 Grameen phone launched its service on the Independence Day of Bangladesh November 5, 2006 After almost 10 years of operation, Grameen phone has over 10 million subscribers September 20, 2007 Grameenphone announces 15 million subscribers. 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 30 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, Grameen phone 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.
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. Grameen phone 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, Grameen phone 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 Grameen phone network. Grameen phone 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 Grameen phone 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 Grameen phone 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. 6 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 72 Grameenphone Centers in all the divisional cities and they remain open from 8am-7pm 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 and temporary 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.
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. Grameen Telecom, with the help of Grameen Bank, administers the Village Phone Program, through which GrameenPhone provides its services to the fast growing rural customers.
Grameen Telecom trains the operators, supplies them with handsets and handles all service-related issues. Grameen Bank currently covers more than 67,000 villages which are serviced by 2121 bank branches all over the countryside. As of may 2006, the bank had 6. 33 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom were women. Grameen Telecom’s objectives are to provide easy access to GSM cellular services in rural Bangladesh, creating new opportunities for income generation through self- employment by providing villagers with access to modern information and communication based technologies.
Management process in Grameenphone: In the fast-paced world of telecommunications, vibrant and dynamic Corporate Governance practices are an essential ingredient to success. Grameenphone believes in the continued improvement of corporate governance. This in turn has led the Company to commit considerable resources and implement internationally accepted Corporate Standards in its day-to-day operations. Being a public limited company, the Board of Directors of Grameenphone has a pivotal role to play in meeting all stakeholders’ interests.
The Board of Directors and the Management Team of Grameenphone are committed to maintaining effective Corporate Governance through a culture of accountability, transparency, well-understood policies and procedures. The Board of Directors and the Management Team also persevere to maintain compliance of all laws of Bangladesh and all internally documented regulations, policies and procedures. Grameenphone is a truly transparent company that operates at the highest levels of integrity and accountability on a global standard.
Through this channel Grameenphone does complete their management process. That means they do planning by maintaining this formal process and thereafter from the concision of all the board of directors they design those plan. Next it is the duty of chief technology officer, chief marketing officer, chief finance officer, company secretary and chief human resource officer to organize those plans and to control them to get efficient and effective result. Believing in the ethos of corporate social responsibility, Grameenphone always strives to up hold the standards in all its business operations.
However, Grameenphone is aware that this is a continuous process and there are always opportunities to raise the collective performance level. Due to Grameenphone’s scale of operations dispersed across the country while the local vendors/suppliers having low awareness on standard practices, they consistently endeavor to address those plans through necessary phase-by-phase capacity building exercises. GP performs both external and internal analysis to design their plans and this is done under following way:
For external analysis they find out opportunities, threats, changing industry boundaries, sector etc for each plan that is determined by the directors in any meeting and then they design those plans according to the findings of the research and thereafter organize them and control them to get the best result. Next for internal analysis they follow the following path: Shape Management ProcessCompetitive advantage 1. Planning 2. Organizing 3. Designing 4. Controlling Superior profitability This is how the total management process is done in Grameenphone. ———————– Distinctive competencies
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