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Grameenphone Limited
Native name
Industry Mobile telecommunication services
Founded 1997 (1997) in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Founder Iqbal Quadir & Dr. Muhammad Yunus
Headquarters Baridhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Area served
Key people
Sadaf Islam (CEO)[1]
Services Mobile telephony, mobile internet
  • Increase ৳ 102.7 billion (2014)
  • ৳ 96.6 billion (2013)
  • Increase ৳ 36.9 billion (2014)
  • ৳ 33.2 billion (2013)
  • Increase ৳ 19.8 billion (2014)
  • ৳ 14.7 billion (2013)
Number of employees
4,260[3] (Q1, 2015)
Parent Telenor Mobile Communications AS

Grameenphone (Bengali: গ্রামীণফোন) (DSE: GP,[4] CSE: GP[5]), widely abbreviated as GP, is the leading telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh. With more than 50 million subscribers (as of October 2014),[6] Grameenphone is the largest mobile phone operator in the country. It is a joint venture between Telenor and Grameen Telecom Corporation, a non-profit sister concern of the microfinance organization and community development bank Grameen Bank. Telenor, the largest telecommunications company in Norway, owns a 55.8% share of Grameenphone, Grameen Telecom owns 34.2% and the remaining 10% is publicly held.[2]

Grameenphone was the first company to introduce GSM technology in Bangladesh, and built the first cellular network to cover 99% of the country.[7]


The idea of providing universal mobile phone access throughout Bangladesh, including its rural areas, motivated Iqbal Quadir to take action[8][9] He was inspired by the Grameen Bank microcredit model and envisioned a business model where a cell phone can serve as a source of income. After leaving his job as an investment banker in the United States, Quadir traveled back to Bangladesh, after meeting and successfully raising money from New York-based investor and philanthropist Joshua Mailman, and worked for three years gaining support from various organizations including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank and the Norwegian telephone company, Telenor.[10] He was finally successful in forming a consortium with Telenor and Grameen Bank to establish Grameenphone. Quadir remained a shareholder of Grameenphone until 2004.

Grameenphone received a license for cellular phone operation in Bangladesh from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications on November 28, 1996. Grameenphone started operations on March 26, 1997, the Independence Day in Bangladesh.

Grameenphone originally offered a mobile-to-mobile connectivity (widely known as GP-GP connection), which created a lot of enthusiasm among the users. It became the first operator to reach the million subscriber milestone as well as ten million subscriber milestone in Bangladesh.[citation needed]


On November 16, 2006, GP formally changed its logo to match its parent company Telenor's logo. According to GP the new logo symbolizes trust, reliability, quality and constant progress. The name Grameenphone was kept as part of the new identity because the name Grameenphone carries with it all of the heritage, success and values of the company's past, added the then CEO of GP.

Numbering scheme[edit]

Typical Grameenphone SIM Card

Grameenphone uses the following numbering scheme for its subscribers:

+880 17 XXXXXX24

880 is the ISD code for Bangladesh and is needed only in case of dialing from outside Bangladesh (otherwise, it may be substituted by a 0, making the prefix 017). 17 is the prefix for Grameenphone as allocated by the government of Bangladesh. The eight-digit number XXXXXXXX is the subscriber number.


According to Grameenphone, it has invested more than BDT 259 billion (USD 3.27 billion) to build the network infrastructure since 1997. It invested over BDT 15 billion in 2014 alone.

Grameenphone has built the largest cellular network in the country with over 8,000 base stations. As of presently, over 99 percent of the country's population is within the coverage area of the Grameenphone network.

The entire Grameenphone network is also GPRS/EDGE/3G enabled, allowing access to dial-up quality speed Internet and data services from anywhere within the coverage area. There are over 10 million GPRS/EDGE/3G users in the Grameenphone network. Also has 3G network at most of the urban and sub-urban area.[11]

Products offered[edit]

Mobile telephony[edit]

Grameenphone was the first operator to introduce the pre-paid mobile phone service in Bangladesh in September 1999. It offers the pre-paid subscription under the name Easy Prepaid which is currently called "Nishchinto, Amontron, Shohoj, Bondhu, Aapon, Smile, Spondon, Business Solution prepaid". Besides Nishchinto, Amontron, Shohoj, Bondhu, Aapon, Smile, Spondon, Business Solution, Grameenphone also offers a youth based mobile to mobile connectivity within Bangladesh named djuice'.[12]

Grameenphone offers postpaid mobile service. Xplore Postpaid is the name of its post paid service.[13] Grameenphone provides several other packages which can be selected based on the type of tariff or features like pulse, sms, internet. Detailed information about packages provided by Grameenphone can be found dialling 121 from your Grameenphone number and can also be found using the official Grameenphone android app available for free download on Google Play Store.

Other services[edit]

  • Internet: Grameenphone provides Internet service in its coverage area. As it has EDGE/GPRS/3G enabled network, any subscriber can access to internet through this network. Grameenphone was the first mobile operator in Bangladesh to offer EDGE and 3G services to its subscribers.[11]
  • BillPay is a service to enable users to pay their utility bills Electricity/Gas through mobile.[14]
  • is a service (formerly known as CellBaazar) to enable users sell or buy products through mobile or internet.And it is free to use for all Grameenphone customers.[15]
  • Various other services like stock information, Instant Messaging, SMS Based Alerts/Services, Voice-based Services, Downloads, music, Cricket Updates, Web SMS, Mobile Backup etc.

Corporate social responsibility[edit]

Grameenphone has several projects related to social responsibility.[16] These include:

  1. Online school: Currently 10 online schools are operating around the country, where children are being educated through video conference by the teachers stationed in Dhaka.[17]
  2. Safe Motherhood & Infant Care Project- More than 1.7 million free primary healthcare services to underprivileged pregnant mothers & their infants.[18]
  3. Free eye care support for around 28,780 people- 3,458 eye sights restored so far.[18]
  4. Awareness building on varied national issues- AIDS, National Immunization Day.[18]
  5. Information boats with digitized livelihood contents and internal access for remote riverine communities.[19]
  6. Economic freedom for more than 400,000 Village Phone Operators.[20]
  7. More than 500 Community Information Centers- connecting life and learning.[21]
  8. Sponsor of Bangladesh Special Olympics team.
  9. Sponsor of Bangladesh National Cricket team.
  10. Employment opportunity to acid survivors.
  11. Scholarship for underprivileged meritorious students.
  12. Blood donation camps for underprivileged Thalassaemia patients.
  13. Establishment of Blood Bank at Bogra for underprivileged patients.
  14. Emergency relief effort in natural calamities.

Other activities[edit]

Village phone[edit]

With the help of Grameenphone, Grameen Telecom operates the national Village Phone programme, alongside its own parent Grameen Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), acting as the sole provider of telecommunications services to a number of rural areas. Most Village Phone participants are women living in remote areas. Village Phone works as an owner-operated GSM payphone whereby a borrower takes a BDT 12,000 (USD 200) loan from Grameen Bank to subscribe to GP (Grameenphone) and is then trained on how to operate it and how to charge others to use it at a profit. As of September 2006, there are more than 255,000 Village Phones in operation in 55,000 villages around Bangladesh. This program has been replicated also in some other countries including in Uganda and Rwanda in Africa.[22]

A typical Grameenphone tower

Community Information Centers[edit]

Community Information Center (CIC) or GPCIC is aimed at providing internet access and other communications services to rural areas. In February 2006, 26 CICs were established across the country as a pilot project.[23] In this project, Grameenphone provides GSM/EDGE/GPRS infrastructure and technical support and other partners Grameen Telecom Corporation and Society for Economic and Basic Advancement (SEBA), are involved in selecting and training entrepreneurs to run the village centers. The computers in these centers in the pilot project are used by an average of 30 people a day, who pay a small fee to access email or web pages.[22] These CICs are used for a wide variety of business and personal purposes, from accessing health and agricultural information to using government services to video conferencing with relatives overseas. Grameenphone also trains the entrepreneurs so that they can give people advice on how to set up an e-mail account and best make use of the Internet.

CIC project is giving up to 20 million people the chance to use the Internet and e-mail for the first time. Following a successful pilot project, Grameenphone is going to set up approximately 560 centers in communities throughout Bangladesh by the end of 2006. The centers will be located in each Upazila (sub-district) of Bangladesh. As a result, up to 15 villages containing up to 40,000 people will be within reach of each CIC. In this information center, there will be personal computers connected to Grameenphone's existing GSM mobile network, which has been upgraded with EDGE technology to offer data transfer speeds of up to 16 kilobytes per second.[22]

Grameenphone centers[edit]

A GPC at Gulshan, Dhaka
A franchised gpc at Tejgaon, Dhaka

A grameenphone center (GPC) serves as a "one stop solution" for customers, with all telecommunications products and services, under a single roof. A grameenphone center also sells phones from vendors like Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sagem and Benq. EDGE/GPRS modems and accessories such chargers and headphones are also sold at GPCs.

As of February 2013, there are 85[24] GPCs and they are strategically located at all major locations of the country is operated by Grameenphone.


  1. In 2002, Grameenphone was adjudged the Joint Venture Enterprise of the Year at the Bangladesh Business Awards.[25]
  2. In the next year, 2007, Grameenphone was again presented with the same award for its `HealthLine Service' at the 3GSM World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, in February.[26]


Illegal VoIP operations[edit]

In October, 2007 the government of Bangladesh fined Grameenphone US$ 24.5 million for illegally depriving the government of revenue by ignoring laws requiring private operators to use the state-owned BTTB land phone network for international calls by its subscribers, when they used Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to receive such calls.[27]

It soon emerged that GP was making a bigger business out of VoIP operations than initially stated. They were providing a host of ISPs and operators services that enabled VoIP. In December 2007, Grameenphone's corporate office was raided by government agencies and documents were confiscated. This was in connection to Grameenphone providing VoIP equipment and services to an ISP, AccessTel. This fact was not disclosed by Grameenphone when it was fined just two months ago. Grameenphone representatives commented “some additional irregularities were found” regarding Grameenphone providing special services to illegal VoIP operators.[28]

In January 2008, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has filed a case against GP's two former CEOs and other officials for involvement in illegal VoIP business.[29]

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has fined Grameenphone Tk 2500 million for illegal VoIP business, the second time the country's largest mobile phone operator has been penalized for such rogue activities, the telecoms regulators announced in August 2008.[30]


  1. ^ "Rajeev Sethi new CEO of Grameenphone". 20 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Grameenphone. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Telenor Group - Grameenphone, Bangladesh". Telenor Group. 
  4. ^ "Display Company Information: GP". Dhaka Stock Exchange. 
  5. ^ "Company Information - GP". Chittagong Stock Exchange. 
  6. ^ "Grameenphone Serving 50 Million Customers in Bangladesh". Grameenphone (Press release). 14 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Our Story". Grameenphone. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Isenberg, Daniel J.; Lane, David; Knoop, Carin-Isabel (12 March 2007). "Iqbal Quadir, Gonofone, and the Creation of GrameenPhone (Bangladesh)". Harvard Business Review. 
  9. ^ "Power to the People". The Economist. 9 March 2006. 
  10. ^ "Iqbal Quadir: Opportunity Comes Calling". Asiaweek. TIME. 29 June 2001. Archived from the original on 2 August 2001. 
  11. ^ a b "History". Grameenphone. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008. 
  12. ^ Grameenphone Official Site Prepaid
  13. ^ Grameenphone Official Site Postpaid
  14. ^ Gremeenphone Official Site Billpay
  15. ^ Grameenphone Official Site Cellbazaar
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Education". Grameenphone. 
  18. ^ a b c "Health". Grameenphone. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b c "Grameenphone Rolls Out Affordable Internet Access Across Bangladesh". GSM Association (Press release). 17 October 2006. 
  23. ^ "GrameenPhone's internet project reaches out to villages". TeleGeography. 6 July 2006. 
  24. ^ Grameenphone Official site :: Location of Grameenphone Centers
  25. ^ "Local News on Bangladesh". Sustainable Development Networking Programme. 16 March 2003. 
  26. ^ "GSM Association Announces 2007 Global Mobile Awards Winners". GSM Association (Press release). 13 February 2007. Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. 
  27. ^ "Norway's Telenor unit in Bangladesh fined 24.5 million dollars". AFP. 7 October 2007. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. 
  28. ^ "GP-supplied equipment seized from house of AccessTel owner". The Daily Star. 7 December 2007. 
  29. ^ "". [dead link]
  30. ^ "BdNews24: GrameenPhone Fined Tk 250 crore: BTRC". Bauani's Historical Blog (Blog). 16 August 2008. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. 

External links[edit]