Posted by: Lilly | April 3, 2008

From the Web – Mobile Gram in Bangladesh and Washington Post story

The message below (reproduced as posted) comes from a webgroup I belong to and describes a successful operation of small amounts transfer in Bangladesh via mobile phones.  It was sent in response to a Washington Post story entitled “Three Firms Combine on Cellphone Remittances” which announced a new service by Western Union, Radio Shack and the small wireless carrier Trumpet Mobile from the beginning of April which hopes to enable millions of Hispanic immigrants to send money home using their mobile phone.

So, which is undeveloped country and where does the innovation originate from in this case? The question is, do the US companies involved know about the successful Grameen Phone operation and their joint venture with Telenor? Their shareholders should be asking this question and soon. For the reason why, read the post.

Mobile Gram in Bangladesh [Prev: Money… and cell-phones]

Dear FN,

Transfering small money through cell phone has already been an established method in Bangladesh. Specially northern part of the country. In the northern part, the daily labour are using this method to transfer their money from working place to their home. This method, popularly known as “Mobile Gram” is very helpful for them.

In the northeren part of the Bangladesh, the number of daily labour are huge and they usually moves to central part of the country for work. Before going different district and or other part of the district they usually make a deal with a local cell phone  operator. These operators are cell company’s authorize dealer who sale  talk time on behalf of the mobile operator. All the operator has this charging facility. The most pouplar one is Grameen Phone’s FlexiLoad. In the case, where such operator are not available, the person who wants to mobile gram make a deal with other cell phobe guy who has already an arrangement with a Flexiloader.

At the end of a day, the labour move to the cell operator in his working place  and charge an amount to  the cell number of his area’s  flexiLoader (or any other). Then he make a call to the receipient and inform him that he is the person who just charge 100/- taka (for example) talk-time to recipients cell. The guy, who has been charged has already received a sms from the cell company initimating the charge of talk time. Then the labour request the guy to provide cash to his benificiary (Usually his family member) the amount after deducting his service charge. The service charge depends on the amount transfer and ranges from 5-10 taka for each transaction.

Some of the parents now a days transfer money to his son/daughter who is studying in the university/college in other city. The same technique  is used. Howver, for this purpose there are another method where cell phone is used as identification tool.

The parents  (or the transmitter)  rush to a centre (Usually  the courier service, who also provdide money transfer)  and deposit money for his son (the recipient).  and give them son’s mobile number. Then he informed his son to collect the money from the courier company’s office in his town. The courier compnay, in the destination district, wait for the recipient. The recipient, while in the office, has to prove that he is the holder of the cell which number is provided in the recipient’s details.

There are some other application too. Ask me if you wants to hear more on it.


Munir Hasan


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  1. The next step is a ‘Grameen Currency’ which would be the ultimate solution: private, interest-free, built on mutual trust.

    Its PR value is such that it would be used by people outside the Grameen network as well.

    Let’s hope for the best!!!


  2. Million of Bangali are living in different countries in this world and they are always connected to their Bangladeshi friends and family. Now there are many websites which provide Bangladesh mobile recharhe online, where you can send mobile top up to anyone who live in Bangladesh. Now life is more easier than before,some offer qucik service, where some need around 4 to 5 hour to recharge. I know one of them called who is faster and reliable on the web. Have a look before making any decision.

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