Making profit to solve development problems: the case of Telenor AS and the Village Phone Programme in Bangladesh

Rahman, Mizan and Rashid, Ahmed T. (2009) Making profit to solve development problems: the case of Telenor AS and the Village Phone Programme in Bangladesh. Journal of Marketing Management, 25 (9-10). pp. 1049-1060. ISSN 0267-257X

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Full text URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725709X479363

Abstract

Multi-national corporations (MNCs) and large domestic companies have traditionally ignored a large part of the world's population with lower income levels, also known as the bottom of the pyramid (BOP). New empirical measures of the behaviour of those at the BOP and their aggregate purchasing power, however, suggest significant opportunities for the MNCs - as the BOP constitutes a $5 trillion global consumer market. In this paper, we explore the key elements of the BOP thesis and offer a critique from a number of developmental and marketing perspectives. We argue that instead of focusing on untapped low-income markets for profit-generation only, a business model that integrates local people and take into account the local socio-economic context of the target markets, is a more sustainable way to successfully penetrate the BOP markets. To illustrate this point, we explore a case study from Bangladesh, namely Village Phone Programme (VPP), an initiave undertaken by Telenor AS, a Norwegian telecommunications company, in alliance with an internationally known development organisation in the country - the Grameen Bank.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Multi-national corporations (MNCs) and large domestic companies have traditionally ignored a large part of the world's population with lower income levels, also known as the bottom of the pyramid (BOP). New empirical measures of the behaviour of those at the BOP and their aggregate purchasing power, however, suggest significant opportunities for the MNCs - as the BOP constitutes a $5 trillion global consumer market. In this paper, we explore the key elements of the BOP thesis and offer a critique from a number of developmental and marketing perspectives. We argue that instead of focusing on untapped low-income markets for profit-generation only, a business model that integrates local people and take into account the local socio-economic context of the target markets, is a more sustainable way to successfully penetrate the BOP markets. To illustrate this point, we explore a case study from Bangladesh, namely Village Phone Programme (VPP), an initiave undertaken by Telenor AS, a Norwegian telecommunications company, in alliance with an internationally known development organisation in the country - the Grameen Bank.
Keywords:Marketing at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), Inter-sectoral collaboration, Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), Village Phone Programme (VPP)
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
N Business and Administrative studies > N120 International Business studies
N Business and Administrative studies > N510 Market Research
N Business and Administrative studies > N550 International Marketing
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:3271
Deposited By: Mizanur Rahman
Deposited On:20 Oct 2010 15:38
Last Modified:06 Dec 2013 09:15

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