Telenor in Bangladesh : The Prospect of Doing Good and Doing Well? (A)

Published 01 Jan 2004
Reference 5185
Topic Strategy
Region Global

Telenor has the opportunity to "do well and do good" in Bangladesh. It could help its financial bottom line by being a first-mover in the Bangladesh mobile telephone market and establish a successful operation through partnership with the world-renowned Grameen Bank. However, in order to capitalize on this opportunity, Telenor has to agree to the social cause of providing telephone connectivity for the rural poor by offering mobile services in the villages, which was unlikely to be profitable. Should Telenor undertake this venture? Case (A) presents information that leads up to this corporate strategy dilemma. Case (B) describes what Telenor actually did and what were the outcomes of the decisions. On December 1, 2004, Erik Aas was to take over as the CEO of GrameenPhone, Telenor’s subsidiary in Bangladesh, from GrameenPhone’s founding Chief Executive, Ola Ree. In its eight years under Ree, GrameenPhone had done exceedingly well and fulfilled its financial as well as social obligations. The financial community had labeled GrameenPhone as the “Diamond in Telenor’s Portfolio” and the Village Phone Project had successfully brought mobile telephony to almost 70,000 villages of Bangladesh, helping bridge the digital divide. The original mission of GrameenPhone to satisfy multiple bottom-lines had been met. The question for Erik was what next? How best to prioritize the various issues still facing GrameenPhone? In addition, executives at Telenor were wondering how best to build on the Bangladesh experience: should they take the GrameenPhone model to other similar countries; or should they make the multiple bottom-lines philosophy as the centerpiece of Telenor’s strategic differentiation from global telecom providers and in this way invigorate Telenor’s corporate culture.

Teaching objectives

The "Telenor in Bangladesh" case studies can serve a diverse set of teaching obectives: Demonstrate how a Global organization can creatively and successfully meet its financial and social bottom-lines. Doing business in a developing country and overcoming the political, legal, social, and organization cultural hurdles. Understanding and appreciating the social contributions and social impact of business.

  • RD0105
  • AR2004
  • AR0304
  • RD0104