MTN Village Phone is an initiative of Grameen Foundation USA in Uganda based on successful Grameen Village Phone company in Bangladesh.
The franchise funcitons with four partners: the telecommunication provider, an MFI, the Village Phone company, and the Village Phone Operator (VPO)
Start-up costs: US$240
Break even: after 26 weeks assuming 17 minutes airtime per day.
Impact: Income to Village Phone Operator, entire community access to information that can enhance income opportunities, improved access to health care/emergencies, connection to be informed of pending natural disasters
Keys to success: the strength of the partnerships, particularly with the MFI to provide start-up capital, did not limit number of sellers per area allowing the market determine demand and not allowing monopolies. No modifications in loan dispersement was required of the MFI. Incentive program for middle men to sell airtime.
Threats: ease of entry for competition, electricity blackouts