Banglalink and the GSMA partner to increase digital literacy in Bangladesh

This post was guest-authored by Abu Saleh, Digital Services Manager at Banglalink. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the GSMA.

Bangladesh has a population of 160 million people, of which around 90 million are mobile users. 50% of the population is still not using the internet, but despite this, digital platform-based services are increasing at a rapid pace. For example, e-commerce platforms, ride sharing services and online delivery services are all experiencing growth. The fact that these digital services have gained momentum over the years demonstrates that mobile network operators, financial institutions and local companies are committed to bringing more customers online and also to developing their own digital self-care platforms to engage more effectively with their customers.

“We had noticed that around 50% of our user base was not online. Moreover, a representative share of our smartphone users was not using mobile internet. That represented a consequent internet usage gap which, once filled, could be translated into business opportunities.”

The GSMA Connected Society team developed the Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT), a guide for any new mobile internet user to learn how to use the main applications of the internet (e.g. WhatsApp, Google and Facebook), understand their data consumption/spending and learn how to use the internet safely. It was rolled out as a commercial solution with the aim of turning non-data users into data users by giving them detailed training on mobile internet use.

“We piloted the MISTT training modules in our stores for 3 months, using our agents as trainers and unsurprisingly, the training began to have a positive impact on user behaviour. The most striking example was when people who lacked the basic education to type a word on their phone started becoming interested in watching videos on YouTube. These use cases helped us realise the programme’s high potential.”

By the end of the 3-month pilot, the MISTT had helped 117,000 Banglalink customers across the country to understand the benefits of mobile internet. 42% of the participants, who previously did not use mobile internet, became regular users. Banglalink also saw an active participation from the customers in the sales shops, who welcomed these training opportunities. Read the full case study here to learn more about this pilot.

That initial success of the programme led Banglalink to launch its second phase. In this, Banglalink will start promoting its own digital products in addition to the basic digital products.

“Tracking the sales agent’s performances as well as the participant’s behaviour has been a big challenge in the first phase. However, we found solution and for second phase, we will have a simple USSD based tracking mechanism to ensure accuracy and efficiency in doing the job.”

Banglalink aims to drive not only the digital products’ usage but also the smartphone penetration. The objective is to enable customers to do more in their day-to-day lives.

“Personally, I was touched by the impact of the programme when I got to see it first-hand in one of the market visits. I found people very keen to learn about mobile internet and its various benefits. As a professional, I also work to manage various digital products and I am really excited to have found an effective way of engaging with customers and of onboarding them into the digital world.”

The Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT) can be found here. It is currently available in Bengali, English, French, Hindi, Kinyarwanda and Swahili.

Click here to read the full case study to learn more about Banglalink’s MISTT pilot.

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