Telenor debuted a new service called Tonic in Bangladesh and CEO Sigve Brekke said it has big plans for health across its footprint.
The new service in Bangladesh is a package including prevention-based content as well as medical advice, available via a hotline, and insurance.
Initially, the package will be offered exclusively to the 57 million subscribers to Grameenphone, the country’s largest operator. Grameenphone is majority controlled by Telenor.
Telenor hailed Tonic as its first step into the global health sector.
In addition, the Norwegian firm officially launched a new subsidiary called Telenor Health, which will scale Tonic and similar services to other markets if they prove successful.
The health unit was established by the Telenor Group in 2015.
“Health and particularly digital health has the potential of becoming an integral part of our development as the customer’s favourite partner in digital life, and there is no better place to start than Bangladesh,” said Brekke.
The Tonic service has four aspects: Tonic Jibon (“Life”) is a Bengali-language service that provides free information on healthy lifestyles via the web, SMS, and its own Facebook page.
In addition, Tonic Daktar, or Doctor, enables members to access advice on basic health topics via mobile phone 24 hours day, seven days a week at a rate of BDT 5 per minute ($0.06).
The service also offers a discount (Tonic Discounts) of up to 40 per cent on key services at more than 50 hospitals across the country.
And Tonic Cash is a scheme whereby members receive BDT 500 if they have been hospitalised for three consecutive nights or more, with the sum paid to their mobile money account. Members can claim up to four times a year. The scheme is run in partnership with a local insurance firm.