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Mobile Access for Madagascan Village

Created: Tuesday, 18 October 2011 13:50

A new venture is providing communications services in rural areas of Madagascar that allows villagers to share mobile telephone handsets while maintaining their own individual phone numbers and secure accounts.
International Finance Corporation, is carrying out the project in partnership with Movirtu and Airtel Madagascar, which allows individual people in the country to log into any handset to access their account for a small Charge.
Entrepreneurial phone operators in villages (who are part of IFC's Village Phone Program) provide unique cloud phone handsets on the Airtel Madagascar mobile network. The village phone links large telecom operators with the local entrepreneurs who sell airtime on the companies networks to people in their towns or villages. This helps local entrepreneurs build a feasible business, and broaden the reach of participating telecoms companies.
The project will allow hundreds of people in Madagascar who cannot afford to buy a handset to make and receive calls more securely, voicemail, mobile banking, and access text messages.
Ramona Liberoff, Movirtu's EVP for marketing, strategy and planning said 'This service is important for nearly a billion people in the world, particularly women in rural areas in developing countries.
They can log in and out of any mobile handset that's on the network, and they can use it to make calls, send information securely and use mobile banking.
She added that people in a village in Madagascar can go to their neighbours or friends and borrow their phone. They can log in to their own account from anyone's phone and access their own services, and neither side is compromised in terms of security.
To log in all a user needs is a code, phone number and pin number.
Liberoff added 'The owner of the phone also gets credit when they lend their handset to another user and in these markets there often a lot of social pressure for people to share their resources with the community if they have them.'
The service officially launched in Madagascar in May and will be rolled out to five more markets by end of the first quarter of next year and even more markets by end of 2012.