Telenor Health takes flight in Bangladesh

Telenor Health is a new Telenor venture using mobile technology to make high quality health information, advice, and services accessible for everyone. The company is now preparing for launch in Bangladesh.

Written: Apr 2016

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Incorporated last year, Telenor Health AS aims to develop a “digital front door to health”, that can be scaled to tens of millions of consumers across Telenor markets and beyond. The company has recently achieved several key milestones in preparation for launch in collaboration with Grameenphone.

“The work that GP have already done with healthcare services was a big part of our decision to make Bangladesh our first market,” notes Telenor Health chief executive officer Sajid Rahman. “It gives us an opportunity to prototype, test, and refine new features and services in the real world.”

Changing GP’s 789 Healthline

In April 2015, Telenor Health replaced a local value added services vendor as the delivery partner for Grameenphone’s “789 Healthline” service. Launched in 2007, the Healthline provides GP customers across Bangladesh with access to general medicine physicians over the phone at affordable rates, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Initial results are promising: the Healthline has delivered an average of 600-700 consultations per day for the past eight months, with customer complaints down and doctor satisfaction up.


Digital channels for “everyday health”

In addition to leveraging the existing Healthline, the Telenor Health team also saw promise in GP’s “321 Health Tips” product, a paid-for service that provides daily SMS messages to customers on an array of health topics.

“There were about two million customers on the Health Tips service, so we knew that there had to be some consumer value in everyday health content,” notes Telenor Health chief commercial officer Matthew Guilford.  “The big question was how we could ‘go beyond’ the existing format of SMS messages in English to offer something more dynamic and compelling.”


In March 2016, Telenor Health released a first taste of it’s reimagining of everyday health and wellness content with a beta of new website, In the beta face, all of the content is written in Bengali and is backed by rigorous scientific evidence.

Leveraging mobile web as a channel has allowed the team to experiment with new features to make content more relevant and engaging. For example, users can receive content that has been “personalized” for their own wellness needs by inputting basic demographic details. They can also follow “heroes” – local inspirational figures that have created motivational and instructional videos and articles for Telenor Health. And every piece of content is written in a tone of voice that has been refined through months of user research and testing.

In addition to, Telenor Health has also released a pilot Facebook page to further accelerate the feedback on content, testing, and refinement process.

Core management team takes shape

Telenor Health’s progress would not be possible without the creation of a world class team which includes  Sajid Rahman as CEO, Keith de Alwis as CTO (joining), Matthew Guilford as CCO and Dr. Fred Hersch as Chief Medical Officer.

Visit Telenor Health on and