a2i and Grameenphone partner for convenient digital solutions for a connected society

Grameenphone, the tech leader and connectivity partner to ‘Smart Bangladesh’ and the government’s flagship digital transformation program Aspire to Innovate (a2i), have recently joined hands to introduce a secure and efficient payment method on the go for multiple government services through Direct Operator Billing (DOB). Hence, Grameenphone subscribers can now pay for 32 government services simply using their mobile balance.

In this regard, a formal event was held at the a2i office where key officials from both Grameenphone and a2i were present and shared their views on the collaboration.

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Direct Operator Billing (DOB) is an easy and efficient method that enables subscribers to pay for services (i.e., digitally consumable services, utility bills, etc.) right from their handsets using mobile balance through a few simple steps. Hence, it brings multiple government services to their fingertips, but also allows users to make transactions and clear due payments without having to go through complex and time-consuming banking channels, making the customer journey transparent and simple. The opportunity will enable convenient, fast and safe payment facilities for Grameenphone subscribers – especially those living in rural and remote areas and currently underserved by formal banking and financial institutes. To use this option, a customer needs to select Mobile Balance from the ekPay payment gateway on the prottoyon.gov.bd portal while paying for the desired service. After providing the mobile number and OTP, the service fee will be deducted from the subscriber’s mobile balance. To use the facility, a subscriber must first complete profile creation on the portal through NID verification.

“Our unified mobile payment system, ekPay connects all banks and MFS providers to enable P2G (person to government) payments for hundreds of public services including 23 utilities”, said Dr. Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, Project Director (Joint Secretary), a2i, ICT Division.

“Despite the meteoric rise of MFS and agent banking in the last decade, 18% of adult population, especially in rural Bangladesh, are still unbanked. To promote inclusivity in P2G payments, we are introducing direct operator billing (DOB) with mobile operators in the government ecosystem. This is a positive step towards ensuring financial inclusion in achieving our vision of a Smart Bangladesh 2041, with a direct impact on TCV (by reducing time, cost and visits). We intend to onboard more government services to enhance citizen’s convenience.”

“With this integration, we are ensuring that people from all walks of life have access to government services right at their fingertips through our nationwide network strength and coverage”, said Solaiman Alam, CDO, Grameenphone. “We thrive on ensuring inclusivity and simplifying our customers digital lifestyle which help us live our purpose of empowering people and connecting them to what matters most to them. I am grateful to a2i for their wholehearted support and cooperation in making this possible.”

The initiatives of the a2i (Aspire to Innovate) Programme of the Cabinet and ICT Divisions supported by UNDP have emerged as a boon for the people, especially those living in a marginal area, in terms of making life easier and boosting people’s access to citizen services. Digital Bangladesh has enormously changed our lives, thought processes, and decision-making ability to serve the citizens of our country. The hassle-free method shall encourage digital literacy and accelerate digital inclusion, serving Grameenphone’s prime endeavor as the connectivity partner to Smart Bangladesh. This partnership between GP & a2i will act as the cornerstone for future growth and will also greatly help to empower society as a whole.

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