Telenor launches Tonic healthcare service

Telecom network operator Telenor today announced plans to improve healthcare in emerging markets by tapping technology.

The mobile operator has launched the digital healthcare services in Bangladesh, where it has presence through GrameenPhone. Telenor Group, which has 208 million subscribers, has mobile operations in 13 markets in the Nordic region, Central and Eastern Europe and in Asia, as well as 33 percent stake in VimpelCom, operating in 14 markets.

Telenor said its digital health service called Tonic addresses local health challenges through mobile technology in Bangladesh.

Tonic offers prevention-focused digital content, phone-based primary care information, financial assistance such as discounts and insurance for hospital care.

Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor Group, said: “Health and particularly digital health has the potential of becoming an integral part of our development as the customer’s favorite partner in digital life, and there is no better place to start than Bangladesh.”

Telenor has more than 185 million customers across Asia. The mobile service provider’s subsidiary called Telenor Health will scale Tonic and other digital health services to other markets upon success in Bangladesh.

Telenor offers Tonic in the first phase exclusively to the 57 million Grameenphone customers in the first phase. Tonic provides admission to a variety of free or opt-in services to all members.

Tonic membership provides four customer benefits:

Tonic Jibon (Life) is a Bengali-language services to provide free science-backed information on how to build a healthier life for members.

Tonic Daktar (Doctor) enables members to access immediate medical advice on basic health topics via phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week at an affordable rate of Tk 5 per minute.

Tonic Discounts offers discounts up to 40 percent on key services at more than 50 popular hospitals across Bangladesh. Via a quick SMS with the partner code to 789, Tonic members can access care at a lower cost.

Tonic Cash provides members Tk 500 if s/he been hospitalized for three consecutive nights or more, paid directly to a member’s mobile banking wallet. Tonic members can claim Tonic Cash up to four times a year, and no diseases or medical issues are excluded, said Telenor.