5 Star Partner Hoarding in Ampara Town (Eastern Sri Lanka)
Dialog Axiata’s “5 Star Partner” programme extends the company’s reach to customers in rural areas by way of “Infomediaries” – Information Intermediaries. This exclusive corps of highly trained and carefully selected independent rural entrepreneurs enables Dialog to improve customers’ lives by reducing costs and delays in accessing services, as well as by opening up access to life-enhancing mobile services many currently do not fully utilize.
Dialog Infomediary Initiative (DII) – under the theme of Inclusive Business (IB), Dialog Axiata PLC has developed a robust business case to empower communities at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) and is desirous of establishing a Social Enterprise Retail Network through an initiative known as “Dialog 5 Star Partner” to bridge the last-mile in its downstream value chain. The envisaged 5 Star Network is to build an innovative and non-traditional ‘Infomediary Network’ that relies on social entrepreneurs (information intermediaries) to reach consumers at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).
5 Star Partners receive significant investment and support from Dialog to position them as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) or to be specific, Mobile for Development (m4D) ambassadors in their villages. Dialog is working towards placing 1000 "5 Star Partners" across rural Sri Lanka within 2012 with the support of International Finance Corporation (IFC) and GSM Association (GSMA). A third of all 5 Star Partners are located in the North and East of the country which were worst-affected by civil conflict, and where Dialog was the first MNO to re-establish coverage.
Dialog acknowledges that communities that are segmented at varying levels of e-readiness require creative business models to reach each segment effectively. Low income communities that are geographically isolated display lowest levels of e-readiness and are at the receiving end of the Digital Divide continuum. To date Dialog has made significant progress in fulfilling the various components of the "5 Star" ecosystem and is currently poised to roll out a trial "5 Star Partner Initiative" encompassing 1000 tier three retailers equally distributed across Sri Lanka. Dialog has invested resources in building complementary services such as Rural Value Added Services (VAS) and charging mechanisms to serve the needs of the poor through the 5 Star Partner network.