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Tonic 101: Inside The Ambition Of Telenor Health

Tonic logo
Tonic logo

Started in 2015, Telenor Health uses mobile technology to deliver a host of health services in emerging markets. Launched in Bangladesh, its flagship product Tonic now boasts 3 million subscribers and growing. Telenor aims to bet big on health and Telenor Health is the company to do so. The ambition of the company is palpable in its launch announcement: “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.”

All the services the company offers now are free except for its over the phone doctor consultation which costs users BDT 5 plus taxes per minute. The company plans to pursue a subscription freemium model. The services are currently available to only Grameenphone users but the company never ruled out the possibility of going beyond GP user base.

The potential of a scalable and effective digital health service is virtually infinite in Bangladesh, given the state of healthcare in the country, as well as globally. In an interview with Future Startup, Telenor Health CEO Sajid Rahman says the company plans to be in at least ten markets by 2020 and serve tens of millions of users.

The fundamentals

  • Telenor Health’s flagship product Tonic was launched in June 2016. The web and app-based service is largely a well-being information and content platform. Tonic service is only available to GP users and is currently free.
  • It offers 3 services. Tonic Jibon which is health related content and information, Tonic Doctor which is health consultation over the phone for a small fee. Anyone who is a GP subscriber can get a consultation from a registered doctor twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week over the phone. And Tonic Cash and Tonic Discount, through which it offers discount and cash offers to subscribers
  • The company has over 3 million subscribers.
  • It has partnerships with over 200 clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies, where Tonic members can go and get discounts.


  • While free remains a key part of its strategy, Telenor Health plans to launch paid subscription products for which a user will have to pay a monthly subscription fee ranging from BDT 150 to 300.
  • The company is a team of 40 people, has strong tech, commercial and clinical teams.
  • It has recently partnered with Doctorola to offer online doctor appointment to its subscribers.

Ambition: By 2020, Telenor Health plans to be in at least in ten markets and aim to have hundred million customers.

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