Tonic, Telenor Health’s flagship product in Bangladesh, has introduced two subscription products recently: Tonic Advance and Tonic Premium. Previously, the platform was largely free for subscribers apart from over the phone doctor consultation which would cost BDT 5 plus taxes per minute.
Tonic was launched in June 2016. The web and app-based well-being information and content platform started with 3 services: Tonic Jibon is health-related content and information, Tonic Doctor 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.
While Tonic Free remains free with basic services, the new subscription products offer a host of extra benefits to the subscribers for a small monthly subscription fee. Here is a teardown of subscription products:
Why this matters: Telenor Health has big ambition. The company plans to be in at least ten markets by 2020 and all of it depends on the performance of paid products in Bangladesh market which means the stake is high. The company claims to have over 3 million subscribers for its free version and it is hard to predict how people will react to a paid health subscription service. The initial challenge for Tonic will be to address the challenge that comes with dealing with a relative unfamiliar idea. However, it seems that Tonic understands the challenge, as Sajid Rahman, CEO of the company says: “our goal is to provide the highest value for money to our consumers and become a true digital partner in health journey and take digital healthcare services to the next stage.”
While the success of the new subscription products is critical for the Telenor Health as a company, it will also have an impact on the overall digital health service landscape in Bangladesh. Dhaka has a handful of digital health startups and some of them are doing quite well.
Strategically, Tonic will (and is) be a bundle of services because it only makes sense that way to its subscribers. It now offers about five different services: doctor appointment, content, discount, and over the phone consultation, and in-app chat with doctor. And for many other services, it will partner with existing companies. Its recent partnership with Doctorola proves it to some extent. Through that partnership, it is now offering doctor appointment service to its subscribers.
In a recent interview with Future Startup Telenor Health CEO Sajid Rahman slightly indicated about the direction: “there are different verticals and we cover just a couple of those. We would like to collaborate with other companies.” Then he continues, “our unique advantage, for now, is that we have a large user base and we are building a strong relationship with those users. As we are already ahead in the market, we will be in a good position to help other upcoming startups.”
Tonic, to many extents, is offering the first health subscription product in Bangladesh market. It will be really interesting to see how it goes for the company.
Note: This is a developing story, we have reached out Tonic for more information, we will update the story as soon as we get more.