Vodacom's community services phone shops
The South African cellular phone company Vodacom has developed entrepreneur-owned and run phone shops, run under a franchise agreement and operating out of converted shipping containers. These provide public telephone services in townships and other disadvantaged communities at government-mandated prices well below commercial rates. This article describes how Vodacom's Community Services was started ten years ago, how the prices and costs are structured for the phone shop owners, how the service has been altered over the years, and what are the current challenges. There are now 4400 shops run by 1800 entrepreneurs and providing telephone services in areas where people would otherwise be unable to afford them.