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Digicel to provide low-cost, solar-powered mobile phone

Digicel has partnered with Chinese Manufacture ZTE and Dutch-based technology innovator Intivation to provide an ultra-low-cost solar-powered mobile phone – The Digicel Coral-200-Solar, which has a built in solar panel.


In a release issued yesterday, the telecommunications provider said that it was leading the way in “pioneering green technology” with its announcement of the new solar powered handset.


“Not only are we doing our bit for the environment but our exploration and implementation of green technology is actually helping to meet our objective of connecting the unconnected and bridging the digital divide particularly in rural communities where there is no reliable source of electricity,” said Colm Delves, Digicel Group CEO. “Our projects further demonstrate the commercial viability of implementing renewable energy systems on a broad scale and we are proud to be helping establish best practice for future green power.”


The aim of the project, the statement said, was to target subscribers with limited or no access to electricity.


“The population of many emerging markets in which Digicel provides cellular services will benefit greatly by having access to a mobile handset that can be powered by the sun, or by electric power when it is available,” said the statement.


Since early 2008, Digicel has been providing customers with portable solar chargers in markets where there is not a regular supply of power.


The charger – when exposed to sunlight – uses a solar panel to convert solar energy into power for the mobile phone. The solar charger is delivered with a set of six mobile phone adapter plugs covering the main cellphone brands including Nokia and Sony Ericsson along with MP3 players and some computers.


With support from the GSMA Development Fund, Digicel, which operates in 31 markets across the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, has recently completed the second phase of its green power network implementation and is using wind and solar energy solutions to power 25 base stations in its Pacific market of Vanuatu.


Digicel Vanuatu, the leading mobile operator in the country, now carries more than 60 per cent of its network traffic on base stations powered by renewable energy sources.


In Papua New Guinea (PNG), Digicel conducted a three-month experiment in 2008 to run one of its base stations on coconut oil fuel, a burgeoning industry in the country.


“It is hoped that with further development and testing, coconut oil fuel will become a major source of income for producers in PNG especially if it should succeed in international markets as a serious replacement for fuel,” the group added.


Source:  Jamaica Observer



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