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Solar power transforms telephony

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by MziziMkavu, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Oct 31, 2009
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    [​IMG] A Safaricom sales representative arranges solar-charged mobile phone handsets for display at a retail centre in Kenya's capital Nairobi in this September 22 file photo. KAMPALA, Wednesday

    Watching his sons kick around a makeshift ball made from tightly bound plastic bags, Ugandan handyman Jackson Mawa marvels at the way business has improved since he bought a solar-powered mobile phone.

    "I am self-employed. Sometimes people call me and they find my (cell) phone is off. I have been having that problem a lot due to battery charging.

    So when (Uganda Telecom) brought out the solar phones, since I got it, that very day, I have never had any problem with my phone," said Mawa, clutching the device.

    It might not sound like much but for Mawa and millions of people in Africa and Asia, with no connection to electricity grids or unreliable and expensive power access, these little solar-powered gadgets are proving to be revolutionary.

    Farmers can check market prices before deciding which crop seeds to sow, speak to buyers from their fields and get weather forecasts. And unlike with standard mobile phones, they don't have to worry about their phone battery losing power.

    Solar cellphones could build on the economic advantages that mobile phones have already brought to far-flung regions of Africa and the Indian subcontinent, including price transparency and more accurate and timely information.

    Mobile phone penetration in these regions has been held back by a lack of electricity: there is simply no way to charge a cellphone in many rural areas of developing countries.

    An estimated 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity at all, while another 1 billion people have no electricity for much of the day, according to estimates by development groups.

    Fortuitously, perhaps, most of these people live in sunny climates. And this is where solar mobile phones come in.

    "If you look at the map of countries with low tele-density -- there is plenty of sunshine everywhere," says Rajiv Mehrotra, chairman of VNL, a company making solar-powered mobile network base stations in India.

    Take Uganda as a case in point: Just eight percent of the country's 32 million plus population have electric grid access. Even when the grid is there, like where Mawa lives in Mulago, a poor suburb of Kampala, the power is costly and the service is intermittent.

    "In our area, electricity is expensive so at six o'clock in the morning, we turn our power off until six in the evening," said Mawa, 29, sitting on a step outside his house.

    Until solar cellphones were introduced, charging a phone in remote areas, off the electricity grid, entailed a bone-jarring journey to the nearest town, where the phone battery could be charged at kiosks run on generators for relatively hefty fees.
  2. Dingswayo

    Dingswayo JF-Expert Member

    Oct 31, 2009
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    Nilisoma muda kidogo uliopita kuwa zimeingia Tanzania. Hii itakuwa ni nafuu sana kwa wale ambao huduma za umeme hazijawafikia, au hawajafunga umeme majumbani. Swali ninalopenda kuuliza kwa wanaofahamu, je, zinauzwa kiasi gani?