In order to help India’s rural masses who lack electricity, Vodafone Essar Ltd. recently developed a solar-powered mobile phone. According to officials, there are almost 20 million new mobile subscribers each month in India. The problem is that many of them live in rural areas, where the energy supply can be patchy at best.
Most of the Indians don’t have access to the power grid, but instead they get plenty of sunlight. “Vodafone’s solar powered phone is launched for people residing in areas where electric supply is unstable, so that consumers can rely on solar charging to remain connected,” Vodafone Essar Chief Executive Marten Pieters said in a statement.
The solar-powered phone dubbed VF 247 will have a price of about $32 (1,500 rupees), being released on the market by the end of next month.
To be fully charged, the phone needs eight hours of direct sunlight and can support four hours of talk time and eight days of use on standby. It will also be equipped with a powerful torch light, an electronic charger and an FM radio.
About a year ago, Samsung launched a solar-powered handset and now Vodafone wants to join the efforts to bridge that gap.