Econet Burundi, part of South African Econet Wireless Group, launched a new solar handset at the end of 2009. The solar handset will be produced by ZTE in China and will retail for US$39.
At a news conference Econet's CEO Darlington Mandivenga said he hoped the new solar handset would increase Econet's subscriber base. Burundi is a country with frequent power shortages as according to the country's energy ministry power demand is around 45 MW whereas installed capacity provides 32 MW. A solar powered mobile will allow more people to have access to communication.
In 2009 Econet invested around 40 million dollars in its Burundi operations which is double the investment of 2008. Econet Burundi was aiming for a subscriber base of 100 thousand by the end of 2009, and could have an estimated customer base of 700 thousand by the end of 2012. The population of Burundi is around 8 million people.
A solar mobile phone in Burundi will be invaluable for many who either do not have access to electricity or who suffer frequent power shortages. Mandivenga commented "If you look at the target market or the level of demand that is there, without doing any further marketing it is about 800,000 people who will benefit from this innovation."
Top image source: PME Infrastructure
For more read : Energy Harvesting and Storage for Electronic Devices 2009-2019