Digicel Plans to Launch Secret Solar-Powered Mobile Phone

Digicel PNG is almost Ready to Launch its' Secret Weapon

Telikom PNG, just as you thought you were possibly making inroads in containing Digicel PNG’s hard-lined market expansion strategy, think again. Get ready to be hit fast and hit hard!

Digicel Group, through its partnership with Chinese phone-maker ZTE, has unveiled the world’s first ultra-low-cost solar-powered mobile phone, called the Coral-200-Solar,  which is designed specifically for emerging markets where electricity may not be readily available (i.e. PNG). And yes, of course, it’s Earth-friendly too.

The Coral-200-Solar uses proprietary Dutch technology (Intivation) to increase the current from a single 1.2 in. by 2.8 in. mini solar panel, which is located on the back of the phone. Charging the phone for one hour in full sunlight will provide 15 minutes of talk time.  The device can also be charged via a conventional electrical outlet.

There are an estimated two billion people in the world who have limited or no access to electricity so making a solar mobile seems a rather logical decision. The population of many emerging markets in which Digicel provides cellular services will benefit greatly by access to a mobile handset that can be powered by the sun, or by electric power when it is available.

Tom Bryant, Digicel Group VP of Distribution/Procurement made the following comment at the launch:

Solar-powered handsets are clearly the way to meet the needs of power-challenged users across the globe. While the idea of solar-powered handsets has been around for some time, it has taken the leadership of Digicel and the technology and manufacturing skills of its partners Intivation and ZTE to make the Coral-200-Solar handset a reality. This marks another first for Digicel and we think our customers are going to love this great device.

Digicel will launch its’ Coral-200-Solar in Haiti, Samoa and Papua New Guinea in June. Initial approximate costs place the new phone to be sold at around $US 40 (ONLY 109 PNG Kina!). The solar panel is about a quarter of the total cost of the 40-dollar handset.

Xiong Hui, VP of ZTE’s Handset Division also stated:

As mobile phones continue to proliferate in emerging markets and are widely used where electricity is available, mobile operators are demanding more innovative handsets. We are confident that the Digicel Coral-200-Solar is such a product and that solar power technology can be used in any type of handset. We are pleased to provide this handset with Digicel and Intivation. It will help millions of consumers worldwide to use mobile phones more conveniently and the technology is more environment-friendly.”

Here are the official released photos of the Coral-200-Solar:

The New Digicel Coral-200-Solar

digicel-solar-phone1

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~ by Tavurvur on February 21, 2009.

4 Responses to “Digicel Plans to Launch Secret Solar-Powered Mobile Phone”

  1. It’s a great idea, but most of the people in Haiti who don’t have electricity also don’t have $40 to spend on a phone, and I suspect it is similar in the other emerging markets. Most of those that have $40 to spare also have electricity where they live and work.

  2. Hi Sander-Martijn,

    Thanks for your comment. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but in the two years that Digicel has operated in Haiti, it has invested US$260 million and built up a customer base of 2 million people. And – as they claim, it has made profit!

    PNG and Samoa are far more financially stable than Haiti. Even though many of the people who live in PNG/Samoa do not have the luxury of electricity, they will be able to afford the $40 – no problems there whatsoever.

    Digicel must be credited for investing and transforming the lives of so many emerging markets.

    Tavurvur

  3. and again, its about time…quite logical really. Another point for Digicel!!

  4. I always read your great news.Anyway thanks.

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