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Zimbabwean Firm Introduces Solar Phone to a Country Often Lacking Electric Power

  • Gibbs Dube

Solar Solutions Managing Director Nyikadzino Gonese said the company started selling the phones this week as a solution to chronic and widespread power shortages and lack of electricity in many rural communities.

Zimbabwe company Solar Solutions Africa has launched distribution of solar-powered mobile phones in the country's fast-growing telecoms sector, tapping consumer frustration with chronic power outages.

Solar Solutions Managing Director Nyikadzino Gonese said the company started selling the phones this week as a solution to frequent and widespread power shortages and the lack of electricity in rural communities.

Gonese told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the mobile device called Commtiva costs about US$50 and is designed to keep working whether or not electric power is available, though it can charge from a wall socket.

Solar Solutions hopes to push thousands of the mobile phones into urban and rural markets, also seeking volume deals with the country's mobile providers to offer the phone to their subscribers.

Electric power outages have continually grown more severe in Zimbabwe as the country's power-generation plants have broken down for lack of maintenance and refurbishment, and some neighboring countries will no longer sell power to Zimbabwe because it has not settled its arrears for past supplies.

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