Solar-powered phone for emerging markets

The Digicel Group has announced the launch of one of the world's first solar-powered mobile phones.


Digicel's Coral-200-Solar, manufactured by ZTE, uses technology from Dutch-based Intivation and has an integrated solar charger built into the phone.


It follows Samsung, who unveiled a solar-powered phone, the Blue Earth, but has not revealed when it will hit the market. Chinese vendor HTW says it has been selling a solar-powered handset in China since 2007.


Digital operates mobile networks in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific market that have limited or no access to electricity.


It says it has been providing customers with low-cost or free portable solar chargers in many markets but it's the first time to integrate a solar charger into the handset. 


The company said it will begin selling the handset in June.


Separately, the Vanuatu arm of Digicel said it has completed the second phase of its green power network implementation and is using wind and solar energy solution to power 25 base stations on the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu.


The Pacific operator now carries more than 60% of its network traffic on base stations powered by renewable energy sources.