Uganda: UTL Launches Solar-Powered Phone


Uganda Telecom has launched the first solar-powered mobile phone in the market. The new phone, dubbed "Kasana," runs on solar-power after an initial charging on electricity grid power.

Uganda telecom's chief marketing officer, Mona Lisa Brookshire, in a statement said, "uganda telecom together with ZTE has signed and agreed that we (at utl) are the only mobile operator in Uganda to deal in the solar-powered telephone."

"This is going to help many of our customers save money as you do not need to depend on electricity to stay connected," she added.

At the launch of the pilot Kasana phone in Arua, the mayor, Charles Asiki, said the introduction of the solar power phone will help the people of Arua especially at "this time when there is a power problem." Arua district has had an unreliable grid power supply, especially after the failure of the West Nile Rural Electrification Company to deliver power consistently.

The solar handset is manufactured from recycled materials and has a built-in solar panel that charges the phone using the sun's rays. For just an hour of exposure to the sun, the solar phone provides up to 12 hours of talk-time. It can also be charged from a power outlet, and comes with a travel charger, making it convenient for even those in the rural areas.

Uganda Communications Commission estimates mobile telephony penetration at only 30% out of the close to 30 million Ugandans. More than 80% of these live in the rural areas. Less than 10%of the country has access to the electricity grid.

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