Kenyan mobile network operator, Safaricom has launched a solar-powered mobile phone. Branded Simu ya Solar and manufactured under a partnership with ZTE, the handset is made from recycled materials and has an in-built solar panel.
Simu ya Solar, which also comes with a conventional charger, will be retailing at all Safaricom shops countrywide at a price of Shs2,999 (US$40).
Speaking during the launch of the phone, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said the company has always been keen on embracing business processes and products that are environmentally-conscious.
"Solar power is definitely the way to go as it is cheap, green and renewable. This solar-charged phone will come in handy particularly in the rural parts without grid electricity and even urban areas, for those who are keen on saving on phone maintenance costs," he said.
"Our subscribers will not have to take their phones to merchants for charging and wait all day for their handsets to charge in order to make calls. They can now talk all day and night without worrying about the level of charge and charging costs."
Safaricom already has over 60 Base Transmission Stations (BTSs) that are operating on renewable energy sources - wind and solar-driven turbines in various parts of the country. Safaricom House, the firm's head office, is also fitted with motion-sensitive light bulbs to minimize the use of electricity within the office environment.