Vodafone debuts solar handset in India

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Vodafone Essar debuts a solar-powered handset designed for rural Indian customers

Vodafone’s Indian subsidiary has debuted a new solar-powered handset for rural communities in India.

Vodafone Essar said the VF 247 handset has been developed to improve access to mobile technology throughout India, utilising natural resources to overcome issues with unstable electricity supply in rural areas.

Vodafone Essar said it has the second highest rural network coverage in India at 65 per cent with the second largest rural subscriber base in the country.

The VF 247 solar powered phone charges when exposed to ambient light and features ‘Sun Boost’, in-built hardware and software that allows the phone to charge inside during normal daylight. It also features an FM radio, colour screen and a torch.

The VF 247 was launched by Vodafone Essar managing director and chief executive Marten Pieters and UK chancellor George Osborne, who was promoting the UK-India economic partnership, at the Vodafone store in Fort, Mumbai.

Pieters said: “This launch is likely to enable more people in rural India to go mobile and thus increase penetration from the current 20 per cent.”

Osborne said: “The handset will get more people connected, paying less and doing their bit for the environment.”

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