Many cellular phone users in Sub-Saharan Africa cannot enjoy their devices simply because they lack electricity that makes these gadgets work. This is one of the biggest problems faced by mobile phone manufacturers in the region, and one of the main reasons why it isn’t the best place for building business. But what can technology not solve these days?
International mobile phone company, Vodacom, makes a move that will save their Tanzanian customers money and provide them the opportunity to enjoy their cellphones. Together with Fenix International, Vodafone recently launched the ReadySet mobile phone charging system, a new portable phone charger powered either by photovoltaic cells or a bicycle dynamo.
Targeting more than 60 million individuals in remote areas, the ReadySet mobile phone charging system has the ability to power an LED light bulb as well as tablet computers. The solar panel, which will be launched soon, is able to charge up to 10 phones in a day, while the pedal-powered one will be out in the market at a later date.
The ReadySet mobile phone charging system was introduced in 2012 to gauge the demand for such portable charging stations. The pilot program made Vodacom realize that sales of M-Pesa mobile phone credit will increase if only the Tanzania’s need for electricity will be addressed. It was in Kickstarter, however, when we first heard of ReadySet In July 2012, where it required $100,000 to be produced. Fenix International’s Rwanda office was sponsored by the Kickstarter campaign.
For $200, any M-Pesa agent, small business owner or housewife can generate up to $50 per month for this opportunity. Vodafone finds this a viable employment opportunity for interested Tanzanians to become micro-entrepreneurs in their areas. Moreover, it will help those who have to spend their dollars (reports said they spend a total of up to $10 billion a year) travelling to places where there is electricity on so they can enjoy their gadgets.
The ReadySet charger has been designed with a comfortable curve for easy carrying so shopkeepers can bring it with them, and of course, put them on places where solar energy is most available.