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Uganda Telecom recently introduced what it calls the "kasana phone." The kasana phone is solar powered phone and if all goes according to the telecom's plans, it should bring revolutionary changes to the rural communities who have no access to electricity, which restricts the access and usage of mobile telephony. The phone has been launched in Arua district, which has suffered from poor access to electricity and recently got switched off the electricity grid due to challenges being faced by the power provider in the area.

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The handset is manufactured from recycled materials and has a built-in solar panel that charges the phone using the sun’s rays. The solar handset can however also be charged from a power outlet, and comes with a travel charger, making it very convenient for even urban and peri-urban dwellers that experience intermittent power supply.
As with all mobile phones, the phone requires an initial charge via electricity of 6-8 hours before use.

Uganda has a population of 30 million people but the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) puts penetration of mobile telephony at only 30%, more than 80% of whom live in rural areas with just about 10% having access to grid power. This means that people without ready access to electricity would have to walk long distances to charge their handsets at the nearest power outlet often a trading centre that is miles away.

The Kasana phone is a welcome initiative in closing the digital divide in Uganda, what remains to be seen is whether this pilot can be successfully be rolled out to the rest of Uganda.

We welcome your opinions and thoughts on the kasana phone.

More information on the kasana phone can be found on the UTL website (opens a new window)

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