When there’s no power, how do you charge a cell phone?

lunchoverip.com Last week, I blogged about how the lack of robust power grids in the rural areas of developing countries spurred some cell providers to experiment with solar, wind and biofuels to independently power individual cell phone towers. Of course, this solves the problem of power for the cellular network, but—as Passport reader Bradley Loomis ...

603395_070312_chargers_05.jpg
603395_070312_chargers_05.jpg

lunchoverip.com

Last week, I blogged about how the lack of robust power grids in the rural areas of developing countries spurred some cell providers to experiment with solar, wind and biofuels to independently power individual cell phone towers.

Of course, this solves the problem of power for the cellular network, but—as Passport reader Bradley Loomis asked via email—if there isn't an electrical grid to power the cell towers, how do cell phone users in these areas charge their cell phones?

lunchoverip.com

Last week, I blogged about how the lack of robust power grids in the rural areas of developing countries spurred some cell providers to experiment with solar, wind and biofuels to independently power individual cell phone towers.

Of course, this solves the problem of power for the cellular network, but—as Passport reader Bradley Loomis asked via email—if there isn’t an electrical grid to power the cell towers, how do cell phone users in these areas charge their cell phones?

The answer lies in a business model that is quickly emerging across the globe, from China to Uganda: charging the cell phone batteries of rural customers in bigger cities for a fee. Check out LunchOverIP’s report on how Chinese businessmen are transforming their charge-for-a-fee service into a potentially charge-for-free ad-supported model (kind of like Google but without the whole Internet part). Jan Chipchase also has a great piece on the subject and some good photos of charging stations in Uganda.

Bradley, thanks for the question! More good comments on Slashdot.

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