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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 17:26 GMT
Wind up your phone
Mobile phone
People will be able to charge phones like these with a wind-up charger
The inventors of a wind-up mobile phone charger claim that it will widen access to mobile phones in developing countries.

The company that sold the wind-up radio invented by Trevor Bayliss now plans to launch the charger next year.

The company claims that mobile phone users will be able to charge their phone anywhere, anytime, without access to an electrical outlet.

Many mobile phone users in developing countries find it difficult to charge up their phones due to unreliable electricity supplies.

The poor state of fixed-line services have however made mobiles an attractive alternative in these countries.

Some analysts claim that more people will be using mobile phones than the fixed-line alternative in Africa by the end of 2001.

The charger, produced by Freeplay Energy Group and Motorola, will cost about $65.

This price will include the energy pack plus the connector cable which allows you to power a variety of different phone brands, Donald Campbell, group managing director of Freeplay told the BBC's World Business Report.

Price worth paying?

Mr Campbell believes customers in developing countries will buy the charger despite its relatively high cost.

Extensive research conducted by Freeplay in six different countries in Africa found that many users spend $100 on a mobile phone.

"That just gives you a very strong indication of the desperate need for reliable communication," he said.

A user only needs to wind the charger for 45 seconds to generate 45 minutes of talk time and about 2 hours of standby time, Mr Campbell said.

"But if you put in more energy and wind it more aggressively then it is all commensurate, you can store additional energy," he added.

Potential market

The number of mobile phone users in Africa will soar to 28 million by the end of this year, from just two million in 1998, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

This compares to 22 million fixed-line users.

The new charger may therefore open up new markets with great potential for many telecoms companies struggling after paying out huge fees for third generation mobile phone licences

Donald Campbell of Freeplay
"We now face a situation where mobile phones become truly mobile"
See also:

12 Nov 01 | Business
African mobile phone use booms
10 Oct 01 | UK
Clockwork warfare
05 Sep 01 | Business
Africa set for mobile boom?
07 Aug 01 | Africa
Mobile use to mushroom in Nigeria
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