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India's Mobile Networks Could Be Bio-Fueled

Jatropha trees, widely grown across India, are used in a traditional remedy for constipation. But very soon, the tree could help overcome a completely different kind of obstacle--the country's fragmented mobile coverage.

With nearly 130 million mobile phone subscribers in India, the need for wireless access is at an all time high. But in rural areas where access to electricity is scarce, connectivity is nearly impossible. The GSM Association has proposed using fuels derived from cotton and other plants, including the popular Jatropha, to create biodiesels that could power up mobile stations in the more rugged regions.

While still in the testing stages, GSMA partners Idea Cellular and Ericsson hope to have functioning bio-powered stations by mid-2007.