Vodafone Foundation, the philanthropic division of the mobile service provider, has launched a device to help victims of natural disasters reconnect to a cellular network. Not to connect to Facebook and update Twitter, of course, more to enable the reestablishment of services and facilitate rescues.
Although not the first of its kind, the Instant Network Mini is the smallest offering from Vodafone, weighing in at 10.8 kilograms and fits in a backpack. It is capable of providing a 2G GSM connection which can handle thousands of text messages and five calls made at once to people within a 100 metre radius.
Vodafone also has portable 100 kilogram networks, of which two were deployed during Vodafone’s mission to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. The two kits handled 1.4 million text messages and 443,288 phone calls over 29 days.
The bigger kits obviously have a much larger operating radius, but the Instant Network Mini, being much smaller, can be taken almost anywhere with relative ease and can be deployed instantly, potentially helping more people in less time.
Updated to correct a misspelling of Vodafone – thanks to Chris Reeler for spotting that one.