Tatem Telecom, which launched its 800MHz CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev. A network in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in March 2007, has enlisted Canada’s Star Solutions to expand its coverage into rural areas. Using 450MHz frequencies, the company hopes to extend voice and data access to 2,000 rural communities across the DRC. To overcome one of the biggest deployment challenges – the lack of accessible power supplies – the vendor will introduce equipment that can be powered by solar energy, including the core network and handset chargers. Further, the Canadian firm’s iCell COMPAC is passively cooled, reducing the need for air conditioning systems and ensuring that it is ready for outdoor deployment. As part of the initial agreement between the two parties, the necessary equipment to support eight rural communities has already been supplied to Tatem. The financial terms of the contract have not been disclosed.