We'll all be talking on sunshine in the years ahead, according to predictions by analysts ABI Research.

It predicts that solar-powered mobile phone base stations will transform mobile communications into one of the greenest high tech industries.

ABI estimates that over 335,000 base stations worldwide will be using powered by the sun by 2013, with 40,000 of those being completely autonomous and off-grid.

Solar cell-phones

The majority of base stations will use diesel or mains electricity to supplement their solar panels, especially in Northern countries where population density and cloud cover require it.

Developing countries will be the biggest winners, with remote communities receiving phone coverage and web connections for the first time. Half the world's population has never made a phone call, according to (slightly outdated) UN figures.

Other technologies being considered by networks eager to improve coverage are fuel cells, wind power and even compressed air. A mobile phone network powered by hot air? How appropriate.