Universal charger for mobile phones welcomed by EC

The European Commission has welcomed a commitment by industry to provide a common charger for mobile phones. The first generation of new inter-chargeable mobile phones should reach the EU market from 2010 onwards.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) submitted to the Commission today, the industry has committed to provide charger compatibility on the basis of the Micro-USB connector. Â New EU standards to ensure continued safe charger use, as well as avoidance or radio interference problems, will also be developed.

Vice president Gunter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industrial policy, said: “I am very pleased that industry has found an agreement, which will make life much simpler for consumers. They will be able to charge mobile phones anywhere from the new common charger. This also means considerably less electronic waste because people will no longer have to throw away chargers when buying new phones.

He added: “I am also very pleased that this solution was found on the basis of self-regulation. As a result, the Commission does not consider it necessary to introduce legislation.”

Currently, there is a plethora of chargers for mobile phones in the EU. Many of them can only charge a particular mobile phone. Almost every household has a collection of chargers that have become superfluous over time. Old chargers currently generate several thousands of tons of waste a year.

The Commission had requested industry to come forward with a voluntary commitment to solve this problem so as to avoid legislation and today’s MoU follows intensive and constructive negotiations between the Commission and mobile phone producers.

The European Commission will continue to work closely with industry to ensure that the MoU will be operational quickly. The first generation of new inter-chargeable mobile phones will reach the EU market during 2010.

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