EU regulators to study need for action on common mobile phone charger

iPhone and Android users have long complained about using different chargers for their phones

Reuters August 07, 2018
Migrants charge their mobile phones with a generator at the Calais refugee camp, northern France, January 11, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS: EU regulators plan to study whether there is a need for action in the push for a common mobile phone charger following a lack of progress by phone makers towards this goal, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.

The European Commission has been pushing for a common charger for nearly a decade as it cited the more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste yearly from old chargers as well as the inconvenience to consumers.

iPhone and Android users have long complained about using different chargers for their phones.

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In response to EU pressure, 14 companies including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Nokia signed a voluntary memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2009, agreeing to harmonize chargers for new models of smartphones coming into the market in 2011.

Some of the companies subsequently signed letters of intent in 2013 and 2014 after the MoU expired in 2012.

The EU executive said it was not happy with the status quo.

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“Given the unsatisfactory progress with this voluntary approach, the Commission will shortly launch an impact assessment study to evaluate costs and benefits of different other options,” Vestager said in an August  1 response to a query from an EU lawmaker.

Such studies help the Commission decide whether there is a need for action and analyse the impact of various options.

Vestager’s internal market colleague Elzbieta Bienkowska is in charge of the issue.

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