Handset-makers agree on EU universal charger

Ten major handset manufacturers have agreed to develop a universal phone charger in the EU.

The companies, including Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Nokia, have all signed a memorandum committing them to develop a phone charger based on the Micro USB standard, the European Commission said.

Qualcomm, Research in Motion, NEC, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments have also signed the deal.

The EC had threatened to introduce regulations mandating universal chargers, but no longer “consider[s] it necessary to introduce legislation,” EC vice president Günter Verheugen said.

“I am very pleased that industry has found an agreement,” he said. “Consumers... 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.”

The first phones to use the new standard will hit the EU market in 2010, the EC said.  Only data-enabled handsets currently include Micro USB ports.

The EC also said it will introduce a new EU standard aiming to guarantee the safe use of new mobiles and avoid radio interference problems.

The GSM Association (GSMA) and 17 mobile operators and manufacturers announced  in February that they would develop a universal charger - also using Micro-USB - by 2012.

The chargers will conform to the UCS energy efficiency standards, and consume up to 50% less power, the GSMA said.