IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

EU wants mobile devices to have universal charger

Manufacturers including Apple could be forced into using a common standard.

Several EU flags hoisted outside a building

The European Parliament has given the strongest indication yet that its want mobile manufacturers to include a universal charging port in devices after amending a directive.

The Universal Charging Solution (UCS) started in 2009 as a memorandum of understanding between the European Commission and 14 mobile phone companies which sealed a commitment to common standards for smartphones.

But now, MEPs have made an amendment to the radio equipment directive that will require all equipment to comply with the UCS. UCS is embodied in the International Telecommunication Union's Recommendation ITU-T L.1000. This recommendation has already been widely adopted by many device manufacturers and supported by service providers around the world.

The move should reduce the number of chargers that land up in rubbish tips and should also cut costs for manufacturers as they will no longer need to put a charger in with every device they sell.

Studies have shown that consumers are warming to the concept of a universal charger and, in a recent market trial, UK operator O2 found that, given a choice, 82 per cent of customers purchased a phone without a charger. The resulting savings in e-waste are potentially enormous, with some estimating that consumers around the world throw away 82,000 tons of redundant chargers each year.

"With ITU's UCS we have a common-sense remedy to the very challenging problem of e-waste that can be applied to the widest possible range of mobile devices," said Dr Hamadoun Tour, secretary general of the ITU.

"I urge the European Parliament to include specific reference to ITU's globally agreed standard in the future directive. This will allow manufacturers to profit from lowering unit costs of production through economies of scale while also limiting device duplication, reducing the strain on raw materials and enabling significant reductions in e-waste."

The ITU has also published a universal charging solution for ICT devices such as modems, set-top boxes, home networking equipment and fixed telephones.

Recommendation ITU-T L.1001 "External universal power adapter solutions for stationary ICT devices" should "further reduce the number of chargers manufactured by widening the range of compatible devices, facilitating adapter reuse and recycling, and increasing build-quality and resilience to over-voltages," according to an ITU statement.

Featured Resources

The state of Salesforce: Future of business

Three articles that look forward into the changing state of Salesforce and the future of business

Free Download

The mighty struggle to migrate SAP to the cloud may be over

A simplified and unified approach to delivering Enterprise Transformation in the cloud

Free Download

The business value of the transformative mainframe

Modernising on the mainframe

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM FlashSystem

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by FlashSystem

Free Download

Recommended

Europe proposes €43 billion Chips Act to tackle semiconductor shortage
Policy & legislation

Europe proposes €43 billion Chips Act to tackle semiconductor shortage

8 Feb 2022
Intel’s €1.06 billion antitrust fine overturned by EU court
Policy & legislation

Intel’s €1.06 billion antitrust fine overturned by EU court

27 Jan 2022
EU agrees on data sharing legislation to accelerate industry-wide innovation
data governance

EU agrees on data sharing legislation to accelerate industry-wide innovation

1 Dec 2021
EU reveals plans to protect whistleblowers from punishment in new legislation
Policy & legislation

EU reveals plans to protect whistleblowers from punishment in new legislation

24 Nov 2021

Most Popular

Cyber attack on software supplier causes "major outage" across the NHS
cyber attacks

Cyber attack on software supplier causes "major outage" across the NHS

8 Aug 2022
Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security
Sponsored

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security

8 Aug 2022
Electrical explosion reported at Google's Iowa data centre
data centres

Electrical explosion reported at Google's Iowa data centre

9 Aug 2022