Universal mobile phone charger across Europe next year

Ten of the biggest mobile phone makers have agreed on a universal charger to be released next year.

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Ten of the biggest mobile phone makers have agreed on a universal charger to be released next year.

The agreement comes after talks between the phone companies and the European Commission, which threatened legislation to reduce waste if agreement was not reached.

The EC estimates that discarded chargers create "several thousand tons" of waste each year, but a common charger means users can continue using old chargers with new phones.

EU industry commissioner Günter Verheugen said he was pleased the agreement was reached on the basis of self-regulation.

"As a result, the commission does not consider it necessary to introduce legislation," he said.

Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments signed a memorandum of understanding submitted to EC.

Consumer groups have welcomed the agreement, but have expressed disappointment that it is not international, but confined to the EU.

The agreement could help accelerate standardisation efforts by a GSMA-led alliance of 17 phone makers and mobile operators that includes five signatories of the EU agreement.

Along with LG, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, the alliance includes 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

In February, the alliance committed to achieving a common worldwide charger by 2012.

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