Mobile hardware

O2 to sell phones without chargers by 2015

Jennifer Scott

O2 plans to sell mobile phones without chargers by 2015, after trial results showed customers rarely needed them.

The operator teamed up with mobile manufacturer HTC for the three-month pilot, which gave customers a choice of getting an HTC One X+ handset supplied with just a USB cable, or the phone, cable and the addition of a plug at cost price.

A significant 82% of customers who went for the HTC model decided against buying the plug, smashing O2’s target of 70% during the scheme.

“More than four in five of our smartphone customers who participated in the trial are willing to buy a new phone but use an existing charging device to attach it to the mains,” said Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2.

“The results of the trial demonstrate a clear willingness among consumers to consider and respond to the environmental argument for taking a phone charger-free,” he added.

The trial was inspired by research from O2 which claimed there could be 100 million unused chargers in the UK alone, either from old handsets or duplicates from new ones.

These chargers contain 18,700 tonnes of components and, if thrown away, could account for a landfill the size of four Olympic swimming pools, showing the environmental impact additional unnecessary chargers have.

Phil Roberson, HTC’s regional director in the UK, said: “This pilot demonstrates that, if we inform our customers about the environmental impact of wasted phone chargers and the benefits of using the chargers and mains adapters they already own, they respond positively to the message.” 

O2 has pledged to stop selling chargers in the box as standard by 2015 and is championing a universal charger for all mobiles

O2 has pledged to stop selling chargers in the box as standard by 2015 and is championing a universal charger for all mobiles, cutting down on waste and enabling customers to reuse their existing technology.

“The lesson for the industry from this pilot is that consumers are very receptive to the message that they can benefit the environment by avoiding the needless purchase of chargers,” said O2's Dunne. 

“I would now like to see others taking similar steps, working with us as we aim to ensure all our handsets are sold charger-free by 2015.”


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