EU regulators renew pressure on phone makers to agree universal charger

chargerEuropean Union regulators are considering whether to force mobile phone makers to agree on a common charger following a lack of progress by companies towards this goal, said competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

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

“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,” said Vestager.

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.

In response to EU pressure, 14 companies including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Nokia signed a voluntary memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2009, agreeing to harmonise chargers for new models of phones 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.