The GSM Association and 17 leading mobile operators and manufacturers of GSMA handsets yesterday said that they are committed to implementing a cross-industry standard for a universal charger for new mobile phones.
The aim of the initiative, led by the GSMA, is to ensure that the mobile industry adopts a common format for mobile phone charger connections and energy-efficient chargers resulting in an estimated 50-per cent reduction in standby energy consumption, the potential elimination of up to 51,000 tonnes of duplicate chargers and the enhancement of the customer experience by simplifying the charging of mobile phones.
"This initiative will also open the door to innovation in the operator retail presence as it is envisioned that chargers and mobile devices may be distributed separately in the near future, which will allow consumers to re-use existing chargers with other devices; reducing the overall number of chargers required," says Brigitte Bourgoin, executive VP, head of personal line of business, Orange, and member of the GSMA board of directors. "To this end the Orange ambition is that over two thirds of our sales will rely on this new charging solution,"
The group has set an ambitious target that by 2012 a universal charging solution (UCS) will be widely available in the market worldwide and will use Micro-USB as the common universal charging interface. The group agreed that by the 1 January 2012, the majority of all new mobile phone models available will support a universal charging connector and the majority of chargers shipped will meet the high efficiency targets set out by the OMTP ('open mobile terminal platform'), the industry body, which developed the technical requirements behind UCS.
"The mobile industry has a pivotal role to play in tackling environmental issues and this programme is an important step that could lead to huge savings in resources, not to mention convenience for consumers," said Rob Conway, CEO and member of the board of the GSMA. "There is enormous potential in mobile to help people live and work in an eco-friendly way and with the backing of some or the biggest names in the industry, this initiative will lead the way."
A universal charger will also make life much simpler for consumers, who will be able to use the same charger for future handsets, and will also be able to charge their mobile phone anywhere from any available charger. UCS chargers will also include a 4-star or higher efficiency rating, which is up to three times more energy-efficient than an unrated charger.
Mitti Storckovius, director of environment, devices at Nokia said, "By supporting this industry initiative on common charging solutions, and enabling consumers to choose if they need a charger with every new device or can re-use existing ones, we can contribute further in improving the industry's environmental footprint. Over the last few years, Nokia has pioneered many energy saving features, from chargers using 90 per cent less energy to alerts reminding people to unplug chargers."
Furthermore, with potentially 50 per cent less chargers being manufactured each year, the industry can expect to reduce greenhouse gases in manufacturing and transporting replacement chargers by 13.6 to 21.8 million tonnes a year.
Dr Bill Olson, director, office of sustainability and stewardship, Motorola Mobile Devices, says, "This initiative aligns very closely with our company's commitment to create environmentally responsible products that meet consumers' needs."
To ensure the uptake of a universal charging solution, the operators and manufacturers who have partnered with the GSMA to launch this initiative are working alongside the OMTP to roll-out the new solution in order to meet the targets set for 2012. The initiative will also work with the wider operator and manufacturing communities to secure global participation and commitment as well as educate the industry and promote the benefits of a universal charger via a targeted marketing campaign.
The initial group of companies who have joined the GSMA's UCS initiative include 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone – some of the world's largest mobile operators and manufacturers who together are committed to making a universal charging solution a reality up to 2012 and beyond.