O2 to pilot first mobile phone sold without a charger


Operator to sell a newly launched HTC phone without a charger before the end of the year, encouraging customers to use existing equipment and be more environmentally friendly

O2 will pilot the first mobile phone sold without a charger as part of its commitment to take “chargers out of the box” with all its new handsets.

The pilot will be in partnership with HTC and will be tested with a new handset to launch before the end of this year.

O2 will sell the device without a charger although customers will be able to buy one at cost price. The phone will come with a USB-to-micro-USB cable that can be used with existing chargers that have a USB input, or with a PC USB slot.

The mobile operator has estimated that 70 per cent of customers who buy 30 million new phones sold in the UK each year already have chargers that will work with their new handsets. O2 said it hoped the vast majority would buy the new HTC handset without the charger and will use existing equipment.

Further research from O2 found there are up to 100 million unused chargers in the UK that are either duplicates of existing kit or from old handsets.

The operator added that eliminating the charger would also reduce the environmental cost created by the packaging and transport required.

O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne said: “Right now, O2 with HTC has to go it alone on this matter – we both believe in it passionately enough that we can’t wait for the industry as a whole to join us in this crusade. That said, we hope that we will be able to pave the way for others to follow us as this has to be a collective effort if we are to achieve the bigger aim of eliminating chargers sold with every new phone in the UK.

“The environmental cost of multiple and redundant chargers is enormous and I believe that, as the mobile phone has become more prevalent, we as retailers and manufacturers have an ever-greater responsibility to be a more sustainable industry.

“In the last few years, our sector has made progress towards a universal charging solution, although not nearly as fast as I would have liked. As a result, we have fallen short of our original promise as an industry to standardise charging across all handsets.

“I would now call on our sector to do more. As a universal charger becomes a reality we should be bold enough to do the right thing by the planet and take the obvious next step: no longer offering a new charger as standard with every new phone.”

HTC UK regional director Phil Roberson said: “HTC is excited to be supporting this pilot, because like O2, we think that it is the right time to inform our customers about the environmental impact of wasted phone chargers, as well as the benefits of using the chargers and mains adapters that they already own.

“We strongly believe in the benefits of a common industry micro-USB charger and have implemented this hardware across our entire portfolio. A unified approach across all manufacturers and retailers would dramatically decrease the industry’s carbon footprint, not only in terms of manufacturing but also packaging and transport.”