O2 to sell HTC One without a charger

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Partnership is a first between a network and manufacturer, with the One instead sold with a USB-to-microUSB cable

O2 is to sell the HTC One without a charger, marking the first time a network and manufacturer have collaborated to sell a flagship smartphone without one.

The device will instead be sold with a USB-to-microUSB cable, which can be used with existing chargers that have a USB input or with a PC USB slot. Customers not in possession of these can buy a standalone charger in-store or online at a discounted price.

This is part of O2’s bid to see all phones sold without chargers by 2015 and also part of its commitment to reduce more than 30 million new chargers that come with phones purchased each year.

It follows a pilot last October between the two firms in which 82 per cent of customers bought a trial handset without a power source.

Research by O2 suggests there are up to 100 million unused chargers in the UK that are either duplicates of existing kit or are from old handsets.

The cost to the environment includes 18,700 tonnes of components (the same weight as 1,000 London buses), 124,274 miles of copper wire and plastic covering (enough to wrap the O2 Arena 200,000 times) and a volume of landfill equivalent to four Olympic-sized swimming pools if all were thrown away.

O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne said: “The trial we have run over the past six months has given us the confidence that customers are ready to buy phones without chargers – to the point where O2 and HTC were prepared to apply this initiative to one of this year’s biggest handset launches.

“By ensuring that we have the right support and information for customers in our stores and on our website, the vast majority are willing to consider and respond to our environmental argument for taking a phone without the charger.

“This is another major step towards selling all phones charger-free as standard by 2015, which is my goal for O2. The environmental savings in manufacture and transport are enormous – and could be bigger if the industry as a whole joined together to take chargers out of the box. I hope our continued efforts will demonstrate there is no downside and everything to gain from more networks and manufacturers considering similar bold steps.”

HTC head of EMEA Philip Blair said: “Alongside O2, we have undertaken a really significant piece of consumer education. With so many chargers already in circulation, it’s important to remind customers to consider using the charging units and mains adapters that they already own. Applying this scheme to the launch of our flagship handset demonstrates how passionately we feel about this initiative, as well as our collective goal to reduce the amount of waste caused by unnecessary and unused chargers across the UK.”

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