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Radio and telecommunications terminal equipment (R&TTE)

One charger for all - Cool EU!

One charger for all logo © European Union 2008-2011

Making life easier for EU citizens

Mobile phones are fine - until the battery goes flat and you don't have your charger with you. No calls. No texts. No access to your data or your contacts. Cue a frantic search for a compatible charger.

But this problem will soon be a thing of the past.

The European Commission has persuaded mobile-phone manufacturers to abandon the wasteful and inefficient production of different chargers for different phones. Fourteen of the leading phone-makers agreed on a harmonised system for data-enabled phones sold in the EU. The result on paper is new technical standards. The result in the shops - and in the pockets and handbags of EU citizens - is that all these phones can be charged with a simple micro-USB plug.

The result for the environment is less electrical waste, with redundant chargers currently totalling an estimated 51,000 tonnes each year.

EU action has crystallised industry thinking - and accelerated a process that companies acting alone might have taken years to get round to implementing. In addition, the EU has achieved this without having to resort to complicated new legislation.

Indeed, it’s a neat demonstration of one of the ways the EU can help its citizens - not just through laws, but by spearheading a common-sense European-level approach that benefits everyone.

And there is also a potential “wow factor”. How cool will be to use just one charger for all our electronic devices at home?! The Commission thinks that, given that the mobile phone market is the largest market for consumer electronic goods, devices that have a similar battery capacity - such cameras and music players - will progressively adopt the new charger.

The compatibility with the common charger will further contribute to the objectives of making life easier for European citizens, protecting the environment and reducing the cost of buying electronic devices. The Commission will closely monitor this convergence process and will take action to the benefit of citizens.

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