ITU approves universal phone charger standard

By Dave Bailey
22 Oct 2009 View Comments
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Standard mobile phone charger cuts standby energy use in half

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) approved a one-size-fits-all charger for mobile phones today.

The Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSMA) predicts that the standard will lead to a 50 per cent cut in standby energy consumption, equivalent to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 13.6 million tonnes.

Further reading

The UK's net emissions of CO2 in 2007 were around 530 million tonnes.

The announcement coincides with calls by the ITU for the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to be recognised in the draft Copenhagen Agreement - an agreement that will mitigate climate change.

ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Touré said: "ICTs are an essential element of an effective Copenhagen climate agreement."

ITU telecommunication standardisation bureau director Malcolm Johnson said that the new standard was a significant step towards reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging.

He added that it also has the benefit of making mobile phone use more straightforward: "Universal chargers are a commonsense solution," he said.

There is another hurdle though, that of persuading leading mobile phone manufacturers to introduce the standard, with industry experts already predicting a price premium for chargers that use it.

UCS chargers are based on the Micro-USB interface, and will also include a 4-star or higher efficiency rating - up to three times more energy-efficient than unrated chargers.

In addition to cutting the number of chargers produced, the new standard means users worldwide can charge their mobiles anywhere from any available charger, while also reducing the energy consumed while charging.

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