Green Light For Universal Phone Charger

The concept for a universal phone charger has gained the official blessing from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialist agency of the United Nations.

“The ITU has given its stamp of approval to an energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all new mobile phone solution,” said the Geneva, Switzerland-based ITU in a statement.

“Every mobile phone user will benefit from the new Universal Charging Solution (UCS), which enables the same charger to be used for all future handsets, regardless of make and model,” it said.

The ITU is the second-oldest international organisation still in existence after it was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris back in May 1865. It was established to standardise and regulate international radio and telecommunications.

There is an element here of pushing against an open door here as there is already a great deal of momentum within the mobile industry to move towards a universal charger. Indeed 17 mobile operators, led by the GSM Association and handset manufacturers have already announced that by 2012 they would use Micro-USB as the “common universal charging interface.”

The UCS concept will enable the creation of one-size-fits-all chargers that can be used on any future phone, said the ITU. This will help to dramatically cut the number of chargers produced, shipped and subsequently discarded as new models become available, it said.

“The new standard will also mean users worldwide will be able to charge their mobiles anywhere from any available charger, while also reducing the energy consumed while charging,” it added.

UCS chargers will also include a 4-star or higher efficiency rating – up to three times more energy-efficient than an unrated charger.

“This is a significant step in reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging, which also has the benefit of making mobile phone use more straightforward,” said Malcolm Johnson, the director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB). “Universal chargers are a common sense solution that I look forward to seeing in other areas.”

The new UCS standard was based on input from the GSMA, which predicts a 50 percent reduction in standby energy consumption, elimination of 51,000 tonnes of redundant chargers, and a subsequent reduction of 13.6 million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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