Harmonisation of chargers for mobile phones REF: 329

DG Enterprise and Industry invited RPA to carry out an evalution of the effectiveness, efficiency, utility and sustainability of the European Commission’s initiative on harmonisation of chargers for mobile telephones and indirectly on other small portable electronic devices and their chargers, with a view to assessing possible future options.

In the past, mobile telephones were only compatible with specific mobile telephone chargers. Apart from causing inconvenience to the consumer, this created unnecessary electronic waste. In response to this, the European Commission facilitated an agreement among major handset manufacturers to adopt a common charger for data-enabled mobile phones sold in the EU.

In June 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in which mobile phone manufacturers agreed to harmonise chargers for new models of data-enabled handsets coming onto the market  as of 2011. The MoU expired at the end of 2012 but it has been effectively extended by a number of its signatories through two subsequent ‘Letters of Intent’ (LoI), signed in 2013 and 2014.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impacts these initiatives have had on the harmonisation of chargers for mobile telephones and indirectly on the markets for other portable electronic devices, and to assess the potential for further harmonisation.