A provisional deal between Members of the European Parliament and the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of Ministers brings the EU one step closer to its goal of enforcing mobile phone manufacturers to offer a common battery charger.
The deal signed on Thursday will ensure that all vendors will be required to support a universal charger which will translate not only into saving for consumers, but also significant reduction in electronic waste. Further, a universal charger means that phone companies won’t be allowed to install custom ports on the devices they manufacture and won’t be allowed to insist customers on using their proprietary charger.
It has been noticed that as and when new instances of mobile phones are release, there a new ports and accompanying chargers which are not backwards compatible. This means a household may have as many chargers as mobile phones, which translates into huge cumulative costs. Further users are weary of using third party chargers on mobile phones that use custom ports as there are chances that the charger may not be certified by the vendor which could lead to damages to the internal circuitry of the phone.
The agreement now needs to be endorsed by the European Parliament and EU member states. If the provisional agreement gets the nod, member states will be required to transpose the regulation into their national law in two years. Manufacturers will have an additional year to comply – meaning that the universal charger law should take effect in 2017. The European Parliament is expected to sign off the law in March 2014.
Most of the mobile phones available nowadays use microUSB based chargers, but there are exceptions and the primary among them is Apple. If the rule is put into effect, Apple will be required to provide a port which can connect to the universal charger which the EU decides upon.