The European Commission (EC) has welcomed moves by the mobile industry to develop a common phone charger and said that a new EU-wide standard for the chargers will be introduced soon. The drive towards the harmonisation of chargers in the EU took a major step forward this week when the industry submitted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the Commission, committing to provide chargers compatible with a Micro-USB connector. The Commission said the first generation of new inter-chargeable mobile phones will reach the EU market from 2010 onwards. The MoU was signed by Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments. “I am very pleased that this solution was found on the basis of self-regulation,” said EC vice-president Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industrial policy. “As a result, the Commission does not consider it necessary to introduce legislation.”

In a statement, the Commission said that the MoU will be accompanied by a new EU standard that will guarantee safety and the avoidance of radio interference problems. But it noted that the MoU “will not preclude innovation in the fast moving mobile phone market by fixing a certain technology forever” and said the project will adapt to future charging technologies in due course. Incompatibility of chargers for mobile phones is deemed a major inconvenience for users and also leads to unnecessary environmental waste, the Commission said. An alliance of 17 device manufacturers and mobile operators, led by the GSMA, announced plans to adopt the same charger technology at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in February.