Telefonica's O2 drops chargers from UK phone sales

MADRID Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:21am EST

MADRID Jan 18 (Reuters) - Telefonica's British subsidiary, O2, said it will not provide chargers with any of the mobile handsets it sells by 2015, after a successful pilot scheme suggested 80 percent of customers would buy phones without chargers.

O2 estimated there were 100 million unused chargers in Britain and encouraged competitors to take similar steps so all phones are eventually sold chargerless.

Handset makers promised a standard charger suitable for all smartphones under pressure from the European Commission in 2009, meaning customers who purchased handsets recently do not need a new one for handsets from a different brand.

The European Commission cited environmental concerns and O2 said the number of unused handsets in Britain had already had a "huge environmental cost".

O2 and Taiwanese handset maker HTC launched a trial in October offering customers the option to buy a phone with or without a charger. 82 percent of customers opted to buy a phone charger-free.

Customers who want a charger with their new handset will be able to buy one at cost price, O2 said.

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