O2 to ditch pre-packaged chargers from all new phones by 2015

O2 to ditch pre-packaged chargers from all new phones by 2015

Summary: It turns out phone buyers don’t actually want duplicate chargers, a pilot by the operator with HTC has found.


O2 is urging the whole telecoms industry to ditch the practice of including chargers with new phones after a trial by the mobile operator found the majority of consumers opting not to take a charger with their new device.

O2 began its Charger out of the Box trial with HTC trial last October. The pilot gave UK customers who bought HTC's One X+ the option to purchase the device with just the USB-to-Micro-USB connection lead, rather than with a plug-in charger. Eighty-two percent of customers didn't take the charger.

The carrier said it had expected only 70 percent of sales to be without the charger, and as a result it now plans to ditch pre-packaged chargers altogether by 2015, with consumers able to buy them as an optional add-on.

Based on the results, O2 estimates that 24 million of the 30 million phones sold in the UK each year would exclude the charger, which could go some way to slowing down the build-up of unused chargers, estimated to be as many as 100 million in UK.

"I now hope that as a result of this study the rest of the industry will now consider joining us in our campaign to take chargers out of the box for good," said O2's chief exec Ronan Dunne.

"The lesson for the industry from this pilot is that consumers are very receptive to the message that they can benefit the environment by avoiding the needless purchase of chargers. I would now like to see others taking similar steps, working with us as we aim to ensure all our handsets are sold charger-free by 2015."

Topics: HTC, Mobile OS, Mobility, United Kingdom

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • GREAT except for Apple!

    Why can't the iThingies use universal chargers and cables?
    • I am no Apple fan...

      But even they include a standard USB style wall charger that is compatible with other manufacturers (I've lent my iPhone charger to numerous colleagues with a micro USB cable and or used it myself to charge a Sony Xperia, Nokia Lumia 800, Samsung Galaxy S II, Nexus 7 and various Blackberry devices). Admittedly, the iPhone necessitates a proprietary cable, but the article doesn't mention ditching the cable, just the charger. And in my experience, the iPhone plug is as small as they come (equalled by the Nokia Lumia 800 charger only), so Apple are actually doing well on that front. Now if they could update iOS to 6.0.3 and stop this iPhone running like a sack of crap and requiring twice daily reboots, I'll be very happy.
  • Different Charging Times with USB vs Wall Outlet Chargers?

    I have experienced vastly different charging times - 3 hrs (wall outlet) vs half a day (USB). I usually always use the included wall charger because it can push more charge into my phones faster. If I let my phones completely die, it usually takes a solid 2-3hrs to fully charge. It seems like it takes forever to recharge my phones using a computer connection via USB.
  • I don't believe it!

    I hate it when devices only come with usb chargers. I want to plug it into the bloody wall! We don't all have computers with us all the time.

    The 80% who didn't get a wall charger too, how did they charge their phones up?
    • Do we really need any MORE wall chargers...

      I literally have tens of wall chargers I've got over the past couple of years.

      I'm willing to bet that all these people who turned down a wall charger did so because they already have multiple ones.
      • Yes we do.

        I'm sure that you are correct in your assumption ... but in a family situation where people take away and lose chargers, or where they get put to other uses like permanent RPi duty ... and where there are still four people that want to charge their phones everyday ... I think you'll find that it's damn handy to have a few spares.

        Of course now we'll all have to go out to buy new chargers after dog/rabbit/baby/clumsy kid etc break the only one available.

        Lets be honest, it's a cost cutting exercise and I'm betting that the 'phone is no cheaper without the charger!
  • O2 to ditch pre-packaged chargers from all new phones by 2015

    maybe good at first glance, but how many devices can charge a phone with the charging device turned off. in essence you have two devices sipping juice from the outlet while charging a phone. the solution is to have a universal standard connector to charge phones worldwide. everyone need one charger for all phone devices they own.
  • Not just phones

    The problem of compatibility between chargers is common to every device that needs them. There is no logical reason why the voltage and current capability is not directly and universally related to the outside and inside diameters of the circular type of plug.
    A plethora of information connectors is a similar example of utter bloody-mindedness when conversion adaptors are available between LAN , Firewire, USB, HDMI etc.
  • Just want to make more profit

    The phone without a charger will cost them less and the postage out will be less too - they are not interested in ecology just in saving money. You can bet contract prices will do the same.
    I agree chargers could be optional by giving a small reduction in price if you opt not to have one - but now you are going to have to pay more if you want one!

    It will also encourage the sale of cheap Chinese charges which may, or may not, be safe. At best these might overheat at worst they may damage your phones batter because they don't have a cut out circuit when the phone is charged. I think this a bad move - charging through a usb lead on a desktop is slower and on a laptop helps to drain the battery. I for one keep a charger at work and a couple around the house, because you can never find one when you want it and todays smart phones, if used heavily, need regular charging
  • Chargers

    I use the USB cable on PC when I'm using my home PC, use USB cable in the wall charge plug over night battery should last the day. I prefer to have both cable and plug and I will not pay extra for a plug if they decide to take then out on new phones, just another attempt to rob us blind