New HTC phone sold without charger


Yui Mok/PA

O2 is removing chargers from new HTC phone packages in a pilot scheme to help cut waste and encourage phone users to recycle their existing chargers.

The move has been met with anger from many consumers who claim the mobile network is profiteering by offering chargers separately at an extra cost, yet not reducing the price of the phone.

The no-charger scheme is being run in conjunction with Taiwanese phone company HTC, which is shortly due to unveil its much anticipated new 'flagship' handset.

The phone will be supplied with a micro-USB to USB cable, but without the plug that goes into the wall. O2 claims that as most plugs are interchangeable, the majority of buyers will already have a charger that can be used with their new phone and cable.

For buyers that do want a new charger, O2 is offering them at cost price of £3.47.

Cut waste
A universal charger has been called upon for many years to reduce waste in the mobile phone industry, but the major phone makers are still yet to settle on a design that can be used across all phone models.

As a result of having a new charger with every new phone, O2 claims that there are around 100 million redundant chargers currently in circulation in the UK.

Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 in the UK, says: "The environmental cost of multiple and redundant chargers is enormous and I believe that, as the mobile phone has become more prevalent, we as retailers and manufacturers have an ever-greater responsibility to be a more sustainable industry."

Consumer backlash
Consumer response to the bold move is mixed. While the environmental stance is generally welcomed, many feel short changed by having to pay for something that was previously available for free.

Following the announcement of the news on its Facebook page, O2 has received a barrage of response for fairer options. Ideas include offering a choice to buy the new phone with or without the charger; cutting the price of the phone to compensate for the change, or introducing an in-store recycling service for consumers to pick up used chargers for free.

10 of the biggest consumer rip-offs

10 of the biggest consumer rip-offs

More stories