20 Mar 2018

Memorandum of Understanding on the future common charging solution for smartphones

The signatories hereto recognise that the Memorandum of Understanding (“first MoU”) for a Harmonisation of a Charging Capability for data enabled Mobile Phones, of 5 June 2009 and extended by two Letters of Intent signed in 2013 and 2014 respectively, together with the development of corresponding International technical standards, has been highly effective in increasing interoperability and promoting harmonisation of charging solutions in the EU, resulting in increased re-use of chargers and a significant improvement in consumer convenience (RPA study, 2014).

The number of different mobile phone charging solutions on the market has declined substantially since 2009, and the vast majority of handset owners now have a compliant phone. Many manufacturers of mobile phones who did not sign up to the first MoU have in the meantime adopted MoU-compliant charging solutions, extending the benefits arising from industry’s selfcommitment.

Whilst the success of the first MoU is recognised, advancement of Smartphone technology has provided the basis for the next common charging solution with improved charging performance and supporting new use cases which will further enhance user experience and will likely facilitate wider adoption for use with other devices. This clearly provides an opportunity to encourage improvements, particularly in the area of electronic waste reduction, such as those noted in the RPA study.

In the light of this development signatories hereby declare their commitment to continue to enable Smartphones to be charged through a common charging interface in fulfilment of the requirement of interworking between the power source and the Smartphone while leveraging the ability of USB Type-CTM2 to be the common charging interface for other types of portable electronic equipment as mentioned in the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (article 3.3a). In furtherance of this end, signatories agree to gradually transition to the new common charging solution for Smartphones based on USB Type-C.

Signatories will report regularly to the Commission on the state of these efforts, taking into account the latest technological and market developments.

Scope

This MoU is limited to wired charging solutions for Smartphones.

Definitions

For the purpose of this new Memorandum of Understanding:

A Smartphone typically means a battery-powered handheld communication touchscreen device which supports voice and data communication utilising public cellular networks.

An External Power Supply is a mains powered source enabling charging of Smartphones. Examples of USB Type-C power sources include, but are not limited to, charger bricks, desktops, displays, laptops, tablets, wall outlets, and other devices that have at least one USB Type-C port.

Considerations

Beginning no later than three years from the date of signing, signatories that introduce new Smartphone models to the EU market commit that such Smartphones will be chargeable through a USB Type-C connector or cable assembly.

Smartphones chargeable through any one or more of the following cable assemblies shall be considered compliant with this MoU: a cable assembly that is terminated on both ends with a USB Type-C plug; a cable assembly that is terminated on one end with a USB Type-C plug and has a vendor-specific connect means (hardwired/captive or custom detachable) on the opposite end; a cable assembly that sources power to a USB Type-C connector from a USB Type-A connector.

Smartphone models compliant with the technical requirements as laid out in the first MoU3 (5 June 2009) may still be sold.

This MoU shall not preclude innovation (for example in Smartphone and External Power Supply designs, battery and charging technologies, interfaces, adaptors, cables, or improved charging performance) .

List of signatories

  • Apple
  • Google
  • Lenovo
  • LG Electronics
  • Motorola Mobility
  • Samsung
  • Sony Mobile
For more information please contact
Klaus-Dieter Axt
Director for Digital Technology & Innovation and Consumer Affairs
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