O2 to ship all phones without chargers by 2015

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Mobile operator O2 is to stop shipping chargers with the handsets it sends out to customers by 2015.

The declaration follows on from the success of a pilot project involving the firm and smartphone maker HTC last October, which saw O2 offer the HTC One X+ device without a USB charge plug.

The devices were only shipped with a USB-to-micro-USB connection lead in the box, but users were given the option of purchasing the missing plug at cost price.

If the results of this pilot were repeated with all handets, there would be 24 million fewer chargers sold each year.

According to O2, 82 per cent of consumers opted to go without, which is 12 per cent higher than the operator expected.

As a result, O2 has now pledged to stop shipping chargers with any of the devices it sells by 2015, as part of its wider three-year Think Big Blueprint sustainability campaign.

"There are 30 million new phones sold in the UK each year. If the results of this pilot were repeated with all handsets, there would be 24 million chargers fewer sold annually in the UK a huge environmental saving," the company said in a statement.

"Promoting a single charger, selling phones without chargers as standard and encouraging recycling are three ways O2 is seeking to help customers make a different to the environment [with this campaign]...and reduce its own impacts by 2015."

O2's research suggests there are around 100 million unused phone charges in the UK because they are either duplicates or belong to obsolete old handsets.

Ronan Dunne, chief executive of O2, said he would like to see other firms in the mobile market follow his company in going charger-free.

"The lesson for the industry from [these trials] is that consumers are very receptive to the message that they can benefit the environment by avoiding the needless purchase of chargers," he said.

"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."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.