Sony becomes third major manufacturer to sign up to O2 “Charger out of the Box” scheme with Xperia SP

HTC, Nokia and Sony all now working with O2 to remove chargers from new phones

Sony has joined O2’s sustainability campaign that the network hopes will see all mobile phones sold without chargers by 2015. The Japanese firm is trialling the programme with its Xperia SP handset, which will be sold without a charging unit as standard when it launches in May 2013.

Xperia SP phones sold by O2 will come with the USB to micro-USB cable – which customers can use with an existing mains charger unit with a USB connection or via their PC. If customers buying the Sony Xperia SP need a charging unit, they can purchase one from O2 at a discounted price.

Sony has become the third handset manufacturer to sign up to the “Chargers out of the Box” scheme.

The announcement follows O2’s successful trials with two HTC handsets – in which 82% of customers bought the handset without chargers, choosing to use existing equipment.

Nokia has announced that its Nokia Lumia 925 – their flagship smartphone handset – will be sold without chargers included on O2 when it launches in June. The 925 is Nokia’s first phone to be included in O2’s environmental initiative and will be sold with a micro-USB to USB charging cable but without a plug.

The “Chargers out of the Box” initiative has been launched by O2 to cut down the environmental waste caused by the millions of unnecessary chargers sold annually. It is thought that at least 70% of all existing mobile phone owners now have the interchangeable USB charging units that can be used with almost any handset – and yet 30 million phones are sold each year in the UK including this piece of near-redundant equipment.

Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2, who has made it his personal mission to see all phones sold without chargers included, said:

“As an industry, we have a duty to our customers to behave in a way that is environmentally responsible, making our businesses leaders in sustainability. Taking chargers out of the box is a small change that has a huge environmental benefit – cutting down not just on waste, but also the environmental costs of transport, storage and component manufacture.”

“We have trialled this scheme with two major handset launches and have been able to show our partners that consumers are ready to buy phones without the chargers – if the environmental benefits are explained clearly to them. Sony backing our campaign is a major step towards making chargers out of the box the norm in the UK and I very much hope that we will see others joining us over the course of this year.” 

O2 estimates that taking chargers out of the box could mean 24 million fewer chargers being sold each year if the scheme were adopted across the industry. That the number could rise as more consumers become aware of the benefits and the fact that they already have the equipment they need.

Catherine Cherry, Marketing Director for North West Europe at Sony said:

“There is a clear willingness amongst customers to listen to the environmental message, so from our perspective pilots like this are essential to reducing environmental waste. 

“Networks and handset manufacturers have to take a lead on this area and so we were eager to run a trial with one of our leading smartphones. If it works well, we will obviously consider rolling this out more widely.”

Research by O2 suggests there are as many as 100 million unused chargers in total in the UK that are either duplicates of existing kit or are from old handsets.  These have already had a huge environmental cost:

  • A total of 18,700 tonnes of components (the same weight as 1,000 London buses)
  • 124,274 miles of copper wire and plastic covering (enough to wrap the O2 Arena 200,000 times)
  • A volume of landfill equivalent to four Olympic swimming pools if all were thrown away

Within its Think Big Blueprint, O2’s 3 year sustainability strategy, the company has pledged to supply phones charger-free by 2015 to cut down on the huge environmental waste that spare and redundant chargers create.

Promoting a single charger, selling phones without chargers as standard and encouraging recycling are just three of the ways O2 is seeking to help customers make a difference to the environment through its Think Big Blueprint – an ambitious plan to support young people, help customers make sustainable choices and reduce its own impacts by 2015.

Ronan Dunne concluded:

“With HTC, Nokia and Sony now on board and running trials, I would very much like to see others join this initiative. If the whole industry – manufacturers and the other networks – were to get behind this scheme, we could make a huge difference more-or-less overnight and at next to no cost to our customers. O2 may be leading the way, but I hope we are also showing others that this can be done – and that we are very much in step with the demands of customers.” 



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About O2

O2 is the commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited and is a leading communications company with over 23 million customers – read more about O2 at O2 runs 2G and 3G networks and was the first to pilot 4G/LTE, reaching speeds of over 100Mpbs, as well as owning half of Tesco Mobile. It also operates O2 Wifi, O2 Health, O2 Unify, O2 Media and has recently launched the O2 Wallet. O2 employs over 11,000 people in the UK, has 450 retail stores and sponsors The O2, O2 Academy venues and the England rugby team.

Telefónica UK Limited is part of Telefónica Europe plc which uses O2 as its commercial brand in the UK, Ireland, Slovakia, Germany and the Czech Republic and is a business division of Telefónica SA.

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