EC proposes USB-C as the standard port for smartphones, alongside mandating option to buy a device without charger in the EU

European Union’s executive branch, the European Commission, proposed a new plan for standardizing a common charger in the common market, as well as other proposals that should benefit the customers’ budget, reduce e-waste and save the environment.

The proposal would mandate USB-C as the charging port for smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld gaming consoles. All devices supporting fast charging should also support the USB-PD standard, but manufacturers will still have the option to include their proprietary charging technology. EC finds it important that all chargers are compatible, and manufacturers will have to clearly mark the charging speed via USB-PD on retail boxes.

Another proposal is that there should be an option for consumers to buy devices without the charger included in the sales package. Manufacturer will still have the option to bundle their devices with chargers, but as a separate offering. This requirement is formulated as it is for the customers’ benefit not to get a charger with the device, but that’s a bit ironic. The logic behind this is that some customers already have compatible chargers. In reality, that might end up with companies not shipping the “charger bundles” at all in EU, and selling all the chargers separately, as some already do.

This proposal should save EU citizens around 250 million euro per year, and reduce e-waste. For this proposal to be turned into law, the European Parliament needs to hold a vote on it. After that, there will be a 24 month period for manufacturers to adjust for the new regulation on the EU market.