The GSM Association (GSMA) has launched a major initiative to standardize power chargers on GSM phones, using its new UCS (Universal Charging Solution) standard. The GSMA wants to ensure that the mobile phone industry adopts a common format for mobile phone charger connections, justifying that the new energy-efficient chargers will result in an estimated 50 per cent reduction in standby energy consumption.
Many mobile phones already use the mini-USB connector, which allows recharging the phone while transferring data at the same time to a computer. However, many newer phones are using the flatter micro-USB connector, designed for ultra-slim electronics. Both allow a slow charge of 500mA through a powered USB port or hub, or a faster charge through the use of an AC adapter.
The new UCS standard specifies a high efficiency charger using a micro-USB connector, to be used by a target date of January, 2012. The technical requirements behind UCS were developed by the OMTP (Open Mobile Terminal Platform), a mobile industry body.
The micro-USB charger will also be compatible with future mobile phones that utilize the USB 3.0 micro-USB receptacle, which has an additional area for SuperSpeed USB signaling.
A large group of international companies have have already joined the UCS initiative, including 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone.
Although the GSMA states that the primary goal of the UCS initiative is to reduce the disposal of old phone chargers, the use of a standardized phone charger means that replacement phones will no longer come with a new charger, lowering costs for mobile phone manufacturers and the mobile network operators that provide them.
The GSMA is comprised of more than 750 mobile network operators and over 200 other companies, including phone manufacturers, software companies, equipment providers, internet companies, and media and entertainment organizations.