European smartphone users are to get a standardised charger following an agreement between handset manufacturers that control 90 per cent of the region’s mobile market.

From next year, new phones will be sold with the charger but will eventually come without one – significantly lowering manufacturing and shipping costs.

The phone makers – Motorola, Nokia, Apple, Sony Ericsson, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung and Texas Instruments – announced their plans on Monday through the European Commission.

The accord finally ends the long-running debate over doing away with the waste and cost of having to change charger whenever buying a new phone that have been rumbling on for years – in Europe at least.

Following the announcement, EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said: "People will not have to throw away their charger whenever they buy a new phone."

The chargers will be usable only on data-enabled phones that access the Internet, going beyond voice calls and SMS.

Nearly half of the 185 million estimated mobile phones projected to be sold in Europe 2010 are expected to be data-enabled – and compatible with the charger.

Verheugen said the it was assumed the new European initiative would have a knock-on effect globally.

Consumers will gain from being able to borrow someone else’s charger – regardless if they have an iPhone, Blackberry or Nokia.

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