Smartphones in Pakistan May Get Replaceable Batteries Once Again


The EU is making sweeping changes across the smartphone industry. First, it will force smartphone makers to allow third-party apps starting in January 2024. Next, it will make USB C mandatory for all portable electronics beginning at the end of 2024.

Now, it has reached a provisional deal that will require all portable devices to feature user-replaceable batteries. As Pakistan imports smartphones, this would also affect phones that are sold in Pakistan to some extent.

The agreement covers almost all types of batteries – including portable batteries, starting, lighting, and ignition batteries for cars (SLI), light means of transport batteries (LMT) for electric scooters, bikes, etc, and electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

If passed, this legislation will allow manufacturers three and a half years to redesign their portable devices so that users can remove and replace their batteries.

As per the new EU requirements, every battery must have labels and QR codes. These codes will contain information about the capacity, performance, chemical composition, and a symbol for “separate collections”. Batteries will also have digital passports that contain information about the battery model and the individual batteries.

Environmental concerns were a strong driver of this agreement. The plan establishes minimum levels for recycled materials in batteries: 16% for cobalt, 85% for lead, and 6% for lithium nickel.

Old batteries will be collected to feed the recycling process. At least 45% must be collected by 2023, 63% in 2027, and 73% by 2030, respectively, for portable batteries. The numbers for LMT batteries are 51% in 2028, and 61% in 2031.

All other batteries, including industrial and EV, must be collected free of charge by the consumer, regardless of brand, origin, or condition. Manufacturers selling products to the EU will have to establish a due diligence program to address the “social and environmental risks” associated with sourcing, processing, and trading raw materials and secondary materials.

What About Pakistan?

Of course, these rules will never be enforced in Pakistan, but it is highly unlikely that phone makers will start selling handsets with completely different builds in different regions. Hence, if phones with replaceable batteries become official in the EU, they will probably make their way to Pakistan as well.

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