A universal mobile charger that fits all makes of handset has been given the go-ahead by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The ITU said the device will reduce the number of chargers that are discarded when mobile phone users purchase new handsets, but will also allow users to power-up their mobiles anywhere from any available charger, while also reducing the energy consumed.

Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau (TSB) Malcolm Johnson said: "This is a significant step in reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging, which also has the benefit of making mobile phone use more straightforward."

The charger will be based on a standard put forward by the GSM Association, and has been backed by hardware manufacturers including LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, as well as all of the UK's major network operators.

Mobile phone buying advice

See all mobile phone reviews

See also: Universal phone chargers get fast-tracked