Smartphones in France will no longer be required to have earphones in the box

The headphones included by default in the box of smartphones sold in France are over. The bill concerning this point has been voted by the Parliament and will soon be published in the Official Journal.

The end of compulsory headphones in smartphones

Patrick Chaize (Les Républicains), senator for the Ain region, is behind the bill to reduce the environmental footprint of digital technology in France. He spoke to Frandroid to confirm that smartphone manufacturers will no longer be required to include headphones in the box for models sold in France.

France originally mandated the presence of a hands-free kit for health reasons, to limit exposure to radio emissions. This explains why manufacturers have to offer a “special” box for France: because it has to include headphones. Other countries do not have such a law.

Article 14c, introduced by the deputies of the National Assembly after the first reading, states that manufacturers must ensure “the availability of headphones compatible with the model of terminal during its marketing period”. And as the senator explains, “Article 14c […] in effect removes this obligation to provide headphones when selling mobile phones”.

What about health, then? The senator explains that international expert bodies, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), have refuted the idea that there is an established causal link between exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones and chronic pathologies.

No more headphones or chargers

There is one important point to consider: smartphone manufacturers will technically still be able to include headphones in the box. There is nothing to stop them from doing so. The only difference is that they are no longer required to do so. And let’s face it, the vast majority will simply stop including them. This will allow them to put forward the argument of ecology, as many do (they have already removed the chargers from the box). Moreover, it’s positive in terms of logistics because they don’t need to create a specific box for France. And it also allows them to make some savings.

All of this will gradually be put in place. We have to wait for the publication of the decree in the Official Journal. There is no date yet.