Nokia Investigates Exploding Cell Phones

In the wake of several incidents where counterfeit batteries have been blamed for exploding Nokia cellular phones, the company announced on Thursday plans to step up its fight against counterfeiters with "aggressive, regional anti-counterfeit measures."

In October, Nokia blamed three incidents of exploding handsets that injured users--two in the Netherlands and one in Vietnam--on counterfeit batteries manufactured by unauthorized suppliers.

A Nokia user in Thailand was injured earlier this month after his Nokia 3310 exploded. He admitted he had bought a cheap battery for the phone from a discount dealer.

Nokia's fight against the distribution and sale of counterfeit batteries, which are generally cheaper and often indistinguishable from the genuine article, is not new. More than 5 million counterfeit batteries have been seized and destroyed worldwide since the beginning of this year, the company said in a statement.

Sophisticated Copies

But the problem remains serious and counterfeit batteries have even fooled consumer safety groups, Nokia said. On Wednesday, a Belgian consumer group, Test-Aankoop, announced that a test which declared Nokia batteries unsafe had been unreliable as counterfeit batteries had likely been included, it said. Test-Aankoop has agreed to a new, independent test using approved Nokia batteries and will release the results of that test soon, it said.

Nokia plans to step up its fight against the counterfeiters, described by the company in a statement as "a very sophisticated enemy." However, the company declined to detail its planned anti-counterfeiting measures, saying it did not want to give counterfeiters advance notice of its plans.

In the meantime, the company plans to post information on its Web site to help users differentiate between batteries that are approved for use in Nokia phones and counterfeit models, it said.

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