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Nokia, the world’s largest manufacturer of cell phones, has announced the recall of its batteries, which were originally made by Matsushita Battery Industrial Co. (which is primarily known for Panasonic brand). The replacement program concerns tens of models and may involve tens of millions cell phones.

Nokia said it had identified that in very rare cases the Nokia-branded BL-5C batteries could potentially experience overheating initiated by a short circuit while charging, causing the battery to dislodge. There had been approximately 100 incidents of overheating reported globally with no serious injuries or property damage, Nokia indicated. Nokia is working closely with Matsushita and will be cooperating with relevant authorities to investigate this situation.

Nokia has several suppliers for BL-5C batteries who have collectively produced more than 300 million BL-5C batteries. According to Nokia, about 46 million batteries manufactured by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006 may be replaced at a customer’s request.

“While the occurrence in the BL-5C batteries produced by Matsushita in the time-period specified is very rare, for consumers wishing to do so, Nokia and Matsushita offer to replace for free any BL-5C battery subject to this product advisory,” a statement by Nokia reads.

Nokia BL-5C batteries are used in variety of Nokia’s phones, including models among 1000-, 2000-, 3000-, 6000-, 7000-, N- and E-series. Consumers who wish to find out whether their batteries can be replaced free of charge have to go to Nokia’s web-site and enter a special 26-digit code located on their batteries into a special form.

This is the second major battery recall announcement from a Japan-based maker in the recent quarters. Last year numerous notebook manufacturers had to replace batteries that contained cells manufactured by Sony Corp.

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