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Is your Nokia battery at risk?

Nokia issued a worldwide warning yesterday that faulty batteries in up to 46m of its mobile phones could overheat.

The electronics firm said it had received 100 complaints that when the phones are charging, the batteries short-circuit, expand and pop out of the back, leaving the handset unusable. The problem occurs after a phone has been charged more than 200-300 times, a Nokia spokesman said.

A chemical reaction is causing the batteries to expand - preventing the user from replacing the back of the phone. The company said there had been no reports of injuries. It is offering to replace the BL-5C batteries free as a precaution. Around 300 million BL-5C batteries are in use in Nokia products worldwide, but the warning affects the 46 million made by Matsushita Battery Industrial between December 2005 and November 2006, which are fitted on around 60 Nokia models.

Nokia could not say how many were in use in the UK. It has received two complaints of batteries overheating in Britain. A list of models that include the battery is on the company's website at www.nokia.com/ batteryreplacement. Analyst Richard Windsor of Nomura estimated the cost to Nokia at a maximum of £65 million.

'Historically, when there's been a problem of this nature the supplier has had to pay,' he said. Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson said it depended mostly on batteries from Sony and did not use Matsushita batteries. Last year, Sony was hit by hefty costs over the recall of 9.6 million laptop PC batteries that could overheat and catch fire. (thisismoney)