Mobile communications and health

Telia Company’s approach to electromagnetic fields (EMF) puts health and safety first. In the current 5G deployment across the Nordics and Baltics, we follow all applicable guidelines and regulations from local authorities as well as the WHO and ICNIRP.

What is EMF?

Mobile phones and other connected devices communicate by transmitting and receiving radio waves across a radio access network consisting of fixed antennas. These connected devices and antennas produce non-ionizing electromagnetic waves, or electromagnetic fields (EMF), in the frequency range of hundreds of MHz up to a few GHz. This frequency range is used by many other modern applications – Bluetooth devices, microwave ovens, GPS receivers and wi-fi routers to name a few.

No known adverse health effects

Guidelines that define restriction levels for EMF from connected devices and mobile networks are set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP). ICNIRP is a non-profit organization of independent experts that collaborate with the World Health Organization (WHO) among others. ICNIRP’s guidelines are followed by local authorities all over the world, including those in the EU member states. Based on decades of research, local authorities and international institutions like the WHO and ICNIRP agree that to date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use or the electromagnetic fields produced by base stations. The ICNIRP guidelines were updated in 2020 to also include 5G frequencies, also called 5G spectrum.

Health and safety first

When we build our mobile networks, the health and safety of our customers, employees and contractors come first. According to our Group EMF Policy, we ensure that our products, services and networks adhere to local norms related to EMF that have been issued by local authorities, the EU and the WHO. We support the mobile industry association GSMA’s position on EMF as expressed in their EMF policy.

5G and EMF

Right now, Telia Company is rolling out 5G, the next generation of mobile technology, across our markets in the Nordics and Baltics. 5G technology is to a large extent built on the same infrastructure as previous generations of mobile networks such as 3G and 4G, and the equipment used adheres to the same strict EMF requirements and exposure limits.

In March 2020, ICNIRP issued updated guidelines regarding EMF exposure that covers the frequencies used for 5G. The updated guidelines are based on an extensive review of research on how EMF affects people’s health. The review determined that there was no evidence of adverse health effects at exposure levels below the restriction levels. And these are set with a significant safety margin. The updated ICNIRP guidelines form the basis for local authorities’ regulations on EMF exposure limits related to 5G spectrum.

To make sure we stay within these exposure limits we carry out measurements on transmitted signals from antennas to ensure they are within the applicable reference values. We continuously engage with important stakeholders like authorities on both national and local levels, on our own and through industry organizations, help answer concerns or questions from the general public and make sure authorities have relevant information and facts about EMF and how we build our networks according to relevant guidelines.

More information

More information can be found at the following links.