Base stations and health

Mobile devices cannot work without base stations. Our comprehensive network of base stations allows us to keep improving our coverage and to introduce new services such as video calling, internet and mobile TV. Read more about how base stations work. Most people welcome improved coverage and services, but we recognise that expanding our network can sometimes cause concern, usually about the visual impact of base stations or health issues concerning radio frequency (RF) fields.

The International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has issued guidelines for limiting exposure to RF fields, including from base stations. These guidelines have a safety margin built into them, and all our base stations comply. In fact, public exposure to RF fields from our base stations is typically many times below the guideline limit.

The majority of experts and national advisory boards say there is no scientific reason to distance base stations from places where people live and work, as long as the ICNIRP guidelines are adhered to. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) factsheet on base stations and wireless technologies concludes that “there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF (radio frequency) signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects”. The WHO has no plans to conduct further research into the effects of RF exposure from base stations, as it is not considered necessary.

Our operating companies gather and communicate information about RF exposure from our base stations. For example in Greece, we work with two local universities through the HERMES Program to monitor electromagnetic radiation emitted by various radio frequency sources in the environment.

Exposures from base stations

Base stations use radio signals to connect mobile devices to the network, enabling people to send and receive calls, texts, emails, pictures, web, TV and downloads.