Future technologies

The guideline limits for public exposure to radiofrequency (RF) fields set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) apply to the whole radiofrequency range used for mobile communications. This means that the extensive scientific data available on mobiles, masts and health is relevant to any new technology we intend to deploy, just as the same speed limit applies to any type of car, whether diesel, petrol, or electric.

We review the findings of new research into exposure to radiofrequency (RF) fields and take the advice of recognised expert scientific review panels and health authorities. We will consider new research findings to be significant if one of these panels or authorities advises that the findings change the overall weight of scientific evidence, and changes its position accordingly.

Long Term Evolution

Long Term Evolution (LTE) for mobile broadband is one of the newest technologies we are exploring to improve services for our customers. Several technologies can provide mobile broadband, including High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), and LTE is the most recent and most advanced. USB modems, or ‘dongles’, that plug into laptops are LTE devices.

LTE delivers very fast data speeds – up to 100 megabits per second downlink and 50 megabits per second uplink, faster than most home broadband services. It is compatible with older technologies such as GSM and 3G, which means we will be able to roll it out without any disruption to our services.

According to the GSMA factsheet on LTE, “Measurements in 2010 on one of the first commercial LTE networks operating in the 2.6 GHz band showed that the LTE signals were about 4% of all the measured radio signals and more than 6,000 times below the recommended safety limits. Further measurements are planned for LTE systems in other frequency bands and to examine the influence of call traffic.

The measurements found that typical exposures are similar to current wireless networks, and other sources, such as TV and radio. The level of exposure in a particular position will depend on many factors including antenna height, transmitter power and distance to the antenna.”

Read the full GSMA factsheet on LTE here.

We are the first telecommunications company to provide LTE products and services. We began trialling this technology in Germany in 2009 to identify whether LTE is a viable way to provide broadband in rural areas. We are now rolling out high-speed broadband across Germany, with plans for nationwide coverage by the end of 2011. We launched the appropriate tariffs and hardware in September 2010 and currently have 100 LTE base stations set up in Germany to transmit LTE to paying customers.

In addition to this service, we recently launched an integrated LTE telephone and internet access product in Germany, which is already available in the regions with an LTE service. Customers can now use their LTE modem and Vodafone Easybox to make voice calls, in the same way they would make landline calls.