Advice and information on wireless technologies and the environment
Specially trained Swisscom employees advise persons involved in the construction and operation of mobile networks as well as stakeholder groups seeking general information on wireless technologies, the environment or health. During the reporting year, Swisscom held more than 630 discussions with key stakeholder groups on the subjects of mobile communications and the environment. These discussions were motivated by local projects.
Research and development in the area of electromagnetic fields
Mindful of the major responsibility that Swisscom has in operating its wireless networks, internal and external experts track the progress of scientific research. Swisscom also analyses research findings and supports relevant scientific activities.
Swisscom works with and financially supports the Swiss Research Foundation on Mobile Communication (FSM) based at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, and employs four qualified employees to monitor and interpret the latest research findings on electromagnetic fields, their effect on organisms and the measurement of emissions.
Based on current knowledge, scientists consider the current limits for electromagnetic fields as safe (see WHO Fact Sheets Nos. 193 and 304).
Certification of quality assurance system for compliance with ONIR limits
Swisscom is required to operate a quality assurance system (QAS) for the base stations of its mobile network to ensure that the installations in operation comply with the statutory limits at all times. In 2005, Swisscom decided to have this quality assurance system certified to the ISO 15504 standard. The quality assurance system was assessed in December 2013 by an external auditor mandated by SGS with a view to its recertification. Swisscom passed this audit of the quality assurance system, scoring a capability level of 4 (out of a maximum of 5), which means that the processes relevant for the QAS are “targeted and measureable”.
The legal obligation to limit emissions from mobile communication installations in Switzerland comes from the Ordinance relating to Protection against Non-Ionising Radiation (ONIR), the aim of which is to protect people against harmful or undesirable non-ionising radiation. The Ordinance applies to the operation of fixed installations that emit electrical and magnetic fields with frequencies between O Hz and 300 GHz. Swisscom complies with the ONIR limits. The Swiss limits are 10 times lower than those in the European Union.
Duty to provide information on products offered at points of sale
Swisscom provides information on the levels of radiation emitted by the mobile handsets that it sells. Prices on all products on display and offered by Swisscom are clearly disclosed as prescribed by the Federal Ordinance on the Disclosure of Prices. This declaration is supplemented by relevant technical information on the products. Customers and other interested parties can also find information on the levels of radiation emitted by mobile handsets (SAR values) at Swisscom points of sale and on the Swisscom website. There is no legal obligation to provide this information. By doing so, Swisscom is responding to a need by customers for whom radiation levels are particularly important when it comes to choosing a mobile phone. It goes without saying that no mobile handsets offered exceed the limit of 2 W/kg; half (51%: prior year 48.7%) are below 0.8 W/kg and 31% (prior year 28.2%) even have a SAR value below 0.6 W/kg (product portfolio as at December 2013).