Low-radiation communications technologies

Advice and information on wireless technologies and the environment

Six trained Swisscom employees provide advice to people who are involved in the construction and operation of mobile networks. They also advise stakeholder groups seeking general information on wireless technologies, the environment and health. During the reporting year, Swisscom held more than 530 discussions with key stakeholder groups on the subjects of mobile communications and the environment. These discussions are generally motivated by local projects.

Research and development in the area of electromagnetic fields

The operation of wireless networks entails a great deal of responsibility for Swisscom. Swisscom follows scientific progress in the area of electromagnetic fields and works with internal and external specialists. It analyses research findings and supports relevant scientific work.

For example, Swisscom works with and financially supports the Swiss Research Foundation for Electricity and Mobile Communication (FSM) based at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The FSM continually monitors and interprets the latest research published on the effect of electromagnetic fields on organisms and the measurement of emissions.

Based on current knowledge, scientists consider the current limits for electromagnetic fields as safe. Additional information is available in the WHO Fact Sheets No. 193 and No. 304.


Certification of the quality assurance system for compliance with ONIR limits

Swisscom is required to operate a quality assurance system (QAS) for its mobile base stations to ensure that the installations that are 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. An assessment and monitoring audit of the QAS was carried out by an external auditor mandated by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) in November 2015. Swisscom passed the audit, scoring a capability level of 4 (good) out of a maximum of 5, which means that the Swisscom processes relevant for the QAS are “targeted and measurable”.

The legal obligation to limit emissions from mobile communication installations in Switzerland is set out in 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 0 Hz and 300 GHz. The ONIR limits are ten times lower than those in the most other countries. In 2015, Swisscom met all federal legal requirements with respect to the ONIR. The responsible cantonal specialist offices may conduct random and independent checks for compliance with the limits pursuant to the ONIR at any time. Eight cantons availed themselves of this opportunity during the year under review. The checks revealed that the inspected installations met the legal requirements.

Duty to provide information on products offered at points of sale

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 website. Swisscom is under no legal obligation to provide this information. Instead, Swisscom provides this information to satisfy the customer need of knowing the level of radiation when selecting a device. As at December 2015, all mobile telephones offered by Swisscom comply with the limit of 2 W/kg pursuant to the recommendation made by the WHO; 75% are under 0.8 W/kg (prior year: 75%), and 41% are even below 0.6 W/kg (prior year: 45%, status of december).