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Management of electromagnetic fields

Aware of the concerns which society may have, at Telefónica we are not satisfied with simply meeting international standards. Within the Company we have a firm commitment with prestigious organisations for the cooperation, study and spreading of updated information.

Over 4 billion people throughout the world use mobile devices. The technological change we have undergone in recent years has been spectacular and, with it, the demand for information regarding everything connected with these new technologies and their impacts has also taken off. Institutions are trying to respond to this from various legislative, medical and scientific points of view.

At Telefónica we also want to contribute towards facilitating these answers which society is demanding. During 2014 we intensified the measures that we had been adopting in the management of electromagnetic fields and we managed to align ourselves with the directives of the main international institutions. We are committed to rolling out a respectful network and promoting more fluid communication with communities.

We comply with the recognised international limits

All the terminals and equipment which the Telefónica service offers comply with the international standards established in the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) parameter.

In 2014 all the measurements taken at the Company's base stations were always lower than the recognised international levels. These measurements are available to the public in the majority of the countries where we operate.

We collaborate with institutions

Telefónica cooperates with institutions, creating synergies to respond to the concerns, not only of our customers but also the population in general.

We are increasing our knowledge and cooperating with research

Scientific research in this field is a priority on the agenda of the World Health Organisation. Telefónica is closely following these projects and even collaborating directly in some of the main research:

  • Mobi-Kids:

Telefónica collaborates with Mobi-Kids, the international project providing mobile usage data in order to carry out one of the validations of the study survey. Mobi-Kids studies the risk of developing cancer in the brain due to exposure to radio-frequency fields during childhood and adolescence. 

 

  • GERoNIMO:

Telefónica will work on GERoNiMO, the international project financed by the European Union, which deals with research into the possible effects of exposure to radio waves and intermediate frequency fields, in addition to the risks they may cause in terms of the generation of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, behaviour, reproduction outcomes and ageing, among others. 

 

  • COSMOS:

Telefónica is collaborating with COSMOS, the international project in the United Kingdom, validating mobile telephone usage data. The COSMOS study in the United Kingdom is a research programme on mobile telephones and health. It is currently jointly financed by industry and the Government under the Research Initiative on Health and Mobile Telecommunications (RIHMT) and is administered by the Policy Research Programme of the Department of Health. The objective of the study is to identify possible problems in health relating to the long-term use of mobile telephones.

We are facilitating dialogue with communities through universities

Telefónica Venezuela, in collaboration with various universities in the country, gave a course titled 'Telecommunications and Health' to Engineering students in order for them to comply with their Community Service. The course consists of training the students in technical, regulatory and communication issues, placing emphasis on how to approach the matter with the Community Councils. These Community Councils represent the community and have the power to authorise the installation of Telecommunications facilities. The students, having finished the course and in possession of the material, go out to specific communities to obtain consensus on the authorisation to install infrastructure and, more importantly: the population gets to understand what the installations are, how they work and what they are for.

We are boosting the flow of information to society

Since 2001 Telefónica Deutschland has been supporting the initiatives taken by the German Mobile Network Operator Association (IZMF) with the aim of providing answers to citizens, the media and public and private institutions regarding mobile telephony. Specifically, during 2014, an information campaign was launched regarding exposure to LTE technology, known as fourth generation (4G). The measurements taken confirm that the exposure levels are far below the legal limits established in Germany. The success of this citizen information campaign has resulted in low social concern regarding the possible effects of mobile telephones.

We share our knowledge with specialist groups

Telefónica Deutschland promotes and collaborates on the implementation of various courses, such as, for example, 'Mobile Communications from the Doctor's and Patient's Perspective'. It is a course aimed at doctors and is given at the Mobile Telecommunication Information Centre in Germany. This training, certified by the Official College of Doctors in Berlin, is taught by experts from the German Environmental Medicine Committee.

We are sensitising our employees

At Telefónica we are aware of the importance of sensitising our employees regarding these matters. Proof of this is that at Telefónica España, in 2014, we provided specific training to 14,535 employees through a course titled 'Mobile Telecommunications and Society'. The material covers legal, scientific, technical and social aspects of mobile telephones. The good reception by employees in Spain has led to the course being gradually incorporated into all the other operations.

We provide specialist training

During 2014, Telefónica España provided an internal course titled 'Electromagnetic Fields and Health: Is it possible to reduce/eliminate uncertainty?', given by the University of Salamanca and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The course was specifically aimed at lawyers from the Judicial Services and the Operations units which have to face technical and legal difficulties in the roll-out of our mobile network. The continuation of these initiatives is one of Telefónica's aims for 2015.