Research & partnership.

  • Telekom Deutschland supports the German government's environmental research plan.
    Find out more

  • Database supported by Telekom now includes more than 15,000 articles and reports.
    Find out more

  • Supporting new research project of the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection.
    Find out more

The effects of electromagnetic fields on human beings have been researched thoroughly over the last few decades. All recognized expert committees confirm on the basis of sound research results that current limit values guarantee that mobile communications can be used safely.

However, in light of new technological developments, it is important that we continue to update the information available on possible effects of mobile communications. That is why supporting independent scientific research and partnerships is a key element in our EMF Policy. This is reflected by two recommendations for interacting with the research and scientific community.

  • As a leading mobile network provider, Telekom supports scientific independent research - such as independent national research programs – on possible health effects of EMF.
  • Limit values for mobile communications technology need to be defined on the basis of sound research results and to undergo constant review.
Developing Expertise at the EMF Science Forum.

The kick-off event of the EMF Science Forum (WF-EMF) was held at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in April 2011. The forum's main objective is to develop new methods for approaching the conflicts that exist in the scientific community regarding the possible impact that electromagnetic fields have on health. The organization running the project is the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.

Almost 60 researchers from the fields of biology, epidemiology, decision research, communication research, human medicine, public health, sociology and statistics attended the Science Forum's kick-off event.

The EMF Science Forum held several meetings on selected research and risk assessment topics in the mobile communications and health area in 2011. All stakeholders including those from science, politics, business, NGOs and resident initiatives were welcome to attend. A network meeting on risk communication took place at the Fraunhofer Society's offices in Berlin in August 2011. A network meeting on "Neurodegenerative diseases and ELF & RF EMF exposure" followed in September 2011 in collaboration with the Charité Competence Center of Sleep Research in Berlin. Representatives from the scientific community, committees, governmental agencies and NGOs as well as from politics and industry met in December 2011 at the Helmholtz Association's Spreepalais in Berlin to discuss the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) decision to rank electromagnetic fields as a possible carcinogenic.

A summary of the results of the meetings is expected to be published in 2012 at http://www.wf-emf.org/en?set_language=en.

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Telekom financially supported the preparation and foundation of the EMF Science Forum in 2010. The EMF Science Forum was officially founded on January 1, 2011. The objective of the Science Forum is to research how scientific conflicts arise and which scientific rules and standards can be used to deal with controversial situations. Another goal is to explore how scientific studies can be weighted and interpreted fairly in order to promote scientifically substantiated risk assessment.

The EMF Science Forum is run by the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), which is part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. The forum is advised by a board of internationally recognized researchers from the areas of biology, epidemiology, decision research, electrical engineering, communication, sociology and statistics. The aim is to develop research expertise in the area of mobile communications and health and to make extensive, clear and current information available to professional circles.

You will find more information on the EMF Science Forum at: http://www.wf-emf.org/en?set_language=en and http://www.wf-emf.org/de/ressourcen/flyer_wf-emf-deutsch.

Promoting independent research.

Together with the other German network providers, Telekom Deutschland supports projects on mobile communications and health conducted by the German federal government's environmental research plan. Collectively, the network providers contributed EUR 1 million. Several projects were conducted by renowned research groups under the program from 2008 to 2012. The research projects focused on possible long-term effects of using mobile communications technology and the possibly higher susceptibility of children to EMFs generated by mobile communications.

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Supporting independent research financially is part of the voluntary commitment made to the German federal government by German network providers. This also includes Telekom's financial sponsorship of the German Mobile Communications Research Program (DMF) from 2001 to 2008. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment conducted the DMF program from 2002 to 2008. With a total budget of EUR 17 million, the ministry sponsored more than 50 studies on the effects of EMFs in mobile communications. Mobile network providers supported the project with EUR 8.5 million. The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) was responsible for program administration and content. The results were published in June 2008. According to the BfS, earlier indications of possible health-related effects of high-frequency fields could not be confirmed. No new indications of possible health-related effects were found. In particular, no non-thermal effects were identified. The studies therefore did not find reason to adjust the current limit values.

User data provided to researchers.

Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (LMU Munich) have been looking into the correlation between frequent use of cell phones and the occurrence of tumors in young people in their Mobikids study. In compliance with current data privacy regulations, Telekom Deutschland is providing the researchers with all necessary data on the frequency with which those participating in the study are using their cell phones. This lets researchers analyze possible diseases in relation to actual cell phone use, forms the basis for an improved research methodology and leads to more reliable results. Researchers from 13 countries are participating in the study by collecting medical data and data on cell-phone users in their countries. The study will be completed by 2014 and will provide valuable information on any effects that using cell phones may have on young people's health.

EMF study database available to the public.

The availability of scientifically substantiated information and studies on the topic of mobile communications and health is fundamental to constructive social dialog. During the reporting period, Deutsche Telekom financially sponsored the database of the German Research Center for Bioelectromagnetic Interaction (FEMU), which is run by RWTH Aachen University.

FEMU collects all scientific studies that have been published on the topic of mobile communications and health and makes them available to the public. Those interested can access the data at no charge by visiting http://www.emf-portal.de/index.php?l=e. The database contains more than 15,000 scientific articles and reports and has established itself in the past few years in Germany and abroad as a reliable source for scientific studies on mobile communications and health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the EMF portal and numerous German government agencies refer to it on their websites.

Research on radio technologies and measurement techniques.

Telekom Deutschland and the other network providers in Germany are supporting the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) in a study on determining the general population's exposure levels as a result of new mobile communications technology. This research project, which started in August 2011, is being conducted by the Institute for Mobile and Satellite Communication Technology (IMST) and the EM-Institut GmbH. The aim is to improve the amount of data available on the electromagnetic fields generated by new services such as LTE. Telekom is providing all of the necessary information on network configuration to IMST, which is in charge of the project. Study results are expected to be available by late 2012.

The new mobile communications technology LTE raises new questions. For example, we need to find out how LTE interacts with other technical systems. Telekom Deutschland commissioned IMST to research the interplay between LTE 800 and other technologies with the same frequency, such as wireless microphone equipment. The results will be used to support municipalities in addressing possible problems with LTE 800 and work with them to develop solutions.

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