Research & partnership.

  • Database supported by Telekom contains more than 16,000 articles and reports.
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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 independent scientific research on possible public health impacts of EMF  and contributes to independent research programs.
  • Maximum levels for electromagnetic fields need to be defined on the basis of sound research results and undergo constant review.
Study on risk assessment at the EMF Science Forum.

The Electromagnetic Fields Science Forum (WF-EMF) focused its varied activities in 2012 on "further development of evidence-based approaches and tools to communicate risk regarding mobile communications and health."

An important focal point in 2012 for the EMF  Science Forum was to work on advancing concepts that can be used to communicate scientific EMF  risk assessments to the population in a way that is easily understandable. The project included testing the communicative effectiveness and comprehensibility of different evaluation systems from a layman's perspective. The EMF  Science Forum used the results to develop tools and recommendations to improve communication of current risk assessments. The process included several network meetings with experts from the areas of mobile communications research, risk communication and risk assessment. The meetings were open to participants from the worlds of science, politics, NGOs, citizen initiatives and business.

The plan is to test the suggestions, tools and approaches for improving the communication of risk assessments in real-life situations and further improve them in 2013.

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Telekom has been providing financial support since 2010 to help the forum get started as well as to enable various projects conducted by the EMF  Science Forum, which was founded at the start of 2011. 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. 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.

Supporting independent research.

Promoting independent research projects is part of the voluntary commitment made to the German federal government by German network providers. Deutsche Telekom promotes a variety of research programs and projects together with the other German network providers. From 2008 to 2012 Telekom supported projects conducted by the German federal government's environmental research plan in the area of mobile communications and health. From 2012 to 2014, Telekom will be sponsoring a project on risk communication by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. The results of all of the completed projects the company has supported so far have contributed significantly to answering open questions about mobile communications and health and to further strengthening the protection concept for mobile communications.

Environmental research plan projects.
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. From 2008 to 2012, several projects were realized by renowned groups of researchers within the scope of the environmental research plan. The research projects focused on possible long-term effects of using mobile communications technology and the possibly higher sensitivity of children to EMFs generated by mobile communications. Descriptions of the projects and their objectives as well as interim and final reports are available online.

Risk communication projects.
Deutsche Telekom will be collaborating with other network providers until 2014 to support the German federal government's risk communication project in the mobile communications and health area with a total of EUR 600,000.

Co-financing research database.
Deutsche Telekom is also providing financial support for operation of the database run by the Research Center for Bioelectromagnetic Interaction (FEMU) at the RWTH Aachen University. The database already contains more than 16,000 scientific papers and articles on the topic.

Support for long-term scientific study.
In 2012, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich continued its research on possible connections between frequent use of cell phones and tumors in young people as part of the university's Mobikids study. Telekom Deutschland provided the researchers with all the data they needed on how often study participants used their phones in compliance with data privacy regulations. This lets researchers analyze potential diseases in relation to actual cell phone use, forms the basis for an improved research methodology and leads to more reliable results. Researchers from 16 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 possible effects that using mobile communications technology may have on young people's health.

Researching new mobile communications technologies.

Telekom and the other network providers in Germany supported 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. The study was launched in August 2011 and carried out by the Institute for Mobile and Satellite Communication Technology (IMST) and EM-Institut GmbH. The goal of the project was to add to available information on the electromagnetic fields emitted by new mobile communications technology, such as LTE. Telekom provided all of the necessary information on network configuration to the project participants. The study was completed in late 2012. There is an interim report available online. The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) will publish the final report in 2013.

In 2012, our Hungarian subsidiary, Magyar Telekom continued to work on the EMF  measurement program launched in collaboration with the Hungarian National Research Institute for Radiobiology and Radiohygiene (OSSKI). Magyar Telekom provided three LTE transmitters to OSSKI for a period of six weeks so that they could research the emissions and pollution levels of LTE technology.