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  • 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report

Health and environment

Mobile communications, or the electromagnetic fields img used in mobile communications, regularly give rise to concerns among the general population about potential health risks. This issue continues to be the subject of public, political, and scientific debate. Acceptance problems among the general public concern both mobile communications networks and the use of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. The discussion also has repercussions for the build-out of mobile communications infrastructure and the use of mobile devices. In the fixed network, it affects the use of traditional IP img and DECT img (digital cordless) phones and devices that use Wi-Fi technology. There is a risk of regulatory interventions, such as reduced thresholds for electromagnetic fields or the implementation of precautionary measures in mobile communications, e.g., amendments to building law, or also the risk of a labeling requirement for handsets.

Over the past few years, recognized expert organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP img) have repeatedly reviewed the current thresholds for mobile communications and confirmed that – if these values are complied with – the use of mobile technology is safe based on current scientific knowledge. The expert organizations, currently the ICNIRP, regularly review the recommended thresholds on the basis of the latest scientific findings.

We are convinced that mobile communications technology is safe if specific threshold values are complied with. We are supported in this conviction by the assessment of the recognized bodies. Our responsible approach to this issue is manifested in our Group-wide EMF img Policy, with which we commit ourselves to more transparency, information, participation and financial support of independent mobile communications research, far beyond that which is stipulated by legal requirements. We aim to overcome uncertainty among the general public by pursuing an objective, scientifically well-founded and transparent information policy. We thus continue to see it as our duty to step up our close dialog with local authorities and ensure that this dialog leads to success. This particularly applies since our longstanding collaboration with municipalities to expand the mobile network was enshrined in law in 2013; previously, this collaboration was based on voluntary self-commitments by the network operators.