We want to make our mobile communications infrastructure and our products, as well as the processes on which they are based, as resource-efficient, secure, and safe for health as possible. In Germany these activities are based in particular on voluntary commitments by mobile communications providers and an agreement with local authorities’ associations. Compliance with these voluntary commitments is reviewed every two years by external experts. In 2020, we once again submitted a current annual mobile communications expert report to the German Federal Government, which was coordinated by Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (German Institute for Urban Studies) and eventually published by the Federal Ministry of the Environment. According to the report, mobile communications expansion is progressing for the most part free of conflict. The report surveyed municipalities throughout Germany, 92 percent of which said they had little or no controversial decision-making cases.
In June 2020, together with the leading municipal associations and other German network operators, we revised and updated the existing agreement on the exchange of information for the expansion of mobile networks that has been in place since 2001. Its goal is to ensure that municipalities are involved in establishing the 5G networks and in a swift and conflict-free expansion of the network infrastructure. In addition, the four network operators added a regulation for the expansion of small cells to the 2020 agreement with the municipal associations. Network operators had already agreed to this in February 2020 in their voluntary commitment to the German government.
Policy on Electromagnetic Fields
The policy on electromagnetic fields (EMF ) in force throughout the Group since 2004 plays a primary role: Our EMF Policy contains uniform minimum requirements for mobile communications and health that go far beyond the national legal requirements. Our policy provides our national companies with a mandatory framework that makes sure that the topic of mobile communications and health is addressed in a consistent, responsible way throughout the Group. All of our national companies have officially accepted the EMF Policy and implemented most of the required measures.
Our EMF Policy stipulates the following principles and measures:
We place importance on openly discussing issues involved in mobile communications. We make all relevant information regarding our mobile communications equipment in Germany accessible to the public, e.g., on the EMF database operated by the German Federal Network Agency.
We provide consumer information that is easy to understand and pursue a fact-based, sound information policy. On our Group website we provide the latest information to those interested. We also provide our customers with information online on the SAR levels of their mobile devices. Additional details are also available in the shops and through our free environmental hotline.
We rely on close collaboration and constructive dialog with all those involved, including municipalities, when it comes to network expansion. Our goal is to find amicable solutions and negotiate acceptable compromises, which can only be achieved by responding fairly to critical arguments and being ready to learn from mistakes.
Our guidelines call for promoting targeted research, scientific excellence, transparency, objectivity, and intelligibility.