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2020 Corporate Responsibility Report

Mobile communications and health (EMF)

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a prevalent part of our connected world, even if we are not able to perceive them directly. Their effects on our health remain a topic of discussion. Deutsche Telekom, like all providers, must ensure that the statutory threshold values are observed in mobile communications. In Germany, the threshold values are set by the Federal Government and are based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP img).

The effects of EMFs have been thoroughly researched over the past decades in numerous scientific studies. The World Health Organization (WHO) analyzes the findings of scientific research and most recently made a statement regarding the results in 2014. In its statement, it concludes that the current threshold values for EMFs ensure that mobile communications technology can be used safely but that further research is required. In 2020, after evaluating current scientific research, the ICNIRP once again confirmed the protection concept for EMFs, as they occur in mobile communications. According to ICNIRP, the threshold values ensure comprehensive protection for people and the environment. This also applies to frequency ranges used by 5G, because, like earlier network types, 5G requires high security standards. Safe operation of mobile communications technology in Germany is therefore ensured.

Deutsche Telekom has made a commitment to actively address scientific research on mobile communications and health. We provide detailed information on our Group website on the latest technology and scientific risk assessments published by expert committees. In 2020, for instance, we updated our „Fakten zu Mobilfunk und Gesundheit” (“Facts about mobile communications and health”) brochure and our flyer, which contains answers to the 14 most important questions regarding mobile communications and health. In addition, we published explanatory videos in the reporting year – on issues such as threshold values, health protection, and on our cooperation with municipalities when planning new sites.

Together with the three other 5G licensees - Telefónica Germany, Vodafone, and 1&1 Drillisch - we provide support for Informationszentrum Mobilfunk (mobile communications information center). The portal provides scientific facts about basic issues relating to mobile communications, some of which are subject to controversial public debate – health and safety, technology and network build-out, environment and sustainability, and politics and legal questions. In 2020 the information center joined forces with the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) and published two new brochures on „5G“ and „Information and dialog on network build-out“.

Further information on this subject can be found under “CR facts”.

Cornelia Szyszkowitz

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Cornelia Szyszkowitz