Soon, mobile tower radiation info at the click of a mouse

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on December 20, 2017

Rajan S Mathews

The COAI is currently working on a website which will tell you if the cellular tower in an area is emitting radio waves below the government’s prescribed limit or not.  

If the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has its way, radiation details of various mobile phone towers in their respective areas will soon be available at the click of a mouse.

The COAI, which represents the GSM-based telecom operators in the country, is currently finalising the details of a website, which will indicate if a tower in a particular area is emitting radio waves below the Government’s prescribed limit or not.

‘Beta testing’

A “Beta testing” of the website is being carried out and currently includes four places—Mumbai, some other parts of Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana.

The project was launched two months ago, and is likely to be introduced nationally by the end of this fiscal or early next fiscal, according to Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI.

“There will be a phase-wise roll-out of the website over the next nine months. Currently, beta testing is on,” he told reporters in the city.

Under the system, if a resident feels the radiation is above the Government-mandated limits, he or she can inform the TERM cell under the Department of Telecom about it, which will then ask the concerned telco to take action.

According to the Government’s guidelines, the EMF (electromagnetic fields) emission levels from towers are 1/10th of international norms set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Power density limit has been set to 0.45 watt/ m2 for 900 MHz, 0.9 watt/ m2 for 1800 MHz and 1.0 watt/m2 for 2100 MHz frequency bands. According to Matthews, fear psychosis over tower radiation leading to cancer has come as a cropper for expansion of the tower network in the country. Besides, non-renewal of leases and removal of towers have also gone up.

Around 200-odd towers have been removed over the last two years— over 100 in New Delhi and 86 in Mumbai. He reiterated that till date there is no scientific data to establish cases of mobile tower radiation leading to cancer.

There has also been a reduction in site availability for new mobile towers. He even blamed the high rentals and upfront investments as other reasons for operators shying away.

Dip in tower demand

“With 3G and 4G networks becoming popular, there will be approximately 30 per cent increase in demand for towers. Increasing call drops or poor data connectivity is a result of improper infrastructure addition,” Mathew said.

According to him, while the industry added around one lakh towers every year (GSM and CDMA included) between 2007 and 2010, the numbers came down to 30,000 a year since 2010.

Currently, there are around 5 lakh towers in the country.

Published on June 23, 2014

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