NEW DELHI: India’s GSM operators want the telecom department (DoT) to drive regulation of cell tower emissions to pre-empt vested interests from derailing network expansion and hurting quality of mobile coverage.
Tower emission fears, he said, were being unfairly stoked by “vested interests out to sell their equipment” at a time when global safety concerns revolved around the “use of mobile phones”.
Underscoring the need for uniform pan-India tower radiation norms, Mathews warned that networks would collapse if every nation or state adopted a different set of tower emission rules, given their global nature. More so, since 3G and 4G networks need more power to push mobile signals and the number of towers is linked to population density in a service area.
Last year, the DoT had tightened tower radiation limits to 0.45 watts per sq metre, or a tenth of the current 4.5 watts per sq metre safety limit (in the 900 MHz frequency band) prescribed by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the global agency that puts out norms on permissible safety limits.
Subsequently, in an advisory dated August 8, 2013, to the chief secretaries of states and union territories, the DoT had asked them to put no restrictions on tower installations in residential areas, educational institutions or hospitals as radiation concerns had been addressed by lowering limits.