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News for Year 2011

Mobile network operators brief MSPs on mobile coverage in rural Scotland

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Mobile network operators brief MSPs on mobile coverage in rural Scotland

17 November 2011

Mobile network operators today briefed MSPs in Holyrood on mobile coverage in rural Scotland. The briefing was about both explaining the challenges of providing coverage in rural areas, and listening to MSPs’ views about the priorities and needs of their communities. The meeting was chaired by Dr Aileen McLeod MSP (South of Scotland).

John Cooke, Executive Director of the Mobile Operators Association said: “MSPs across the parties already understand the economic and social benefits of good digital connectivity. In rural Scotland, geography, population density, and economics combine to make it more challenging to provide the same level of mobile coverage as we have in our major cities, although Ofcom has recognized, earlier this month, that operators are deploying more infrastructure per capita to serve rural users.”

Aileen McLeod said: "The issue of mobile phone coverage is important in many rural areas across Scotland, so I was delighted to chair the Mobile Operators Association briefing. Mobile phones in rural areas are not just about convenience. They can also be a key safety aid for people who enjoy the outdoors as well as for First Responders, Mountain Rescue and the like. For me, that is a compelling argument in favour of more widespread coverage.

She added: “I am pleased that the event also had the support of the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil and his officials, who I know are keen to progress these issues at Government level.”

John Cooke added: “There won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ solution to improving rural mobile coverage in Scotland. That’s partly because landscape will mean different technical solutions will be more appropriate for different areas; and partly, it’s because different local communities will have different priorities – some will want the quality of coverage improved where it already exists, while others will want coverage extended to localities that don’t currently have any.”

Operators are keen to extend the benefits of mobile connectivity, but any progress in doing so will need a range of stakeholders – operators, local communities, Ofcom, Scottish Government, and UK Government - to work together.

Notes for Editors

1.            The Mobile Operators Association (MOA) represents the four UK mobile network operators – Everything Everywhere (Orange & T-Mobile), Telefonica UK, Three UK, and Vodafone – on radio frequency (RF) health and safety, and related town planning issues associated with the use of mobile phone technology. It provides information on these issues to policy-makers, including elected representatives and officials at UK, national, and local level, journalists, residents’ groups, and the wider public.

2.            For more information please contact Christine Jude 0207 331 2029, 07736 110787 email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Mobile Operators respond to MobileWise report

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The MOA notes the publication of a ‘new’ report by the activist group, Mobile Wise, alleging links between mobile phone use and health problems.

The overwhelming body of scientific evidence has not established any adverse health effects from the use of mobile phone technology. The Mobile Wise report is not based on any new studies, but simply cites a selection of the research, which has already been reviewed by independent, scientific bodies, and taken into account in their advice.

In the UK, the Department of Health and Health Protection Agency both issue guidance to the public on mobile telephony and health. This confirms that no adverse health effects have been established, but that if parents are concerned about their children’s use of mobiles, they can encourage them to keep calls short or send texts. This advice actually goes with the grain of how young people are increasingly using their mobiles. Parents will also want to weigh up the tangible security benefits provided by this technology against the possibility of future, unknown health effects.

 The World Health Organisation reassuringly stated in June 2011 - after the classification of radio waves by the International Agency for Cancer Research as a possible carcinogen -: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”

 The charity Cancer Research UK also noted this year that: “if mobile phones increase the risk of brain cancer, the rates of this disease should be skyrocketing since mobile phone use has risen dramatically over the last few decades. But studies in the US, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland have found no such trends. In the UK, the incidence of brain cancer has been flat for the past few decades.”

 All mobile phone handsets sold in the United Kingdom are subjected to rigorous testing to comply with EU legislation and relevant standards before they can be sold to customers. 

 The safety guidelines applied to mobile phones are developed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). They have been endorsed in the UK by the Health Protection Agency since they were first recommended as part of a precautionary approach by the Stewart Report in 2000.  These guidelines are based on an analysis of all relevant scientific literature and have not been changed, despite regular reviews. The last review was in 2009, when ICNIRP concluded; "it is the opinion of ICNIRP that the scientific literature published since the 1998 guidelines has provided no evidence of any adverse effects below the basic restrictions and does not necessitate an immediate revision of its guidance on limiting exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields." The guidelines have been developed to include a safety margin, designed to ensure the safety of all persons, regardless of age and health.

 Further research is needed in this area, and is being supported by the industry, but the current weight of scientific evidence is reassuring, and has become increasingly so over time.

   

Ipsos MORI Planning Officers Research Published

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The market research company Ipsos MORI has undertaken research amongst local authority planning officers for each of the past 11 years. The planners’ research looks at planning officers’ views on the telecoms planning process and their engagement with the mobile network operators.

The latest research can be found here 

In summarising the results, Julien Misell, Director at Ipsos MORI said: “Most planners say the issue of base stations is important, although the proportion holding this view continues to decline. Just over three fifths say mobile operators make themselves available to meet and discuss their plans prior to submitting planning applications. Two thirds now feel sufficient effort has been made to share masts, a significant increase over the last three years. Similarly, over three in five now agree that operators provide evidence of consideration of mast sharing.”

 

Mobile operators welcome publication of Interphone study

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25 August 2011

MOA welcomes the publication of an overall analysis of a multi national, population-based, case-control study of acoustic neuroma in Cancer Epidemiology. It is the second overall analysis of head and neck tumours, published as part of the internationally coordinated Interphone project.

 

In the present study, the authors reported the following conclusion:

“There was no increase in risk of acoustic neuroma with ever regular use of a mobile phone or for users who began regular use 10 years or more before the reference date. Elevated odds ratios observed at the highest level of cumulative call time could be due to chance, reporting bias or a causal effect. As acoustic neuroma is usually a slowly growing tumour, the interval between introduction of mobile phones and occurrence of the tumour might have been too short to observe an effect, if there is one.”

John Cooke, Executive Director of the Mobile Operators Association, said: “The overall Interphone conclusion of no increase in risk of acoustic neuroma with use of mobile phones adds to the significant existing body of research reporting no health risk from using mobile phones.”

 

“The industry is supporting the international COSMOS study (Cohort Study on Mobile Phone Use and Health) into long-term use of mobile phones and health.”

 

The mobile phone industry takes all questions regarding the safety of mobile phones seriously and we have a strong commitment to supporting ongoing scientific research – such as the Interphone project. This project has been funded by the mobile phone industry jointly with governments and national health agencies in a way that ensures complete scientific independence.

 

All mobile phones sold in the UK comply with international health and safety exposure guidelines.

 

 

 Note to Editors

 

1. The Mobile Operators Association (MOA) was set up to represent the four UK mobile phone network operators – O2, Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile), Three and Vodafone – on radio frequency health and planning issues. The MOA website is: www.mobilemastinfo.com

 

2. Brain tumours are relatively rare; acoustic neuromas are benign tumours of the hearing nerve, there are around two cases are diagnosed per 100,000 population. Tumours of the brain account for less than 2% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK. 

 

3. “Acoustic neuroma risk in relation to mobile telephone use: Results of the INTERPHONE international case–control study” is published in Cancer Epidemiology. This study is the overall analysis of the national data on acoustic neuroma collected as part of the 13 country Interphone project coordinated by IARC. As these diseases are rare, large numbers of subjects are needed for accuracy.

 

4. For more information please contact Christine Jude 0207 331 2029, 07736 110787, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

   

Mobile operators note IARC classification of radiowaves

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MOA notes today’s announcement from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that, following a review of the scientific evidence, radio frequency emissions, including those used by mobile phone networks, have been classified as a possible carcinogen.

Dr Jonathan Samet, Chairman of the Working Group, said that "the conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk."

In the press release accompanying the announcement, Dr Christopher Wild, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said, "it is important that additional research be conducted into the long term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands free devices or texting. "

John Cooke, Executive Director of the Mobile Operators Association, said: “The IARC classification is the outcome is the result of a week-long review of the scientific evidence. IARC has concluded that radiowaves are a possible carcinogen to humans. The full IARC report will be published in due course.”

“It is important to note that IARC has not established a direct link between mobile phone use and cancer. It has, however, concluded that there is the possibility of a hazard. Whether or not this represents a risk requires further scientific investigation. The UK Advisory Group on Non Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) is currently reviewing the science and is scheduled to report in the next 12 months. In the meantime, the measures to reduce exposure mentioned by Dr Wild are consistent with current advice from health agencies in the UK.”

“It is also important to note that the ICNIRP guidelines (established by an independent committee of international experts who carefully review all the relevant scientific literature) remain unchanged. The public exposure guidelines for mobile phones and base stations are protective for all people including children.”

The mobile phone industry takes all questions regarding the safety of mobile phones seriously, and is strongly committed to supporting ongoing scientific research. The UK network operators are supporting the international COSMOS study (Cohort Study on Mobile Phone Use and Health) into long-term use of mobile phones and health.

All mobile phones sold in the UK comply with international health and safety exposure guidelines.

Note to Editors

1. The Mobile Operators Association (MOA) was set up to represent the four UK mobile phone network operators – Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile) O2, Three and Vodafone – on radio frequency health and planning issues. The MOA website is: www.mobilemastinfo.com

2. The independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) is currently conducting a further comprehensive review of the health risks from radiofrequency radiation, which will take into account findings from relevant research that has been published since its last review in 2003. This new review is expected to be completed over the next 12 months. AGNIR’s first report is available from: http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1254510602951

3. Further information on previous IARC classifications and the classification process can be found on the IARC website - http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/index.php

4. IARC has investigated almost 1,000 substances to date. Over a half (508) are ‘not classifiable’, and a quarter (266) are classed ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’.

Some 107 agents have been classed as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) and 59 are classed as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). Only one substance has been classed as probably not carcinogenic to humans (Group 4).  

The IARC Monographs process identifies cancer ‘hazards’ i.e. agents capable of causing cancer under some circumstances. They do not in themselves identify cancer ‘risks’. The distinction between hazard and risk is important, and the IARC Monographs identify cancer hazards even when risks are very low at current exposure levels.

A link to those agents previously reviewed by IARC is: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/ClassificationsGroupOrder.pdf

5. For more information please contact Christine Jude 0207 331 2029, 07736 110787, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

MOA Response to Council of Europe Environment Committee Report on Mobile Technology

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On 15th May, the Sunday Telegraph reported that the Council of Europe Environment Committee was proposing restrictions on mobile phone and Wi-Fi use, because of alleged health effects. In fact, the World Health Organisation, the UK Health Protection Agency, and many other national health agencies around the world, say that no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phones operating within international exposure guidelines.

The science around radio waves and mobile phones has been extensively researched. The Council of Europe Environment Committee has reached a different conclusion about the science from the conclusions reached by a whole host of independent, national and international, scientific authorities. The committee is, of course, composed of politicians, not scientists.

Policies on public exposure to radio waves should be based on the best scientific evidence available. Recommendations for non-scientific restrictions are not supported by the WHO or the Health Protection Agency, and will provide no health benefit, cause unfounded public concern, and could adversely impact the quality of mobile services relied on by millions of individuals, and by public services and businesses.

It is important to remember that the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection) public exposure guidelines for mobile phones and base stations provide protection for all people, including children. ICNIRP is an independent committee of international experts who carefully review all the relevant scientific literature.

More than 30 independent reviews of the scientific evidence over the last decade have confirmed that there are no established adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones and their base stations operating within international guideline limits.

   

Vacancy - Policy & External Relations Manager

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The Mobile Operators Association is seeking a new Policy & External Relations Manager to run the association’s policy and public affairs programmes, to provide the secretariat to certain MOA committees, and to manage our UK-wide relations with policy-makers, and with other stakeholders in industry and civil society.

   

61% of UK adults access the internet from mobiles

Mobile phones cannot work without a network of base stations (masts). There are approximately 52,500 base station sites (excluding microcells) in the UK. Only a third of these are large, free standing masts. A YouGov survey for MOA (Sept 2014) showed that nearly 8 out of 10 people recognise the link between masts and good mobile coverage. Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. There are now 89.9 million mobile subscriptions in the UK. In Q1 2015 61 per cent of UK adults used their mobile phones for internet access. Tablet ownership is 54% of UK households.

No Established Health Effects

Mobile phones operate by using radio waves, similar to those that have been widely used for decades, for example in radio, TV and radar signals. A large number of studies over the last two decades have found no clear evidence of adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones or from phone masts.