The federal government has accepted a voluntary commitment by mobile operators to small cells. The Federal Environment Ministry gave this announced on April 3, 2020. The operators agree to ensure protection against electromagnetic fields in accordance with the established standards, even for short-range transmitters.
The mobile radio networks in Germany are currently being expanded significantly. In places with high network utilization such as in city centers, event locations or stadiums, small cells of this type are increasingly being used to increase capacity. According to the Ministry of the Environment, the development of the new 5G networks is expected to increase further. All operators had promised to maintain the same level of protection for these small cells as was established by the limit values of the ordinance on electromagnetic fields for base stations with higher output, the message says.
The electric field strengths are given in volts per meter, the power flux density in watts per square meter, with today's mobile radio the limit values are 2 to 5 watts per square meter or above 2 GHz at 10 watts per square meter.
With today's mobile radio, it is 4 to 10 watts per square meter, depending on the frequency. Above 2 GHz it is a constant 10 watts per square meter – also for the 5G stations that are set up with frequencies of 3.6 GHz.
The operators are extending a voluntary commitment that has existed since 2001 and that also applies to small cells that have already been installed. Compliance is checked regularly by the Federal Network Agency. In addition, there should be regular monitoring by independent experts. It contains technical information on the individual small cells, an assessment of the fields that originate from them and the results of measurement series at selected locations. In addition, the Federal Network Agency will shortly include the small cells in its publicly accessible location database.
At this location database, samples from Golem.de showed that the utilization rate was far below the permitted values. This was the result of queries in the EMF database (electromagnetic fields) at the Federal Network Agency, in which all registered base stations in Germany are listed. Accordingly, the values for measured radio radiation from the systems are less than one tenth to one hundredth of a percent of the permitted maximum values.