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Swiss carriers pay 400% more to comply with strict antenna signal standards


Swiss tower - Flickr Kecko
Image: Flickr/Kecko

It costs 35 per cent more to operate a mobile network under Switzerland’s strict base station exposure limits and according to a new study, Swiss carriers will need to quadruple expenses within four years to ensure the network doesn’t become overloaded.

 
The PwC report commissioned by Swiss network operators found the country’s restrictive Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR) limits for mobile networks – 10 times stricter than the limits recommended by the EU and the World Health Organization – require carriers to build and operate more antennas to compensate for the lack of coverage.
 
“Strict NIR regulations and measurement methods in Switzerland result in lower maximum transmission power on a site and therefore limit the transmission power per carrier or the number of carriers compared to its neighbouring countries,” the report said.
 
“To provide the coverage and capacity demanded by customers, more antenna sites need to be built.”
 
“If Switzerland were to adopt the same NIR regulations as in all other countries in our study, it would require 21.5 per cent fewer antenna sites than compared with the existing regulations.”
 
The report also predicted that meeting customers’ growing data demands under the current restrictions would “increase the cost difference between Switzerland and the compared countries”.
 
“Considering the current doubling of data capacity demand almost every nine months, in less than four years costs could be 400 per cent of their current level.”
 
“Amendments to the NIR regulations in Switzerland, therefore, might represent the ‘easiest’ route to reduce the growing costs of satisfying rapidly increasing capacity demand.”
 
The study compared the costs of construction, operation and maintenance of the Swiss mobile network with the corresponding costs in Germany, Austria, France and Italy.
 
The strict radiation regulations were the biggest cost difference between the countries and the report said these also placed significant additional planning pressures on the Swiss carriers because of increased public opposition.
 
“The lower NIR limits in Switzerland have an indirect negative impact on costs due to additional constraints on the planning and rollout, the report said.
 
“For example, there is less freedom to position the antenna sites. As a result, in urban areas, longer and more difficult negotiations are needed, which increase the cost of the search for suitable sites and rental costs (due to a very limited supply of potential sites).
 
“Furthermore, more opposition and, thus, higher legal costs and longer delays for deployment must be taken into account.”
 
Switzerland has the strictest exposure limits for mobile phone networks compared with its neighbouring countries and is the only country that requires a continuous monitoring system to check that exposure levels are not exceeded.

 

 

Published 29/05/2014

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