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Frequently Asked Questions

1. I read that mobile phones can cause cancer. Is that true?

Although there have been over 12 000 scientific tests in the matter up to 2008, there is still no convincing scientific evidence that mobile phones cause any kind of tumor in the brain or any other part of the body. It is the generally accepted scientific opinion today that low-performance, non-ionizing radio waves are unable to modify the genetic composition of any matter.  

2. And what is your opinion of other health risks?

Independent scientific institutes and associations worldwide analyze and publish the latest research findings. It is the generally accepted opinion of these experts that there is no convincing scientific evidence that the use of mobile phones represent a risk of any kind to human health. However, the T-Mobile group continues to support research on the theme so that, in harmony with its corporate social responsibility, it can always bring the latest scientific results to its customers and citizens. 

You can read more about this subject in English on the WHO website.

3. How can we know that these scientific experiments are reliable?

Well-tested, complex and sensitive research methods are being applied for modeling health risks. All these methods have already been used during other health and other area research. Health limits are based on the findings of independent research institutes and have been ordered by states and governments. Research findings are regularly checked by international organizations such as the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) and WHO (World Health Organization).

4. I live near a base station. Does it mean I am exposed to some health risk?

Contrary to public opinion the power of radio signals that can be experienced in the vicinity of base stations is typically much lower than even the strictest internationally proposed limit. It is only in immediate proximity of the transmitting aerial that the radiation dose may be higher than the limit. That is why mobile service providers do everything within their power to prevent access to such proximity areas by unauthorized persons. Aerials are typically mounted on the top of a (usually 6-meter) high pole on the top of tall buildings.

The GSM base stations operate at low radiation rates so that the interference with neighboring cells is the smallest, as interference can negatively affect the quality of calls. The performance density generating at the population from GSM base station transmissions typically amounts to less than 1% of the international limit values. Frequently traditional FM radio and TV signal radiation constitutes a higher performance density than that generated by the mobile network.  

5. My friend has a hearing problem, and uses a hearing aid. Can he use a mobile phone?

Most of the hearing aids are immune to interference from GSM telephones at a distance of 2 meters. The latest hearing aids are insensitive to frequency interference even at close range. The sensitivity of a hearing aid to interference basically depends on the conditions of use the manufacturer has designed the equipment for.  

If the hearing aid does interfere with the mobile phone, there are several options:

  • The set can be used at the other ear
  • An amplifier can be used.
  • A better shielded set can be purchased.

Further information available in English at: www.ehima.com.

6. Why does one encounter so many limitations on the use of mobile phones in hospitals?

Some electronic medical instruments may interfere with mobile phones at close range. If the mobile phone and the medical instrument are at a distance of over 2 meters from each other, the chance of interference is close to zero. Therefore hospitals usually indicate the places where mobile phones can be used.

7. Is my mobile phone going to affect my pacemaker in any way?

It depends mainly on the model and brand, as pacemakers represent a very broad range of products. Some pacemakers have been equipped with protection against all sorts of radio waves and thus they are immune to them, while others have not. We recommend that you discuss this matter with your cardiologist.  

If after all this you still hesitate to use your mobile phone, we recommend that you observe the following rules:

  • There should always be a distance of at least 15 centimeters between the pacemaker and the telephone.
  • Do not store the telephone on your chest, or in a bag hanging on your chest.
  • Carefully study the instructions of your pacemaker and your telephone.

8. My car is furnished with an on-board computer. Does making calls while driving interfere with the on-board computer? Can it cause any damage?

According to the tests performed by vehicle manufacturers mobile phones do not cause any interference with air-bags, automatic brake systems or tempomats (cruise control). Audio systems of some vehicles, however, may be sensitive to the mobile phone, thus an incoming or outgoing call may briefly influence the quality of the sound of a radio broadcast or a tape being played.

Use of a mobile phone while driving is allowed only with an amplifier. Please do not write SMEs or use the telephone without an amplifier.

9. Why am I not allowed to use my mobile phone on board a plane?

It is the general practice in aviation that all electronic equipment emitting radio frequencies that has not been tested by the aircraft manufacturer for interference must be switched off during take-off. Huge amounts of electronic equipment are sold globally. It is not possible to have them all tested for interference by manufacturers of aircraft. 

Experiments on the possibility of using the telephone in flight are underway in Europe and the USA, however several technological and regulatory issues need to be addressed before the findings can be implemented in practice.  

10. Is it possible that some people are much more sensitive to radio waves than others?

A few people describe symptoms like headaches, fatigue, nausea, concentration difficulties that they ascribe to the impact of radio emission by mobile phones and wireless networks.
WHO has looked into several such cases and reached the conclusion that, although the symptoms are manifested by these people, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to prove that the symptoms are related to electro-magnetic radiation. Furthermore, WHO also drew attention to the need to consider the whole clinical status in such cases.

11. What is your view about telephoning while driving?

Road safety is indispensable in all cases. Mobile phones, therefore, must be used responsibly. The telecommunications industry has developed many devices that help to reduce the risk of telephoning while driving. We recommend the use of a professional amplifier.  Having pointed out the above, T-Mobile is of the opinion that if we are involved in a difficult traffic situation (e.g. traffic jam), or the conversation becomes unduly long, or perhaps our mental state does not allow us to continue driving safely, we should if possible postpone the conversation until later. When traveling abroad, always take into consideration the target country’s legislation concerning telephoning while driving.  

12. I have heard that the use of a mobile phone might cause filling stations to blow up. Is that true?

In its report of 2005, the Office of Road Safety in Australia examined 243 incidents of fire at filling stations. In none of the cases was the fire caused by a telecommunications device. They were due in most cases to static electricity caused by human, typically synthetic, clothing. Nevertheless, whenever there is a sign prohibiting the use of mobile phones at the filling station, the rules of the company concerned must be observed.

13. What safety standards are applicable to mobile phones and base stations?

Several national and international offices of standards have already worked out safety standards for mobile phones and base stations.  

Most European states use the same standards for defining limit values. Until its accession to the EU in 2004,Hungary had been using stricter East-European limit values; however, effective of January 1, 2004 the limit values adopted by WHO and used in Western Europe for a long time have been applicable.  

The majority of EU member states accept the EU’s recommendations of 1999. If there is a local exposure, where according to the EU or the ICNIRP reference levels cannot be applied, only a basic limit is used, and practically there is a complete similarity among EU member states. This means that the basic limit of 2 W/kg applicable to mobile phones is accepted in every country.  

For more details on limit values please visit www.emf-portal.hu and  www.bazisallomas.com.

14. How do we know whether the 3G technologies and the new ones yet to come out in the future are safe?

When designing the 3G technology, network developers (NOKIA, ERICSSON, MOTOROLA, etc.) have been guided by the need to comply with all the limits set in the valid regulations. The same will apply to the future, when the suppliers of mobile networks will implement the LTE networks that so far exist on paper only.  

According to a statement made by the Communications Authority of Australia the average emission value of a 3G base station is one tenth of that of a taxi’s two-way CB radio. In addition, 3G handsets always monitor changes in the power of circuit signals and deliver only the minimum radiation output.  

15. I have heard that mobile phones attract lightning. Is that possible?

We are unaware of any scientific research on the connection of mobile technology and lightning. Those who venture into the open when there is lightning, expose themselves to being struck by lightning with or without a mobile phone. It is especially dangerous to stay in flat and open areas or on open elevations. You should try to find shelter in such weather conditions.

16. Is it safe for children to use a mobile phone?

According to the current opinion of the WHO, mobile phones guarantee the highest safety to everybody given the current safety limits. In February 2004 the Health Committee of the Netherlands published a statement saying that there is no scientific evidence that it is necessary to establish lower safety limits for children using mobile phones. A mobile phone can even contribute considerably to a child’s safety by enabling them to contact their parents in an emergency. However, the mobile phone is not a toy; therefore it is important that parents have some kind of control over their child’s mobile communication.  

17. What is SAR?

"SAR" is the abbreviation for specific absorption rate, which equals the energy one kilogram of the human body absorbs in the electro-magnetic field, measured in W/kg. This quantity is used to describe high frequency electro-magnetic impacts.

Under the influence of electro-magnetic radiation the tissues warm up and, if the output is high, they may be damaged. Brain tissues and eyes are the most sensitive to radiation. For mobile telephones the SAR limit applies to the maximum value of the average absorption of the whole human body, and the amount of the energy consumed by 1 or 10 grams of human tissue. 

The value adopted by the ICNIRP for the whole body is 0.08 W/kg, and 2 W/kg for 10 grams. SAR values of the handsets being sold are well below the allowed SAR value.  

You can read more about the SAR value and how it is determined at www.emf-portal.hu.