Mishra said that the radiation coming out from the towers poses health risks for people living near by the telecom towers. He said that the norms were already there, but the telecom companies were flouting them. “Yes, it (radiation) is a risk to health. Norms were already there but the companies were ignoring those norms,” said Jagmohan Mishra.
Leading telecom expert Mahesh Uppal also agrees that the strength of mobile signals will become weak with the reduction of radiation limit, if the companies do not position more towers.
The norms announced by the telecom minister Kapil Sibal say that the minimum distance of a telecom tower from a residential complex should be 35 meters. This will require repositioning of thousands of towers across the country.
Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the body representing GSM operators such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, said that there are only 5% telecom towers belonging to these companies, where some quality loss could happen as 95% towers are already complying to the new norms.
“Presently approximately 95% of our towers are compliant to the new norms. So there should not be any service quality issues here. For the approximately 5% of towers that may be impacted, there will be some loss of quality and in extreme cases, loss of coverage and service,” Rajan Mathews, Director General, COAI, told this citizen journalist.
COAI said that in the long term there could be some hike in mobile tariffs due to new radiation norms, which will force operators to install new towers to maintain the service quality.
“Tariffs are not expected to be impacted immediately as a result of the new norms, but there will definitely be an upward pressure on the tariffs in the near future as operators will have to put up additional towers to compensate for the lost coverage and quality,” added Rajan Mathews.
Apart from the telecom service providers, the government has also directed handset manufacturer to reduce the Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) to 1.6 watt per kg. By September 2013 mobile handsets have to follow this new limit. The manufacturers have to also display SAR value on the handset.
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