Options to increase the capacity of the mobile communication networks

Bern, 25.02.2015 - A report, approved today by the Federal Council, analyses the general conditions which currently regulate the construction of mobile communication antennas. Drawn up in response to two postulates, it outlines possible solutions enabling the Swiss networks to cope with the foreseeable increase in traffic, in particular data traffic.

The Federal Council's report "Future-oriented mobile telephony networks" notes that mobile internet use is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the appearance on the market of new mobile platforms and attractive data contract offerings. Consequently, the mobile communication networks will have to carry more and more data in the next few years. Changes to enable them to cope with this development are essential.

Several measures make it possible to increase network capacity: using additional radiocommunication frequencies, introducing new technologies or improving network coverage by constructing new antennas. In fact, the limits imposed by the Ordinance on protection from non-ionising radiation (ONIR) often exclude increasing the power of existing installations.

When the report was being drawn up, various changes to the legal framework were considered. In particular, easing the limit values imposed by the ONIR would make it possible to make better use of existing sites and to appreciably reduce future requirements for new antenna sites. However, these measures would result in an increase in the radiation in the areas around base stations.

The report will serve as a basis for the parliamentary debate. The result of these various discussions will indicate whether amendments to the ONIR are appropriate.

The report was written under OFCOM's leadership, with the participation of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Federal Office of Transport (FOT) and the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE). It is a response to the Noser postulate "Future-oriented mobile telephony networks" and the liberal-radical group postulate "Reducing the number of mobile telephony antennas by amending the limit values".

Address for enquiries

Urs von Arx, Head of the Mobile Services Section, Federal Office of Communications OFCOM
phone: +41 58 460 58 56, urs.vonarx@bakom.admin.ch


The Federal Council

General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC

Federal Office of Communications