Requirements met for operating adaptive antennas

Mobile network operators' adaptive 5G antennas fulfil the implementing guidelines to the Ordinance on Protection against Non-Ionising Radiation (NIRO). This was the result of an in-depth examination of network operators by OFCOM. Both the automatic power lock and the quality assurance systems of the antennas meet the legal requirements. This means that the cantons can approve the use of adaptive antennas in mobile networks.

Adaptive antennas play an important role in expanding the 5G network. To provide the licensing authorities with clarity when assessing these antennas, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) published guidelines on 23 February 2021. The guidelines specify that adaptive antennas must have an automatic power lock to ensure compliance with the authorised transmission power and that the operators' quality assurance system for monitoring adaptive antennas must be upgraded with additional parameters. To examine compliance with these requirements, OFCOM and the FOEN carried out validation tests on site at Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom and reviewed their quality assurance systems.

Power of antennas automatically limited

The tests carried out by OFCOM showed that the operators apply the automatic power lock in such a way that the transmission power of adaptive antennas is automatically reduced in line with the FOEN guidelines. The tested systems reliably fulfil their function and therefore meet the technical requirements for using automatic power locks.  

Quality assurance requirements met

The mobile network operators upgraded the mandatory quality assurance systems with the parameters necessary for adaptive antennas, as specified by the guidelines. Since testing showed that the systems monitor adaptive antenna activity accurately, OFCOM has issued the appropriate validation certificates.

Now that all the requirements have been met, the cantons can approve the use of new adaptive antennas for mobile networks. Adaptive antennas that were licensed before the guidelines came into force may continue operating using a so-called correction factor, provided that the authorised transmission power is not exceeded. Operators must notify the authorising body of the correction factor. The cantons are responsible for the procedure.

Last modification 19.08.2021

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