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Mobile phones and health

Always compliant

New technologies raise new questions. About the implications for our health of the introduction of 5G, for instance. Similar concerns existed when 3G (known also as UMTS) was introduced.

For a considerable time, research has been carried out (independently and internationally) into the potential effects of radiation (i.e. exposure to electromagnetic fields, EMF) through electronic communication. KPN, along with other participants , provides data for further scientific research. Until now, research has provided no conclusive evidence of any related adverse health effects for humans nor animals.

Base stations

KPN has a nationwide mobile network of base stations (2G/3G/4G) to be able to offer telephony services and access to the internet. The signal between base stations and the mobile phone is carried through the air by radio waves, which consist of an electromagnetic field. For this purpose, KPN makes use of licenses and frequencies assigned to KPN by the Dutch government.

Always well within the norm

Mobile providers, including KPN, have signed an agreement with the government regarding maximum radiation levels. The basis for the exposure limits has been determined by an international group of independent scientists, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The norms were updated in March 2020 and include the latest scientific insights. KPN always remains well within the exposure limits. The government verifies the exposure from base stations on a regular basis.. The regulator, Agentschap Telecom (the Dutch Radiocommunications Agency), publishes all the 'EMF' measurements online.

Effect of mobile phones, WiFi and base stations on health

Some citizens are worried about the effect of mobile phones, WiFi and base stations on their health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Dutch Cabinet there is no convincing scientific evidence that radio waves for mobile telecommunication and WiFi networks cause adverse health effects . At the same time, mobile technology and the research into its effects are continuously in development. KPN keeps track of these developments and agrees that it remains important for the Dutch public to be kept well informed.

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The new generation 5G

5G, the newest generation of mobile networks that will operate in the Netherlands as from 2020, in its essence does not differ from what is already in use. The exposure limits that were previously valid for 3G and 4G are valid also for 5G. Needless to say, KPN will adhere strictly to them. Agentschap Telecom regularly measures the exposure from base stations and recently also carried out several onside field measurement at a number of 5G test locations. The measured exposure proved to be a factor of 10 below the European exposure limits.

Limiting exposure

The World Health Organization has made a few suggestions for people who would nevertheless like to further reduce their exposure to radiation. These tips mostly assume a different use of the mobile phone: handsfree calls, limiting the number of mobile calls and their duration, and using the mobile phone in areas with good coverage. More base stations does not automatically result in an increase of of exposure; mobile phones do not have to 'work as hard' if there is an base station in the vicinity, and this reduces the exposure to radiation/ radio waves.

More information

More information about electromagnetic fields (EMF) and possible health risks is available from one of the agencies below.

Gezondheidsraad (Health Council)

This organization is an independent scientific advisory body that makes recommendations to the government concerning public health and health (care) research, including on EMF and health.

To the website

Kennisplatform Elektromagnetische Velden (Knowledge Platform on Electromagnetic Fields and Health)

The platform gathers knowledge about electromagnetic fields to make scientific information on the subject more accessible . The following are members of the Knowledge Platform EMF: RIVM, TNO, DNV GL, GGD GHOR Nederland, Agentschap Telecom, ZonMw and Milieu Centraal.

To the website

Agentschap Telecom (Radio Communications Agency)

This Agency is part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and makes national and international agreements on the use of frequencies. The organization also monitors telecom operators’ compliance with these agreements.

To the website

Antennebureau (Antenna Agency)

The Antenna Agency is the government information office regarding base stations for wireless and mobile communication. The Agency provides information about topics such as base stations , legislation and health. In addition, the Antenna Agency publishes all the EMF measurement studies in the Netherlands. The reports on local measurements are easy to find via an interactive map.

To the website


Monet is an organization that coordinates with local authorities on the deployment of base stations on behalf of the network operators KPN, T-Mobile and Vodafone. Monet informs a wider audience about this as well. On the Monet website you can find all kinds of information on the use of mobile networks and base stations.

To the website

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