Mobile phones have become vital to our lives and livelihoods. They’ve made it so much simpler, easier and cheaper to transact business, move money, conduct research for school or work, and manage our relations with our families and friends.
I recall 16years ago in High School when our communication messages took a minimum of 21 days to a month in the post or hours of traveling to deliver. Interestingly now that is a thing of the past as a phone call, text (Whatsapp) or email cures that in seconds.
Telecommunication companies are largely credited for making these strides possible through investments in infrastructure, such as towers or masts. With the growing demand for mobile phone services coupled with the growth of new technologies like 5G, it is necessary to further increase the infrastructure available in order to ensure an acceptable level of network coverage and Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE).
On the back of these developments fueling the efficiency and productivity amongst citizens is a growing myth and concern that telecom towers and masts constitute a danger to their health and safety. Although it is right for people to ask, these fears are borne largely out of lack of information and unfamiliarity with the facts surrounding the issue of radio frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum.
This feature seeks to raise awareness of what constitutes harmful or non-harmful exposure. It further highlights how mobile operators, telecom regulators and agencies within Ghana, work to ensure global best practices are adhered to guarantee that safety of the workers and service users is not compromised which culminates into the sustainability of this dynamic industry.
Mobile network antennas installed on telecom masts and mobile devices such as smartphones exchange digital information (e.g., voice or data) using radio waves – a form of electromagnetic energy.
Telecom Masts (through the antennae installed on them) transmit and receive radio signals from mobile phones and other wireless devices, which are invisible to the eye. Without telecom masts or towers in our communities, it would be impossible to operate our mobile phones whilst moving from place to place. If telecom masts are not situated within specific ranges of one another, uninterrupted phone services will be almost impossible to deliver.
The figure below highlights how electromagnetic fields span a range of frequencies and wavelengths forming an electromagnetic spectrum. It is important to state that, we are surrounded by electromagnetic radiation all the time, from television, light bulbs, radio signals, mobile phones and natural sources such as sunlight.