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Mobile telecommunications is a global industry that impacts billions of people. Over 90% of people across the world are now living under mobile coverage. This industry is now responsible for millions of jobs, contributing significantly to the wealth of nations, and Egypt is no exception.

Studies in African countries show that 70% of small businesses in the continent have increased their profits as a result of mobile phones. In Egypt; for every new job in the mobile sector, eight others are created around the economy; and if current investments in the Information and Communication Technologies [ICT] are to be doubled, GDP growth could reach 7% or more.

Mobile handsets have evolved from bulky, expensive devices with limited range and reliability to simple, cheap and reliable communication tools, making them a necessity for many people throughout the world.

The ability to constantly be in touch with family and business associates is one of the many benefits of mobile communications. Today's technically advanced handsets are capable of storing data, taking pictures, browsing the internet and providing entertainment.

The widespread use of mobile phones has been accompanied by concerns about possible harmful effects on health arising not only from exposure to the radio waves that are produced by the phones but also from the base stations that serve the phones. Since we take our customers concerns seriously, we have put this subject as a top priority in our agenda.

Our approach is to operate with extreme safety, well within national and international limits, thus guarantying the highest standards of protection.

Now, let us share with you some information about mobile networks…

How do mobile networks work?

Mobile phone network operates with two communicating elements; the handset and the base station.

Mobile phones work by converting voice, text or multi-media messages into radio waves or radiofrequencies [RF]. Mobile phone base stations send and receive these calls and connect callers to other phones and other networks.

Mobile phone base stations are usually mounted either on top or on the side of existing structures. The antenna needs to be located high enough so they can adequately cover specific area.

Mobile phone networks are divided into thousands of overlapping, individual geographic areas or cells, each with a base station. The size of a cell depends on the area of coverage that's needed and the number of calls that are made in that area. So, the biggest demand is usually in crowded urban settings with high buildings and heavy population density.

When a mobile phone caller is on the move, calls are automatically routed from a base station in one cell to a base station in another, thus providing the best signal and available capacity.

Beam shape direction

The power from antenna used with macro cellular base stations is radiated in conical fan-shaped beams, which are essentially directed towards the horizon with a slight downward tilt.

Beam Shape Direction

The beams from the antenna spread out with distance and tend to reach ground level at distances of 50 to 300 meters from the antenna. The radio wave levels at these distances are much less than those directly in front of the antenna.

Types of radiation

Scientists have agreed to classify types of radiation into two: Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. The more energy contained in a radiation, the more impact it has and consequently more precautions should be taken in handling it.

Mobile phones and base stations operate at a part of radiofrequency [RF] that is non-ionizing; just like AM and FM radio waves, microwaves, and infrared heat lamps.

Unlike gamma and x-rays; radio waves have too little energy to enter any tissues or break the molecular bond in cells.

Frequencies used for mobile telephony

There are two quantities used to describe simple radio signals which are frequency and field strength. The field strength of radio waves oscillates in time as shown in the following graph and the frequency is the number of cycles in field strength that occur every second.

Frequencies used for mobile telephony

Frequency oscillation in a second of time.

When considering people’s exposure to radio waves from base stations it is more usual to consider the power density than the field strength because this is more closely related to the quantities in which restrictions on exposure are specified.

Typical frequencies used for radio communications are shown in the diagram below.

# Item Frequency
1. Power lines [66. 110. 220. 500 KV] 50 Hz
2. Radio frequency stations:
  • AM radio
  • FM radio
  • VHF TV
  • UHF TV
  • 130 – 160 KHz
  • 87.5 – 108 MHz
  • 174 – 230 MHz
  • 470 – 890 MHz
3. Mobile phones [890.2 – 914.6] 900 – 1800 MHz
4. Microwave ovens 2.45 GHz
5. Microwave therapy 2.45 GHz
6. Heating lamps 9 X 1013 Hz
7. Medical X-Ray 1020 Hz

Gross Domestic Product

The total market value of all the goods and services produced within the borders of a nation during a specified period.

Ionizing Radiation

As stated earlier, ionizing radiation has enough energy to strip electrons from their molecules and atoms. Its interaction with matter can change chemical reaction in the body and may lead to damage in biological tissues including effects on DNA.

Non-Ionizing Radiation

This type of radiation does not have sufficient energy to ionize living matter. It could cause some heating effects, but usually not enough to produce any kind of long term tissue damage.