Technology: The Confederation announces three times fewer 5G antennas


The number of antennas needed in Switzerland has also been reduced by more than three thanks to so-called “adaptive” technology.

The Federal Council says that the conditions are met to effectively protect the population against radiation from 5G antennas.

Tamedia AG

On Wednesday, the Federal Council adopted a report “For a mobile telephone network that respects sustainable development”. The document sets the requirements for telecommunications, in particular with regard to the 5G mobile network and optical fiber. According to the Confederation, “5G networks have clear advantages in terms of performance and radiation exposure compared to current mobile phone technologies”.

In other words, 5G technology makes it possible to reduce radiation while improving network performance, thanks to 5G “adaptive antenna systems”. The latter make it possible “to partially reduce exposure to radiation and to increase the capacity of the network by a factor of ten compared to 4G”, writes the Federal Council.

Fewer antennas

Thanks to these adaptive antennas, according to operator estimates, the extension of a high-performance 5G network requires significantly fewer new antennas than initially planned, i.e. 7,500 instead of 26,500. Similarly, the costs are significantly reduced (3.2 billion francs instead of 7.7 billion. By adapting the Ordinance on protection against non-ionizing radiation (ORNI) and by setting the general conditions of the use of adaptive antennas in 2021, the Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) laid the foundations for this development.

In addition, adds the Confederation, the various support measures implemented respond to the concerns of part of the population concerning the radiation of mobile telephony. Among these measures are the development of monitoring of radiation exposure and the establishment of an advisory center for environmental medicine.

Unprofitable single network

The report also examines the advantages and disadvantages of a single mobile phone network compared to the current situation with three independent network operators (Swisscom, UPC Sunrise and Salt). While a single array would require fewer antenna locations, the population’s average exposure to radiation would be only marginally reduced, the document says.

Abandoning the current system would call into question the proper functioning of competition and could harm the objectives of the Telecommunications Act, namely the provision of varied, advantageous, quality and competitive telecommunications services, further warns the Council federal. Last March, parliament largely denied several cantonal initiatives calling for a moratorium on 5G.


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