Base stations are designed to send and receive electrical signals from mobile devices and relay them to a core switching centre. Each base station consists of antennas and a cabinet with equipment to power it. The antennas are usually fixed to a support structure, which is known as a mast.

Your mobile phone only works if it can connect to a base station. The majority of experts and national advisory boards say there is no scientific reason to distance base stations from places where people live and work, as long as the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines are adhered to. These guidelines include a substantial safety margin.

The World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheet on base stations and wireless technologies states that:

“…There is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF [radio frequency] signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”

Surveys have shown that the RF exposures from base stations range from 0.002% to 2% of the levels of international exposure guidelines, depending on a variety of factors such as the proximity to the antenna and the surrounding environment.

To offer further reassurance, some governments have introduced a national database that shares independent information about the location of base stations and the amount of radio waves they produce. Vodafone has provided information to assist these programmes in Greece, the UK, Egypt, India and the Netherlands.