UPDATE: This article has been updated after a representative of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment said the original Financial Times article was not accurate.
Switzerland is one of the leading countries in the rollout of 5G mobile technology. The country has built more than 2000 antennas last year alone to upgrade its network, and many telecom providers has promised their customers imminent 5G coverage.
Switzerland halted 5G rollout due to health concerns, reports the Financial Times.
In late January, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FEON), issued a letter to the country’s cantons, that in effect called time on the use of all new 5G towers, officials had told the Financial Times.
Several Swiss cantons have already placed their own voluntary bans on the use of 5G mobile technology due to health concerns over radiation.
FEON has also said that “it cannot yet provide universal criteria without further testing of the impact of 5G radiation” and that they are not aware of any standard worldwide.
The agency said it “will examine exposure through adaptive 5G antennas in depth, if possible in real world operational conditions. This work will take some time,”
Swisscom, the leading telecom firm in Switzerland, has said that FEON’s assessment of the 5G technology will not halt its work on building out the 5G network in Switzerland, although it will be running at a limited capacity.
They further state that it could still achieve 2Gb/s without the full use of the new masts.
A number of protests has been held recently against the 5G rollout in Bern, Zurich and Geneva.
There are also several proposals for legally binding referendums on 5G use. Two have already been formalised, and are currently in process of collecting 100.000 signatures needed to trigger a nationwide referendum on the usage of 5G network.
The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment has denied plans for a “blanket ban” on 5G network in Switzerland, with a representative stating that “the Federal Office for the Environment’s (FOEN) letter to the cantons does not contain any recommendation to stop the permitting of 5G base stations”.
However, the representative also noted that “some cantons and municipalities had imposed moratoria on 5G planning permission, but added these do not affect Switzerland in general”.