Kara hosted Mr. Nelson Wasilwa, Ag. Manager Frequency Planning, Communications Authority of Kenya as one of the speakers during the Kara-Safaricom Webinar on the theme:

Base Transceiver Stations& Electromagnetic Frequencies: Separating Facts from Myths. Below are his responses to questions sent in advance and through the chat box by Webinar participants.

  1. The type approval given to the companies do they have lifespan if so after how long are they renewable?

The type approval is issued once for all the companies.

  1. Do base stations EMF levels vary?

They should be standard but yes they vary within the base or minimum level thresholds.

  1. How safe are we with the transmitters on top of buildings in the country?

This are safely chosen and installed to operate within non-harmful levels.

  1. At what age is phone- use suitable for children?

There is no defined age but parental discretion is encouraged to minimise over use.

  1. Some people even sleep with phones under the pillow. How safe is this?

The phone handset is meant to operate safely even in close proximity of the user. There is no known harm. Furthermore an idle phone only scans the signals to ensure it can receive alerts and only increases emissions when active/on call. 

  1. I would like to know the radius of the affected area from the BTS; why can`t the various telecom companies share such facilities for safety and aesthetic reasons?

The BTS serves quite long distances depending on line of sight and effective spurious reflections. What is key is the control inherent in design of the azimuth to ensure the separation and balancing of both the power signal and the telecom signal. The power signal goes upwards for a short distance while the telecom signal goes terrestrial.

  1. What does the law say on electronic equipment registration and installation?

Thisshould be type approved and enlisted for local use. The installation and activation should be done by a registered technical personnel and contractors licensed by Communications Authority and National Construction Authority in some casesGSMA.

  1. What are some of the safety measures one needs to understand during the installation of Base Transceiver Stations? How is the community involved during the installation, and is there compensation in case of any damages?

The BTS must be installed after an in depth environmental impact assessment (EIA) and more detailed/enhanced line of sight for the population to be covered. Compensation on damages is not clear and also rare in occurrence can only be decided on case by case.

  1. Who monitors the impacts of masts installation incommunity/residential areas and the health impacts on people? Are there any reports provided regularly to those affected?

The BTS are installed after EIA and RF assessment by experts. Reports are provided and assessment is done periodically and on case by case basis.