With the widespread use of smartphones in our daily life, mobile data service has become the primary telecommunications service. The local mobile data usage in Macao has reached 3,646 TB in June 2020, with an annual growth at 28.9% in the past two years. Due to the increasing penetration rate of mobile phones, the general public has an increasing concern about the radiation safety issue of mobile base stations. In 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2016, the government has invited the University of Macao to carry out several studies on the radiation safety issue of the mobile base stations in Macao, and the past studies showed that the radiation levels of Macao’s mobile base stations were in compliance with the safety standard of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

In view of the development of the mobile communications technology and that 5G networks and 5G commercial services have gradually been launching globally, one of the mobile network operators in Macao has also started to prepare for deploying its 5G network, resulting in an increased number of mobile communications equipment (such as base stations, antennas, etc.) installed in various regions of Macao. Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau believes that it is necessary to evaluate the radiation environment in Macao again, therefore the Bureau entrusted “UMTec Limited”, which is a subsidiary wholly owned the University of Macao, with the titled study project on the radio-frequency radiation safety.

In this study there were a total number of 151 public locations selected for measurements in Macao, and all the 3G, 4G and 5G downlink frequency bands have been measured in accordance with the measurement procedures and the corresponding radiation safety standards stipulated in the ICNIRP 2020 guideline.

The study report shows that among these 151 test points, 88.7% (134) test points are within 0.5% of the power density limit of ICNIRP’s radiation safety standard, 9.3% (14) test points are between 0.5%-2.5% of the standard limit, 1.3% (2) test points are between 2.5%-5% of the standard limit, and only 0.7% (1) test point reaches 25.529% of the standard limit. The results mean that the radio-frequency radiation levels at all test points are far below the ICNIRP’s radiation safety limit, reflecting the fact that the overall radio-frequency radiation in Macao is at a low level.

The study report has also compared the measured radiation levels in 2020 and 2016, showing that the overall radiation level in surroundings has slightly increased in 2020 when compared to 2016, due to the development of the telecommunications business in recent years as well as the expanded use of 4G spectrums and the pre-deployment of 5G networks. However, in general the radio-frequency radiation generated by mobile base stations remains low level and the measured radiation levels at all test points comply with ICNIRP’s safety standard. According to ICNIRP’s guideline, the non-ionizing radiation with a level below the safety standard limit will not cause adverse health effects to the general public.