Industry In Attacks On GPRS Radiation Rumors
Electronics Weekly
Journalist: Roy Rubenstein
October 20, 1999

Mobile handset makers, silicon vendors and operators alike have rebutted claims of a potential delay in the introduction of GSM data enhanced handsets due to health issue concerns. They also dismissed reports of technical difficulties regarding battery overheating.

GPRS works by sending up to 14.4kbit/s in each of GSM’s eight time slots. Reports that general packet radio service (GPRS) handsets could emit harmful radiation due to the datacomms duty cycles were dismissed by Lucent Technologies.

“It doesn’t change the RF frequencies. I’m not aware of anyone bringing this up in terms of a health issue,” said Andy Craigen, manager, wireless communications.

“We are not aware of any problem like this, nor any hints of delays,” confirmed a Vodafone spokesperson.

Each also pointed out that a handset would not be held near the user’s ear during data transmissions.

Craigen pointed out that whereas average power consumption goes up as adjacent time slots are filled with data, current power amplifiers in handsets can handle up to five contiguous slots of data – “four transmit slots and a receive, four receive slots and a transmit, or any combination in between”. This gives a 50kbit/s data rate.

Handset maker Nokia ridiculed reports that it had admitted the possibility of a GPRS handset delay. “We haven’t announced our products plans so we certainly haven’t announced any delays,” said a Nokia spokesperson.