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Germany: UMTS Antenna Construction Banned?

According to the administrative law judges in Düsseldorf, mobile communications antennas can no longer be built on the roofs of houses in pure residential areas.

On Friday last week, the Düsseldorf Administrative Court barred the mobile communications company DeTeMobil (Deutsche Telekom) from continuing construction of a mobile communications mast in a residential area in Kaarst, near Neuss. Residents had pressed for construction to come to a halt.

"If the decision is upheld, it could seriously thwart the plans of mobile communications providers," conclude the online editors of Stiftung Warentest, the German consumer advice organization. This could mean the end of the construction of the UMTS networks, or it could at least cause long delays.

In order for the network to have full coverage, between 50,000 and 100,000 transmitters must be built. The court's decision was not made on the basis of possible health risks, however. The transmitters would mean that the buildings were being used for commercial purposes, which goes against development plans, in the opinion of the judges. But the Düsseldorf decision is not yet final.

"The Supreme Administrative Court will probably overrule the ban on construction," the Stiftung Warentest editors report.