Customers will soon be able to make a more informed decision about buying a mobile phone, following an agreement by the industry to make energy emission information more available to the consumer.
The phone industry is set to make information about electromagnetic radiation (EMR) more accessible under a voluntary scheme which could see phone EMR levels printed on the mobile packaging.
A committee is working on an Australian version of the US system and will probably include information about emission levels and compliance, according to the Australian Communications Authority (ACA).
Mobile phones are currently marked with an A-Tick', a regulator's standards compliance mark. Under the agreement, more information about the maximum emission levels will be provided to consumers but the exact details have yet to be finalised.
"The nature of the information and where it will be provided is being determined by a small working group comprising of the ACA, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association and manufacturers," said the ACA's assistant EMR manager, Leonie Tarnawski.
The information will come from the point of manufacturers and will allow users to verify that emission levels fall below the levels set out in the ACA EMR Human Exposure Standard.
Although still in the planning stages, the AMTA is also looking at setting up a database containing information on emissions for comparison by consumers.
Retailers have supported the decision, saying the information will help allay many consumers' concerns about mobile phone energy emissions and their effect on public health.
However, it is unlikely the agreement will have a pronounced impact on sales, which have grown significantly in the last 12 months.
"We see it as a very positive step," said group manager for Telstra's On Air division, Catherine Payne. "It helps consumers make informed decisions. The move acknowledges the public has concerns about mobile emissions and is helping consumers address those concerns. It puts the decision back onto the customer to make an informed choice."