Switzerland, one of the world's leaders in the rollout of 5G mobile technology, has placed an indefinite moratorium on the use of its new network because of health concerns.
The move comes as countries elsewhere around Europe race to upgrade their networks to 5G standards amid a furious rearguard diplomatic campaign by the US to stop them using Chinese technology provided by Huawei. Washington says the company, which is fundamental to most European networks' upgrade plans, presents a grave security risk.
Switzerland is relatively advanced in Europe in adopting 5G. The wealthy alpine country has built more than 2,000 antennas to upgrade its network in the last year alone, and its telecoms providers have been promising their customers' imminent 5G coverage for most of the past year.
However, a letter sent by the Swiss environment agency, Bafu, to the country's cantonal governments at the end of January, has now in effect called time on the use of all new 5G towers, officials who have seen the letter told the Financial Times.