August 27, 2020

Ofcom and HM Government 5G Technology Guide: Answering the questions important to you

Ofcom 5G Guide

Ofcom and HM Government has published a new 5G technology guide that explains this new technology, the opportunities it brings to consumers, business and public services, and answers some of the key questions people have raised about health and the pandemic.

Importantly, Ofcom clearly state that health concerns around 5G are completely unfounded and should not be used as a basis to block or delay 5G rollout.

Highlighted below are some of the key elements of the guide:

What is 5G?

5G is the new, fifth generation of mobile technology. Like previous mobile generations, including 3G and 4G, 5G uses the radio spectrum.

What are the differences between 5G and 3G and 4G?

There is nothing fundamentally different about the physical characteristics of the radio signals that will be produced by 5G compared to previous technologies like 3G and 4G. 5G offers faster internet speeds and the ability to connect thousands of different devices in a small area.

Which radiowaves does 5G use?

5G is re-using spectrum that has previously been used to deliver services such as TV broadcasting, wireless broadband and other types of transmissions that have been in the environment for many years.

What do health experts say about 5G?

Health experts have studied the effects of radio waves on health for many years. Public Health England endorses the international guidelines for limiting exposure to radio waves, published by the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These guidelines cover many uses of radio frequencies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile technologies. The guidelines were updated in March 2020 and take full accountof 5G operating at higher frequencies.

Have 5G masts been tested to ensure they are safe?

Ofcom carries out measurements to confirm transmitter base stations do not exceed the restrictions set out in the ICNIRP guidelines. Ofcom has recently measured radio wave emission levels at 5G sites in 10 UK towns and cities and, in all cases, the levels recorded are a small fraction of those in the ICNIRP guidelines. Click here for further information on these tests.

Will the technological advances of 5G result in increased risks for the general public?

At the moment, all mobile phone companies in the UK are operating mobile services in frequencies between 700 MHz and 3.8 GHz. This includes 2G, 3G and 4G as well as all current 5G deployments. 5G can also make use of higher frequency spectrum, and some 5G trials have already taken place in these frequencies. Higher frequency bands that could be used for 5G include the 26 GHz, 40 GHz and 66 GHz frequency bands. The term millimetre wave or mmWave is often used to describe these higher frequencies. The use of these frequencies is not new – they have been used for many years for other radio services, including point-to-point links, satellite earth stations and radio astronomy. The ICNIRP guidelines cover all frequencies that will be used for 5G, including mmWave, and all operators are required to comply with these guidelines.

5G and Coronavirus

Recently, conspiracy theories have been shared online that claim 5G mobile is connected to the spread of the coronavirus. This is wrong. There is no scientific basis or credible evidence for these claims.

Ofcom Guide in Full

Please note that the above information is a highlighted reel of the fuller Ofcom pamphlet. Please click here to read the guide in its entirety.

HM Government Ofcom 5G Guide

About Building Mobile Britain

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Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain

Media Contacts

Gareth Elliott
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076

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