- What is 5G?
5G or fifth generation is the latest wireless mobile telecommunications technology designed to support a growing number of connected devices. It offers improved data performance and supports a wide range of applications. 5G will speed up the rate of data transfer by 100 times or more, greatly reduce the time between receipt of a signal by a cellular base stations and its response (latency), and allow cellular networks to manage far more wireless-connected devices than presently possible.
- What are the exposure limits from 5G?
For all radio frequencies (RF) up to 300GHz, maximum exposure limits have been set for both public and occupational exposure by international bodies, such as the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), endorsed and recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International telecommunications Union (ITU). These limits are designed to avoid any adverse health effects.
- What are the potential health risks from 5G?
5G deployment has caused concerns about the possible health effects of the RF energy transmitted by 5G base stations. Public opinion seems to focus mainly on two characteristics of 5G; the several frequency bands (including millimeter wave-mmWave) that 5G will operate and the multitude of base stations that will be placed/mounted in close proximity to subscribers.
- The earlier technologies (2G, 3G and 4G) utilized low frequency bands for their operation. 5G systems on the other hand will utilize several frequency bands, including the low frequency as used by the present cellular networks and high frequency bands. The concern is the high frequency band, the millimeter-wave (mmWave) that extends from 30GHz to 300GHz that will be used to handle high data traffic where needed. While mmWaves have not been used in cellular communications before, they have been used for other applications such as; airport security scanners and anti-collision radar for automobiles.
- 5G systems roll out will require many closely spaced base stations (small cells) in so much proximity to human access both indoor and outdoor.
MmWaves like the other RF energy produce non-ionizing radiation. The biological effects of non-ionising radiation, backed by evidenced scientific research is surface heating in direct line of sight over a prolonged exposure period. However, non-ionising radiation does not have insufficient energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule (ionization). This is as opposed to ionizing radiation that has sufficient energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule such as the gamma rays and X-rays.
- Are there exposure guidelines specific to 5G?
5G does not require different consideration or different set of guidelines, because it is a new generation of the same type of telecommunications technology that uses RF energy.
It is noteworthy that visible light is a common source of frequency higher than RF energy (including the mmWave or other mobile frequencies).
- Does 5G technology help the spread of COVID-19?
No, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that there is no link between 5G and COVID-19, confirming that viruses cannot travel on radio waves or on mobile networks. The WHO further maintains that COVID-19 is caused by the SARS – CoV-2 Virus, which spreads between people when an infected person is in close contact with another person. A person can catch COVID-19 when the virus gets into their mouth, nose of eyes, from an infected person who is less than 1 meter close to them.
UCC urges the public to refrain from disinformation and threats against mobile networks
- Will 5G cause more exposure?
To a small extent yes. But the increase in exposure levels is localized in the 5G deployed area. However, 5G total exposure levels will be very low relative to the international exposure limits. Based on the results from measurements of 5G trials and commercial 5G networks, the exposure levels will be similar to existing mobile services and below the international safety guidelines.
- Should people be worried about 5G?
There is no cause of worry or alarm with regard to 5G technology. It operates in the same electromagnetic radio spectrum (RF energy) like many other radio applications that we use in our day to day life such as microwave ovens, Television receivers, car keys, Bluetooth, the 4G and 3G technologies that we have enjoyed all along without necessarily worrying about them.
- Where can I obtain more information regarding 5G and health
UCC is available to provide more information on any inquiries or questions regarding 5G and health. For more information, you may contact;
The Executive Director,
Uganda Communications Commission,
Plot 42-44, Spring Road, Bugolobi,
P.O. Box 7376, Kampala (U)
Toll Free line: 0800222777
Office Numbers: 0414339000/0312339000
Face Book: Uganda Communications Commission