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Here’s why 5G and Coronavirus are not connected

Inside Telecom Staff



The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have given us much to think and worry about. Despite there being no validated in-depth conclusion about the health effects of 5G, there have been multiple rumors in the media lately, about conspiracy theories related to the virus. One such theory we would like to discredit is the link between 5G and the Coronavirus. 

We don’t just expect you to take our word for it, so we have done our best to explain the reasons why, from both a scientific and factual perspective. Like most conspiracy theories the 5G and COVID-19 connection comes from uninformed people online attempting to link things that are simply not connected. However, what is detrimental to this, is the power and influence of social media and its ability amplify such misguided comments.

The Coronavirus pandemic is widely reported to have originated at a market in the city of Wuhan in China, around December of last year. China also coincidently turned on some of its first 5G networks around November of last year. Somehow, those who fear the new technology or simply don’t understand it, concluded that there must be a causal link between the introduction of 5G and the emergence of COVID-19. In addition to all kinds of logical misconceptions and other weaknesses that can be found in that argument, there are numerous factual concerns to be addressed.

5G comes in different types

Firstly, it is important to note that not all 5G radio signals are the same. The two basic kind are referred to as  “sub-6 GHz” (named so because the radio frequencies that it uses are all under, or sub, 6 GHz) and “millimeter wave”, which operate at 24 GHz and above (the name comes from the fact that individual radio wavelengths are measured in millimeters). The kind that China is using at the moment is the sub-6 GHz variety.

We have used 6 GHz radio signals around the world for years for a wide variety of applications with no impact whatsoever. All 4G cell networks are using signals in this range, along with Wi-Fi and your microwave oven. Consequently, if these signals were able to cause some metabolic change in animals or people, as suggested by the conspiracy, we would have experienced their impact a long time ago. The reason we have not, is because the signal strength that these systems use, has provided no measurable negative link establish between these signals and our health, and there is no way that this could have brought about something that would have created the Coronavirus.

Where did the conspiracy come from? 

Many such theories can be traced back to the discussion that arises every couple of years about the possible health impact of using mobile telephones. According to the World Health Organisation website, studies have yet to establish any credible link between what’s called non-ionizing radiation that all forms of radio signals generate, to traditional radio signals, and human health.

To be completely impartial, these health organisations do not all together rule out the possibility of non-ionizing radiation having some impact on human health, and state that more research still needs to be done on long-term exposure to it. However, almost all of this caution is related to the possibility of causing cancer after decades of intense usage.

Before we get to the science, let us look at one of the more obvious explanations. COVID-19 exists in countries where 5G has not even been deployed yet. Let us take Iran as an example. The country has seen a huge number of cases, yet could not be further from the roll out of 5G.

The science

In the most recent scientific study from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an organization that the World Health Organisation refers to on its website in regards to radio frequency related health matters, concluded that health-related concerns for 5G overall are not a threat. More specifically, they highlighted that the signal levels generated are below their suggested settings which have shown that some networks in the UK operate at less than 1% of the organisations recommended levels. There were no concerns noted forsub-6 GHz 5G signals in the ICNIRP report. The only additions that were made in the 2020 version of the report over the original 1998 version were comments made about the exposure to frequencies above 6 GHz, which includes millimeter wave. Even here, the changes only suggest limiting long-term exposure to high-strength signals in these upper frequencies.

How 5G waves work

The physics of millimeter wave signals inherently limits the distance they can travel before they move into “nothingness”. This is why the coverage maps for mm-wave-based 5G services, that operators like Verizon have, are so limited. Rather than a single cell tower that provides miles of signal coverage as you can with sub-6 GHz signals, mmWave needs small cell towers at almost every block and these signals are not able to pass through walls and buildings. So, short of eating a %G mmWave transmitter and allowing it to run for a long period of time, you are safe.

We’re a diverse group of industry professionals from all corners of the world. Our desire is to provide a high-quality telecoms publication that caters to an international market, offering the latest and most relevant telecoms information to businesses, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

Feature Articles

The 5G debate continues: a detriment to health or not?

Ranine Awwad



The 5G debate continues a detriment to health or not

An international advocacy has been conducted against 5G technology deployment on social media under #Stop5G hashtag. Lawyers, scientists, doctors, and engineers have been engaging on a practical level.  By May 17, 2020, the 5G EMF Appeal was signed by 377 EU scientists and doctors. As of June 4, 2020, there are 291,307 signatories from 218 nations and territories on the international appeal to stop 5G on earth and in space. A current debate about the relation between 5G and Coronavirus might delay the technology’s deployment in many countries.

According to the  Physician’s Health Initiative for radiation and environment PHIRE, 5G uses higher RF frequencies and different modulation, with a higher amplitude, rapid data bursts which are expected to cause even greater cellular damage. RF can increase risk of cancer, nervous system disruption, reproductive impairment. Children are more vulnerable as are the elderly and pregnant.

More than 500 studies have found harmful health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities. Tom Butler, a Professor in Business Information Systems at University College Cork, Ireland said in a paper submitted on May 27, 2020, that “5G technologies also expose children and adults with low frequency, high frequency and extremely high-frequency RFR simultaneously”. According to Butler report, in medical and scientific terms, the skin does not form a barrier to extremely high-frequency RFR, it is permeable, it is a biological organ that protects the body, but is itself prone to infections and environmental influence. Also, the report referred to evidence for an association to cell phone RFR and neurological development for children in utero as well as the risk of spontaneous abortion.

In addition, the results obtained by a new study conducted by Bartomeu Payeras I Cifre, a biologist specializing in microbiology and working at the University of Barcelona, demonstrates a clear and close relationship between the rate of coronavirus infections and 5G antenna location. “The study does not analyze the beneficial or harmful effects on humans of 5G electromagnetic radiation. However, it does indicate a possible cause-effect in the current pandemic” Bartomeu said.

5G deployment undermines over 15 international agreements, treaties, and recommendations, including article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Action against 5G- a group of individuals, scientists, doctors, and engineers- are now leading a case against the UK government to force authorities take notice of the serious health, environmental and biological life implications of 5G technology. The group is supported by a team of lawyers headed by Michael Mansfield QC who has received the title “The King of Human Rights” by the Legal 500.

“Nothing other than a legal challenge will force a government to take notice; this is the only way to ensure the government engages with the issue” according to the group website. Experts warned of the serious implications of the combined exposure with existing radiation from GSM, 3G, Wi-Fi, 4G will cause serious damage to health.

The legal team sheds light on the fact of deploying 5G without the public’s consent. “This constitutes a breach of the 1947 Nuremberg Code of Ethics regarding human subject’s experimentation”. In March 2020, the European Commission published a report entitled “Effects of 5G wireless communication on human health”. “5G is an untested technology, a cautious approach would be prudent” according to the report.

Brussels has some of the most stringent radiation guidelines for telecom equipment in the world. The upgrade to 5G in Geneva and Brussels was postponed because it’s too difficult to measure the radiation exposure from it. 5G technology is not compatible with Belgian radiation safety standards. In fact, in April 2019, Environment and Energy Minister in Brussels Celine Fremault stated “I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizens, are not respected, 5G or not”. Back to 2018, Belgium Environmental and Health minister Celine Fremault and Belgium Telecom Minister Alexander De Croo asked for a technical study on whether 5G deployment could co-exist with Brussel’s current radiation rules of 6 volts per meter. Brussel’s rules are 50 times more strict than international standards.

In 2020, the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has upgraded the 1998 guidelines. The ICNIRP 2020 includes a number of changes to ensure that new technologies such as 5G will not be able to cause harm. These changes include the addition of whole-body average restrictions for frequencies >6 GHz, restrictions for brief (<6 minutes) exposures for frequencies >6 GHz- and the reduction of the averaging area for frequencies >6 GHz. “A key feature of the 5G wireless standard is that it will use beam-forming technology, which allows for the RF EMFs to be focused on the region where it is needed, rather than being spread out over a large area”. Thus, fifth generation exposures will not cause any harm providing that they adhere to the ICNIRP 2020 guidelines.

On the other hand, in April 2020 the ICNIRP posted a statement entitled “COVID-19 and RF- EMF”. This statement discussed rumors that claim that exposure to the electromagnetic fields (IMF) generated by 5G devices can cause COVID-19 and increase its severity. According to the statement “There is no (not even extremely weak evidence) that EMF exposure from 5G devices causes COVID-19 or have any effect on the disease process or health outcomes of those who are infected by the new Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19.”

However, The Court of Appeal of Turin recognized in a full judgment published on January 13, 2020 (904/2019 of Romeo v. INAIL) that telephone industry-funded scientists, or members of the ICNIRP, are less reliable than independent scientists. “Conflict of interest situations may arise in relation to the assessment of the effect of radio frequencies on health”. According to the Court, ICNIRP members have received direct or indirect funding from the industry.

On February 25, 2020, another lawsuit against 5G deployment was filed in the Netherlands. The Dutch Stop 5G group- Stop5GNetherlands- says that 5G deployment is a serious violation of human rights. The group claims that the Dutch government is hiding behind ICNIRP. On May 14, 2020, 24 Canadian groups drafted an appeal to the Government of Canada saying NO to 5G in their neighborhood.

China, recognized as the 5G leader in the world was the first country to be affected by Covid-19. Is it a sufficient argument to say that Covid-19 is caused by 5G? However, many countries affected by Covid-19 do not have 5G technology.

The World Health Organization said that Covid-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G. The pandemic cannot travel on radio waves/ mobile networks.

Technology implications related to health has always been under public scrutiny even at the time of 2G, 3G, and 4G. While the many theories out there do raise questions and concerns, more extensive (unbiased) research must be conducted to determine whether 5G poses greater health risks.




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Feature Articles

India’s growing production powerhouse

Inside Telecom Staff



India’s growing production powerhouse

Issues between the United States and China continue, however other countries can be forgiven for wondering why they should be considered as helpless bystanders as the worlds two main superpowers go head-to-head in a battle over which of them should attain or retain dominance in the global telecommunications business.

Perhaps one of the most expected responses is that of India. The country will be exercising its leadership and also its dominance in its 1.3 billion consumer market.

To avoid finding itself on the wrong side as the tech trade war heats up, the Indian government says it is planning to motivate the big telecoms equipment manufacturers to move towards making all of the telecoms equipment that they provide for India’s giant telecoms operators inside the country. This will mean security of supply. Critics also say that another motivation is to lessen the possibility of spying by foreign intelligence services.

There is currently a mandate to buy local telecoms equipment in the case of BSNL, which is a state-run company, however international vendors point out that expanding local production would not make sense just to service one specific network. They would require further incentives.

At the moment the likes of Nokia and Ericsson are building telecom equipment in India for the Indian market however the amount of local content going into the finished product is only around 40%.

So mainly for reasons of security of supply in a broken telecoms world, the government says it wants to push that proportion to 100%. This may take time, of course, however India represents a vast and increasing market so it must be confident that the big players at least, will be content to display ‘made 100% in India’ stickers on their finished boxes in due course. One of these main vendors will include Huawei.

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is actually scheduled to meet with the vendors, to discuss how Indian telecoms equipment manufacturing in India can be expanded.

In the meantime, India is already launching major initiatives to boost electronics manufacturing including components distant from mobile phones. This year alone, it has approved three separate schemes – the Production Link Incentive Scheme for large-scale electronic manufacturing; the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors, and the Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme. The three schemes offer either cash incentives for sales goods that are manufactured in India; capital expenditure subsidy for electronic goods; and in the case of EMC 2.0, support for the development of “common facilities and amenities,” such as ready-built factory sheds for attracting major global electronics manufacturers.

It is predicted that these three schemes could result in smartphone and component production worth an amount of US$133 billion by 2025 and will more than likely attract global players like Samsung. Apple suppliers Foxconn and Wistron have already increased local production, due to India’s huge market of 1.3 billion people.

Globalisation rollback will not be going in one direction. The European Union has also announced that it is going full steam ahead on digital service provider platform regulations. This includes clipping the wings of Google, Facebook and Amazon. It has been on the agenda for several years and the United States government has not been slow to voice its opposition to such developments. Now the European Union has launched two consultations. The first is to update the e-commerce directive from 2000, and the other suggests new competition regulations to prevent the big digital platforms acting as gatekeepers to stymie European entrants.

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Feature Articles

4 ways 5G will change our lives

Karim Hussami



4 ways 5G will change our lives

5G technology is being rolled out in many countries worldwide, and is expected to have a substantial impact on our lives. Here’s how it will change things.

1.  5G will change the way we shop for good – and will support the unprecedented shift in consumer behavior that was triggered by the health crisis. It offers high-performance, ultra-low latency networks that enable retailers to use immersive technologies such as AR to integrate the physical and digital worlds. This allows shoppers to try products virtually without the need to go to the store physically. The shopping experience will be enhanced with hyper-personalized digital experiences for customers, when in-store activity resumes.

2.  For the fact that 5G enables us to realize the potential of a fully connected world, it will push autonomous cars and drones more into the public space. 5G will give life to better and safer self-driving cars that will connect to other people, buildings, vehicles and street lights. Road safety will also benefit from a streamline system aided by 5G technology. Data collected from more IoT devices will be made possible which will expand a city’s ability to manage traffic flow, air quality, power use and public safety.

3.  Moving to more advanced forms of digital technology is a very important principle especially in regard to supply chain management. 5G will improve network speeds, simplify workflows among varying groups and will add new levels of end-to-end visibility on operations. Such improvements will translate into services that embody efficiency, quality and transparency for customers.

4.  Our trips to the doctor’s office may become a thing of the past as 5G facilitates virtual visits by low-latency, HD quality wireless networks. Telehealth services are being used more, since the start of the pandemic as it offers long distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, intervention and monitoring. With 5G technology, wearable or implanted medical devices will capture your vitals and transmit them more efficiently to health care providers, to allow them to detect early signs of heart attacks, strokes, or other life-threatening events.

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