PowerCom Pty Ltd, as a passive infrastructure provider hosting cutting edge communication technologies for operators on its towers, has highlighted that concerns regarding any link between the coronavirus crisis and 5G technology, plus its alleged rollout on their towers, are completely unfounded.
In a media statement, Powercom stated the rumours of a connection between 5G and Covid-19 are damaging towards the communications industry, putting ICT infrastructure at risk when it is crucially enabling communications in the national ongoing fight against Covid-19. “These rumours, which have been focused particularly on the 19 towers that PowerCom was in the process of constructing, are part of a global conspiracy, which spilled over to Namibia and reached a peak during the national lockdown,” read a statement from Powercom.
PowerCom’s CEO Alisa Amupolo added there is no basis for the comments, with the construction of 19 new towers this year merely coincidental to the outbreak. She noted that, moreover, no corroborating evidence has ever been supplied to link 5G and coronavirus. “Firstly, PowerCom has not received applications for 5G technologies on its towers, though it cannot rule out such applications in future when Namibian operators are ready to roll out 5G. It has been firmly established there is no connection between the coronavirus outbreak and 5G technology. A conspiracy theory suggests 5G radiation is the cause of Covid-19, but there is no scientific evidence to support this. PowerCom, during onboarding process of all operators on the towers, requires approval by the regulator, which issues for Spectrum and also conducts Typo approval,” Powercom’s statement continued. Mercucio Mowes from PowerCom’s Infrastructure Department added that it has been established that 5G is not the cause of Covid-19. The World Health Organisation, which has a detailed guide on the mobile network, said “no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies” even after “much research” was carried out.
“The spreading of inaccurate information can become very dangerous, as it can lead to people vandalising or physically damaging PowerCom infrastructure. Many businesses are currently dependent on the communications infrastructure we provide, especially during the national lockdown where there is a shift to remote working and e-learning. Therefore, vandalism will simply prevent and hamper communication to households as well as essential service providers,” Amupolo stated.
5G is a smarter, faster and more efficient type of mobile technology set to succeed 4G services across the globe. With mobile speeds vastly outstripping 4G and even home broadband services, 5G has the potential to bring speeds of 100 gigabits per second to technology users. At full potential, 5G could be as much as 100 times faster than existing 4G services.
“The new 5G technology operates at a wide range of frequencies which have already been in use for many years and have therefore been proven safe over time. Radiation from 5G transmitters and devices is comparable to that found in previous technologies and research has demonstrated these levels are nowhere near those required to damage the human immune system,” the statement reads.
Amupolo highlighted that PowerCom is currently only operating in the passive infrastructure space, offering physical infrastructure and not active infrastructure. At present, PowerCom does not host any 5G equipment on their towers because there is no 5G yet available in Namibia. The company is assessing how to future-proof their infrastructure to allow tower clients to roll out 5G services in the imminent future.
Physical infrastructure includes antennas, feeder cables, Node B, Radio Access Network (RAN) and transmission systems. Moreover, radiation is classified as either ionizing or non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation has sufficient energy to produce ions whereas non-ionizing radiation does not. The frequencies used by 5G range between 2.4 GHz and 4.2 GHz – this fall considerably short of the range of ionizing radiation and therefore only produce non-ionizing radiation.
Amupolo refers to other operators including the CRAN, MTC and Telecom Namibia who have also criticised the circulation of the conspiracy theory which is causing unnecessary confusion and panic at a critical time where uptime, reliability and agility of communication infrastructure are critical in the fight against the pandemic. She concluded that social media operators have taken action to remove posts which spread this false information and communications providers across the world have reiterated these fears are unfounded.