Covid-19 related 5G phone mast vandalism addressed by Ofcom

10 April 2020

5G masts

Ofcom has already demonstrated that 5G is safe (more on which below), but that hasn't stopped 5G masts in the UK being vandalized by people incorrectly linking the tech to Covid-19, and Ofcom has now released a statement.

The main takeaway, as you’d expect, is “we would like to emphasise that there is no relationship whatsoever between 5G mobile signals and the coronavirus.”

But there’s a darker side to Ofcom’s statement too, because this vandalism does more than just cost mobile networks money, it also, as Ofcom notes, “means people can’t call the emergency services or contact their family. It could also mean that some of the communications equipment used by the emergency services is unable to work properly.”

In a time when we’re all stuck at home, the ability to use phones to communicate is more important than ever, and with the worrying spread of Covid-19 the ability to contact the emergency services - and for them to use their equipment - is as well.

In other words, those damaging 5G infrastructure based on what is frankly a baseless conspiracy theory are ironically making the Covid-19 situation worse, not better.

Ofcom finishes its statement by saying “this poses a serious threat to people’s safety. So, please help us support our broadband and mobile networks so people can stay safe, and stay connected.”

This isn't the first comment Ofcom has made on the situation either. You can see another comment in video form below, along with an explanation of how it has tested the safety of 5G.

Nothing to worry about

Ofcom has carried out radio frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements at 16 locations in 10 cities across the UK using the tech shown in the image above, and it has found two key things.

Firstly, that in all cases the measured EMF levels from 5G-enabled mobile phone base stations are a tiny fraction of the levels identified in the ICNIRP guidelines (more on which below), with the highest level being only around 1.5% of the relevant safe level, and secondly that the contribution of 5G to the total emissions level is very low, with the highest level in a band used for 5G being just 0.039% of the reference level.

Speaking of those ICNIRP guidelines, the ICNIRP is the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection, and it has spent seven years coming up with new guidelines that apply to 5G. You can't get much more thorough than that.

Ofcom's statement also follows the UK government calling the links to coronavirus “dangerous nonsense”, and the UK’s four main mobile networks saying in a collective statement that “there is no scientific evidence of any link between 5G and coronavirus. Fact.” But if you are worried, you'll find all concerns are addressed in-depth in our extensive guide to 5G safety.

Sub-Editor at 5G.co.uk

James is sub-editor at both 5G.co.uk and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for 5G.co.uk and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, 3G.co.uk with work on the web, in print and on TV.

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