By Martin Ekpeke
Stakeholders in the Nigerian telecommunications industry have come to a consensus that Fifth Generation Technology, simply referred to as 5G has nothing to do with the Coronavirus, which is presently ravaging the world.
Nigerians woke up a few days ago to the strange rumour of 5G technology connections to the Coronavirus pandemic across the globe. Those, who paddled the rumour argued that 5G, a yet to deployed technology in Nigeria caused the Coronavirus.
But in separate statement, both the Nigerian Communications Commission, the country’s telecom regulator; the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ALTON) dismissed the rumour with what can be described as the ‘wave of the hand’.
First to clear the doubts is the telecom regulator. In a statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, the NCC clears the doubts over 5G and COVID-19 by saying the well-circulated information is misleading and has no proven evidence.
It noted that there is no correlation between 5G Technology and COVID-19, explaining that 5G is only advancement in today’s 4G technology, designed to transform the world positively.
The statement reads: “There is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment. The NCC, back in November 2019, approved a trial test for 5G for a period of three (3) months, and the trial has been concluded and installation decommissioned.
“The trial, among others, was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present. Relevant stakeholders, including members of the security agencies, were invited to participate during the trial.
“The NCC will continue to maintain its policy of technology neutrality and will continue to encourage Service Providers to deploy the best technology that will meet the needs of the society in a secured and friendly manner.”
Also making some clarifications, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), described the “controversy” which is being vociferously pursued by some people as ignorant tirades occasioned by the morbid fear of the rampaging Coronavirus.
ALTON argues that telecommunication standards are prescribed for use by the relevant international Regulatory Agencies after thorough and comprehensive tests have been carried out to ensure particularly that all approved standards are safe for the Human environment and health.
Thus, there is no iota of truth that 5G Technology is the cause of the Coronavirus pandemic, pointing out that the virus is also being spread in places without 5G networks like Nigeria. “There are many parts of the world that do not have 5G coverage yet but are still affected by the virus. Example are parts of United Kingdom, Iran and Russia, which has no 5G for commercial use except for some of their military deployments,” ALTON said in a statement jointly signed by Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman and Gbolahan Awonuga, Head, Operations.
While noting Nigerians the theories that are being spread about 5G on social media and News Media are baseless and are not grounded in accepted scientific theory, ALTON assured that the telecoms industry is working around the clock to keep vital health, education and emergency services online, businesses running, and friends and families connected.
“It is deplorable that critical communications infrastructure is being attacked in some places, based on outright mistruths. We urge everyone to trust the health authorities and rest assured, communications technology is safe. There is no link between 5G and Covid-19,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Association of Telecommunications Companies in Nigeria (ATCON), has also described the information suggesting 5G Network Causes Coronavirus as baseless and untrue.
The umbrella body of all telecom companies in Nigeria noted that without any equivocation, the purported claims that 5G is responsible for COVID-19 is baseless and it should be discountenanced by Nigerians as what it is: false information.
“We wish to draw the attention of Nigerians to the unfounded claims and misinformation that is trending on all social media like Facebook, WhatsAapp, Twitter, LinkedIn and a host of others, which suggest that Fifth Generation (5G) technology is causative factor of Coronavirus pandemic also known as COVID-19,” ATCON said in a statement signed by its President, Engr. Teniolla Olusola.
It noted that the claim that 5G causes Coronavirus has not been substantiated, by any conclusive empirical evidence, by either the World Health Organisation or other health research institutions.
ATCON added that there has been no issuance of 5G Licence to any of its members to build and deploy 5G network in Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). However, what has happened recently was just a trial of the 5G network by one of our members which was well supervised by the telecoms regulator.
Nigeria is ccurrently made up of 2G, 3G and 4G. In 2014, the World Health Organisation stated clearly that there is not yet any conclusive scientific evidence to the effect that there are adverse health effects caused by telecommunications infrastructures to humans with respect to exposure to the non-ionising radiation emitting by telecoms base stations.
Infact, in all the generations of wireless network technology (5G,4G,3G,2G&1G) mobile data is transmitted over radio waves. Other types of technology that use radio waves include smart meters, TV and radio transmitters, and radar and satellite communications. Most modern medical laboratory equipment uses radio waves, some use nuclear radiation, but they are used within the guidelines.
Nigeria progressed from 1G to the current 4G which most networks offer to their subscribers today. Even with all the virtues of the novel 5G, BTS Sites across the country are still bereft of this technology.