There are No Safety Concerns Surrounding 5G Technology in Australia

safety concerns surrounding 5G technology

Australia’s 5G adoption rate has been surprisingly low, and the reasons why will shock you 

5G was a hot topic long before its launch in Australia. Experts claimed the fifth generation mobile network technology could potentially be 100 times faster than 4G Networks. We heard about its low-to-zero latency to virtually eliminate lag and usher in other technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and more. Its high bandwidth was also a capacity boost for multiple simultaneous connections.

But according to a survey by market comparison website Finder, only 1 in 5 Australians have adopted the service. This is puzzling considering 5G has been available in Australia for 3 years now.

What’s even more puzzling are what seem to be the reasons behind its slow adoption rate. While 5G was hyped and praised prior to its launch 3 years ago in Australia, several conspiracy theories emerged after its launch, and they spread like wild fire.

Conspiracy theories usually defy logic, but those that followed the 5G launch went even further than being illogical. They were not only unfounded, but entirely ridiculous.

First, there were claims that because 5G technology’s radio waves are transmitted in shorter wave lengths, it could cause cancer because small cell towers would have to be placed throughout residential neighborhoods. The second conspiracy theory was that 5G causes COVID-19.

While it is baffling to imaging how these repeatedly debunked claims could carry any weight at all, we regretfully have to address them. In this post, we’ll debunk these conspiracy theories once again to remind Aussies of why there are no safety concerns around 5G.

Survey suggests that almost half of Australians question the safety of 5G

Finder’s survey indicates that, while 5G has been live in Australia for three years, only 19 percent of Australians have subscribed to a 5G service. This comes as the major telcos have been rolling out the fifth generation mobile technology at full speed. For instance, Telstra claims its 5G coverage reaches 75 percent of the population, while Vodafone claims to cover 85 percent of the population in 10 cities, and Optus 5G network can be accessed by over 700,000 households. 

So why are Australians shying away from 5G when it is readily available, and better than 4G?

The Finder survey also answered this question. They asked the 824 Australians about their willingness to use 5G, and 45 percent of the respondents said they wouldn’t sign up for a 5G service because of safety concerns. Only 30 percent said they’d like to eventually get a 5G service.

Perhaps what’s even more interesting is that 6 percent of the respondents said they had never even heard about 5G. We’ll touch on the implications of this later.

So what exactly are Australians concerned about when it comes to 5G?

While 5G isn’t at its full potential yet, the technology is already 4 times faster than 4G networks in Australia. So why would anyone not want more speed? Well, safety. Here’s a quick look at their concerns:

Does 5G cause cancer? No.

When 5G launched, conspiracy theories were abundant. A popular one claimed that because its radio waves are transmitted through short wavelengths, mini cells will be needed in abundance, thereby increasing the likelihood of 5G causing cancer.

2018 Australian study found no link between mobile phone use and brain cancer. Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, also addressed the topic in 2020, stating, “I’d like to reassure the community that 5G technology is safe. There is no evidence telecommunication technologies, such as 5G, cause adverse health impacts.”

In fact, the well respected Cancer.org has concluded that the frequency spectrum used for 5G falls “in the nonionizing range of the spectrum, which is low frequency and low energy… too low to damage DNA.”

We can go on and on about how the 5G to cancer claims have been debunked repeatedly, so much so that it has become laughable. So does 5G cause cancer? Absolutely not.

Does 5G cause COVID-19? No, no, no.

Next, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, 5G was once again being blamed. Perhaps this has been the most irrational conspiracy theory so far. How could anyone even believe that a telecommunications technology can create a biological virus that can be spread from one person to another? 

Baffling. Nonetheless, this was and has been an actual concern for many Australians.

We wrote an article about the 5G to COVID-19 conspiracy theory 2 years ago. There, we cited an Essential Research Survey which indicated that 12 percent of Australians believe 5G causes COVID-19. This ridiculous claim led to 5G mobile towers being burned in Australia.

This conspiracy theory, as absurd as it sounds, caught so much momentum that Australia’s Parliament had to actually release a report debunking the 5G-coronavirus claims

So, does 5G cause COVID-19? Of course not. A mobile technology simply cannot cause or create a virus. And even as the unfounded claims spread, the 5G rollout continued at full speed while coronavirus cases reduced significantly. That, in itself, should be enough to debunk this claim.

Telcos have done a poor job of educating the public about 5G, and informing Australians of its availability

Finally, we find it interesting that 6 percent of Finder’s respondents knew nothing about 5G. The technology has been a hot topic for years – long before its launch 3 years ago. How come so many Australians have not heard about it?

Perhaps this is where the crux of it all lies. Many Australians have not been educated about 5G and its benefits, and many still don’t even know it exists. To get the 5G adoption rate to increase drastically in Australia, telcos clearly have to do a better job of convincing Australians that 5G can benefit them by adding value that isn’t available on a 4G network.

Conclusion

There are people who doubt the safety of 5G networks in Australia. This, we’ve seen. One has to wonder about the firmness of the grip these people have on the reality they inhabit. We are surrounded by businesses delivering products which make our lives better, to us, within regulatory frameworks. 

There is a reason you can go to a restaurant and eat the food and not get sick. There is a reason your building will not collapse on you. There is a reason your toaster does not explode and burn the kitchen down. Each of these things is a product which solves a problem to make our lives better – and each have been delivered within a regulatory framework. 

Before companies are allowed to sell anything to you, the products have to meet pre-specified conditions. Toasters, buildings, and the food we eat must all be prepared in such a way as to avoid hurting the people who use them. The same goes for mobile devices and networks, including 5G

It’s not just the regulatory requirements that enforce the safety of these products. There is a commercial imperative upon the companies that make them, which requires that the products be safe. Their brands depend on being associated with safety (and not associated with killing users or spreading viruses!)

Clearly, there are safety guidelines for wireless technology. Clearly, 5G covers those. There really are no threats to people’s wellbeing as a result of 5G spectrum use.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.