At the 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC18) in Barcelona which took place 9 days ago, various technology companies announced their immediate plans for 5G (5th generation wireless systems) deployment.

AT&T announced its intention to deploy 5G in 12 markets by the end of 2018. T-Mobile announced its plans for its 5G deployment in 30 cities by 2019, and Sprint said its use of Massive MIMO will bring “5G-like” performance to six cities as soon as next month. However, it was admitted that the availability of 5G-enabled end devices will likely lag behind.

Compared to 4G services, 5G is expected to enable new uses such as streaming in ultra-high definition, the more widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (the networking of every electronic device), the development of virtual/ augmented reality and the “autonomous” car.

It is the eager support of carriers and infrastructure providers that is accelerating the development of 5G services.

However, there is a reason to be concerned about 5G.


Why might 5G be dangerous?

Because of the limited distance 5G signals can travel, many smaller base stations would be needed for 5G service than the previous technology. It’s widely believed that there would need to be exponentially more. One researcher estimated a station would be needed for every 12 homes in a dense urban area.

This presents potential dangers to humans, especially children.

Base stations are basically microwave transmitters and the closer you are to them, the more problems can occur. The prospect of more transmitters emitting radio-frequency radiation – though at much lower levels than those coming from cell towers – has alarmed people concerned about the effects on humans.

The move to 5G presents additional concerns because there will be more energy in signals traveling over the high-frequency spectrum and the smaller transmitters will be closer to where people live and work…

Right now, if you are concerned about living too close to a cell tower, you can move away, but 5G signals will be harder for people to avoid.