5G is the fifth and latest generation of mobile network technology, which launched across the UK in 2019. 5G improves on previous generations of mobile network technology in terms of data rate, coverage and reliability. 5G is capable of average data speeds of around 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 200Mbps and a current max of up to 1 Gigabits per second (1000 Mbps), that’s up to 100 times faster than 4G.
Currently, in highly-crowded and congested urban areas, mobile users can notice a slow-down in speed or degradation of signal and performance. This is because the service is spread too thin between many connected devices in a particular area. 5G increases the potential number of devices in its network significantly when compared to 4G, and communication using 5G can occur in real time.
Did you know Ofcom have been carrying out radio frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements near mobile phone base stations for many years. Measuring signals from 5G-enabled base stations was prompted by public concerns around the mobile technology. Guidelines for limiting EMF exposure that will provide protection against known adverse health effects are published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which is formally recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The purpose of Ofcom’s work is to confirm that 5G-enabled mobile base stations remain within these limits. On 5G, UKHSA’s view is that ‘the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health’.
See Ofcom’s information for keeping tabs on 5G safety to find out more.
It is important to note that only 5G compatible mobile devices are able to take advantage of 5G services and only in locations where 5G coverage is available, your mobile network operator will be able to help advise on if your mobile is compatible.
Check if your mobile network operator provides 5G coverage in your area. The 4 main mobile network operators’ coverage can be checked on their individual websites, linked below.