Explainer: Everything you need to know about 5G in Nigeria, its alleged link with COVID-19 and human health
The 5G technology has been around for a while; it has been in use in some countries around the world.
However, the technology has become more popular in Nigeria recently following the claims that it has links with the coronavirus pandemic.
Legit.ng has fact-checked the claims that 5G technology has links with COVID-19 here.
However, in this piece, our focus is to explain, in plain terms, what the 5G technology really entails.
What is 5G?
5G is the 5th generation of wireless/mobile network. It is, simply put, un grade from the 4G network that you are familiar with.
Advancements in technologies are continuous. Ever since the invention of the mobile/wireless communication technology, it has continued to evolve from one generation to another: from 1G to 2G, 3G, 4G, and now 5G networks.
From the first generation to the current generation, there have have been significant improvements in wireless technology.
Nigeria's minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami
How is 5G different from the other Gs?
According to Qualcomm, the 1G was developed in the 1980s and delivered analogue voice.
The Second generation, 2G, was developed in the early 1990s and introduced digital voice.
The third generation, 3G, was in the early 2000s and brought mobile data. That is why you can conveniently read this piece on your mobile phone with your mobile data. Understood?
The fourth generation, 4G LTE, in the 2010s brought in mobile broadband; a significant upgrade from the 3G. It is the reason why you can live stream HD videos, video conferencing with increased speeds.
The 5G is a radical upgrade as it is now an embodiment of 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G; it is designed to provide more connectivity than was ever available before, beyond mobile communications.
5G is faster and has reduced latency, that is, the time between when information is sent from a device until it is used by a receiver.
It is a super technology which is expected to bring in new innovations in almost every field of endeavour e.g. medicine, agriculture, security, etc.
Beyond faster connection, 5G will facilitate the mass adoption of technologies that rely on Internet connectivity, including self-driving cars and drones to virtual reality, remote surgery and Internet of things.
Imagine doctors performing surgery on a patient who is not physically with them in theatre?
Who is the owner of 5G?
This technology is not owned by one person. Just like the previous generations, various companies own patents in the 5G technology and earn royalties from other firms that use them.
Is 5G is Nigeria?
There is currently no 5G network in Nigeria at the time of this report. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has also said it has not issued license for 5G spectrum to telcos.
However, the NCC in 2019 gave permission for MTN to test the possibilities of 5G technology in three major cities — Lagos, Abuja and Calabar.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, etc. are some of the countries currently with 5G.
You need a new phone to access 5G
When 5G eventually gets to Nigeria, you will need to get a new smartphone that supports it if you want to be able to use the network.
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5G changes data consumption
The average consumer is expected to go from being able to consume 2.3 GB of data per month today to close to 11 GB of data per month on their smartphone in 2022, according to Qualcomm.
The alleged link between 5G and coronavirus
As earlier noted, Legit.ng's fact-check finds out 5G does not have any link with coronavirus, citing statements from the World Health Organisation and other health and technology experts. Read it here.
The minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami, and the NCC has also stated that there is no correlation between 5G Technology and COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a virus which belongs to the coronavirus family; viruses that circulate among animals and sometimes humans, according to the European Centre for disease control.
The COVID-19 virus is a new strain that has previously been undiscovered in humans.
According to WHO, the new pandemic spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth; nothing to do with 5G.
The 5G technology and your health
The claim that 5G has effects on people’s health due to its higher frequencies and the type of radiation it emits has been debunked.
5G produces a form of radiation reportedly does not penetrate and damage human cells, unlike electromagnetic radiation which can cause cancer.
This is what the WHO said about the new technology:
“To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies. Health-related conclusions are drawn from studies performed across the entire radio spectrum and provided that the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated.”
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