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Is 5G safe? Your questions answered 

26 January 2021

5G is the latest mobile network that will give us faster speeds, better functionality and much more capacity. 

Every new mobile technology over the last 50 years has raised health concerns and fears. It’s important that the facts are explained so that the public are informed and not misled. Based on the latest scientific evidence and expert opinion, we’ll answer some of the key questions around 5G.

Is 5G a health risk?

All wireless technologies are rolled out under strict international and national government guidelines. The World Health Organisation, Public Health England and Ofcom have found no risks to health, and this is the strong consensus among experts. 

Ofcom has been carrying out radio frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements near mobile phone base stations for many years. These have consistently shown that levels are well within the internationally agreed levels published in the ICNIRP Guidelines.

5G utilises a group of radio waves previously used for services like TV and wireless broadband. In the UK, radio waves used for 5G are less powerful than the WiFi routers in most homes.

Can 5G spread coronavirus?

Viruses cannot travel on mobile networks so this is not possible. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.  

The UK government states there is no evidence of a link between 5G and coronavirus.

Does 5G harm wildlife?

There’s no evidence to suggest birds, bees or any other wildlife are affected by 5G radio waves.

What’s more, because we can add 5G to many of our existing sites instead of building new ones, there’s a lower impact on the environment.

Are some types of radio waves dangerous?

Ionizing radio waves – alpha particles, beta particles, gamma (nuclear) and x-rays – can be harmful because they can change the DNA in our cells. But the radio waves used for mobile networks and WiFi are non-ionizing, meaning they cannot penetrate cells and do not have the power to change cell structures. 

Can radio frequencies be harmful?

There’s a lot of misunderstanding around radio frequencies which has led to rumours that 5G is a millimetre wave (mmWave) technology. This simply isn’t true – mmWave technology is not currently used in the UK. 

In the UK, 5G networks use a spectrum in the 3.4-3.8GHz band, and at 700MHz, which is similar to digital television signals. Our network currently uses the 3.4GHz spectrum – close to our 4G, 3G and 2G services which operate between 800MHz and 2.6GHz.

You’re EE and you sell 5G phones, so aren’t you a bit biased?

We sell great 5G phones – however, we put the safety of our customers before anything else. If you’re still concerned, or just want to find out more, see:

Mobile UK – 5G and health

Ofcom – Exposure to magnetic fields

World Health Organisation – Radiation: 5G mobile networks and health

ICNIRP guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields

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