Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (NIEEE) has weighed in on the controversy that next-generation telephone networks, popularly known as 5G technology may be harmful to human beings.
Mr Kings Adeyemi, national chairman of the institute, in a statement, said that the frequency that drives speed in technology, as well as the technicalities behind 5G operations, can never pose hazards to human health.
He said that the institute would continue to support the government and other stakeholders to ensure that the right decision was adopted to ensure smooth 5G mobile technology deployment.
Adeyemi said that Nigeria was lagging behind in its transition to 5G mobile network which, according to him, drives both telecommunication and internet connectivity speeds.
He called for increased investments in 5G network, which according to him is expected to be launched by 2030.
“The rollout of 5G networks is still at infancy stage globally. There is no 5G deployment in Nigeria as at this time.
“According to the GSM Association (GSMA), 4G network coverage in Nigeria is still below the average line, while the 3G network is far below full nationwide coverage.
“To enjoy 4G services, you need 4G network coverage, 4G compatible phone and 4G SIM for SIM-enabled devices, including your mobile phones.
“NIEEE will continue to advise government and organisations and educate the public on matters within the jurisdiction of the electrical and electronic engineering profession. 5G will co-exist with predecessor generation networks.
“Kindly note that this publication is not intended to contend against existing procedures and regulatory instruments (local or international) but as insights to the concerned stakeholders,” he said.
Adeyemi identified concerns around the evolution of 5G network, noting that by NIEEE’s professional training, safety was of the highest priority to all electrical engineers.
“Mobile telecommunication is based on radio wave propagation, which is similar to other commonly known forms of radio communication such as broadcast radio and television.”
He explained that the systems operate in designated frequency bands within the electromagnetic spectrum and that every new generation mobile networks (G) had its delights and scepticisms.
The chairman said that evolution of every stage, spanned 10 and that 5G was a product of 10 years of research, planning, testing and fine-tuning.
“It is obvious that 5G is not just about human communication only but machine/devices communications and interactions with applications.
”It, therefore, means that 5G will usher in the interconnection of people, things and applications with little or no human intervention.
“In as much as the set goals are laudable and novel, the first concern is for researchers to identify the technologies that can bring these goals into reality.
“The six fundamental technologies that we can address are millimetre wave; small cell or mini base station and plenty or massive Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO).
“Others are advanced beamforming; Non-Orthogonal Multiple Access (NOMA) and Mobile Edge Computing. These technologies are not new,’’ he said.
MIMO is a method of multiplying the capacity of radio links using multiple transmissions and receiving antennas to achieve multipath broadcast.
NOMA, on the other hand, is a design technique used for radio wave access for 5G wireless networks and beyond usually designed to serve multiple users and computer applications.
Adeyemi explained further that wireless communications operated within certain calibrated frequencies with 5G services falling into three sub-bands affected by low power and short coverage should not generate fears.
“Natural behaviour of radio waves obeys Newton’s inverse-square law of electromagnetic propagation, meaning that each time the distance from the transmitter is doubled, the received power at that point is reduced to one-fourth of the power at the transmitter.
“Some say high speed kills, this does not apply to high data speed. World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
“Staying alive and in good health have become major concerns of all. Electromotive Force (EMF) from the 5G network cannot transmit the virus.
“International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) made it clear that exposure to EMF generated by 5G network can neither cause virus nor its severity.
“It also made it clear that the anti-5G claims on the basis of EMF lacked evidence. After all, there are many countries without live 5G network yet recorded high death rate as a result of COVID-19.’’
Adeyemi noted that there was no significant difference in the frequencies used for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G because the 5G could operate on all earlier network frequencies.
According to him, the focus should be on the frequency and the power, rather than the technology as international standards are the main pillars of mobile telecommunications.
NIEEE has 28 national chapters with three sub-divisions of electrical engineering fields in Power Engineering, Telecoms and ICT as well as Instrumentation and Control Sections.