Is 5G spreading COVID-19? Everything you need to know about the next wireless network

A conspiracy theory doing the rounds since COVID-19 was first detected, would have you believe that 5G is responsible for spreading this deadly virus. Nothing could be further from the truth and as 5G starts to roll-out throughout Australia, it may be time for Australians to embrace faster internet speeds and better telecommunications infrastructure.

Conspiracies concerning 5G would have you believe that 5G emits so much radiation that it weakens the immune system and therefore makes people more vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks.

A group calling themselves Stop5G Australia has even claimed the Ruby Princess’s 600 reported infections and 11 deaths is due to cruise ships being “radiation saturated”.

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Stanley Shanapinda, Research Fellow at La Trobe University dismisses this saying, Maritime cruises have yet to implement 5G technology despite people’s ability to access wi-fi on these ships.

Without going into too much technical detail, while 3G and 4G use less radio frequency, 5G (g standing for gigahertz) does not emit enough radiation to penetrate skin, or allow a virus to penetrate skin.

Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy, who has done an excellent job in steering the ship during the current pandemic has also reassured the public that 5G is safe.

“The scientific evidence shows that wireless telecommunications, including 5G, do not weaken people’s immune systems and do not place us at higher risk of getting viruses such as COVID-19,” Professor Murphy said.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what 5G is and when it will be rolled out in Australia.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation technology standard for mobile networks.

The G in 5G refers to the generation of wireless technology, following on from 1G to 4G, being the previous iteration.

1G was analog cellular. 2G technologies provided the first generation of digital cellular technologies. 3G technologies brought speeds from 200kbps to a few megabits per second.

4G technologies began scaling up to hundreds of megabits and even gigabit-level speeds.

5G takes this even further. Offering bigger channels to speed up data (imagine being able to load up Netflix on your phone at speeds you’ve never encountered), lower latency for better responsivity and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once including all smart devices.

When is it being rolled out in Australia?

Last October Telstra’s stated aim was to roll out the 5G network to at least 35 cities by June 2020.

The company is tracking well ahead of schedule and has expanded the population footprint from 4 million potential customers to 8 million.

Its 5G network now has coverage in 46 different towns and cities including parts of Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast.

Telstra launched its 5G Wi-Fi Pro device on Tuesday 26 May. This will support 5G ‘millimetre wave’ (mmWave) spectrum services as they become available.

The mmWave spectrum can be used to deliver high speeds over the mobile network and develop fixed-line services. Interestingly, this can compete directly with the NBN.

The 5G Wi-Fi Pro device is able to support up to 30 Wi-Fi enabled devices as well as Wi-Fi 6 technology for better performance.

Further, this month Telstra became the first telecommunications company to roll out a 5G Standalone (5G SA) service. This means capable devices will be able to operate purely in 5G mode, without the support of underlying 4G technology.

Telstra has the largest range of 5G devices available in Australia, including the entire range of Galaxy S20 phones, Oppo’s Reno 5G and LG’s V50 ThinQ.

It also has a range of Broadband plans in which it is giving customers a free trial to its 5G network access in selected areas with 5G compatible devices until 30 June 2020.

You can compare Broadband plans with InfoChoice to see how much money you can save.

Not to be discounted, Optus is building out its next generation mobile network, with coverage available across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

Optus is focused on 5G home wireless broadband, a 5G-powered alternative to the NBN.

For just $70 per month you can receive unlimited data and a promise of speeds of at least 50Mbps.

Optus’ growing range of 5G smartphones include the range of Galaxy S20 phones, Galaxy A905G, Galaxy S105G and Galaxy Note10 +5G.

Finally, Vodafone switched its 5G network on in March. It lags behind the two major telcos with 5G only available in Parramatta, NSW. Vodafone intends to roll out to 650 sites around the country from the middle of the year. Its range of mobile phone products are limited to the Galaxy S20 suite of phones.

Telecommunications companies began rolling out 5G globally in 2019 as the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current mobile phones.


This update is not financial advice. This article is general news and information.

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