There’s been a lot of excitement recently about 5G, and Telstra is leading the charge in Australia. Last month, we turned on 5G-enabled sites in Adelaide, Canberra and Perth, taking our number of 5G-enabled sites to 50 around Australia. The rollout of this new technology has led to a lot of questions about the implications of 5G on everything from the Internet of Things to electromagnetic energy (EME).

To help answer any questions you, your friends, or family have about 5G and electromagnetic energy (or EME) and safety, we’ve created some new resources after extensive industry consultation and collaboration.

Earlier this year, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) launched a new resource at the 2018 CommsDay summit in Sydney: 5G Explained. This website explains how 5G will work with our existing 4G networks, some of its advantages, and the new network architecture – including where antennas may be placed.

The Networks team worked on the year-long project to create 5G Explained to help us understand what 5G is and the implications of 5G on EME levels and what this means in terms of safety. We collaborated with global industry associations the GSMA and Mobile & Wireless Forum, operators, vendors and technology standards organisations to develop a resource that’s available to everyone and easily accessed online.

Understanding 5G and EME

Image: EMF Explained
We’ve also added a new page to our existing EME advice to explain what 5G is, and how it’s different to other technologies. One of our biggest challenges in developing these materials was sifting through the enormous volume of information, marketing, and news on 5G to get to the heart of how it actually works. Our next step was to explain it in a way people will understand.

Talking to our communities and stakeholders about mobile technology is a fundamental aspect of our work, so being able to explain simply what 5G is and how it works is the key to many conversations. 5G Explained includes simple and informative graphics to show people how 5G will relate to their everyday lives.

AMTA’s CEO Chris Althaus, who launched the new resource with us earlier this year, said that “with 5G literally on our doorstep now, and set to revolutionise mobile connectivity, educational resources like this will certainly help with 5G conversations.”

Our recent testing on the 5G trial network on the Gold Coast has shown that the environmental EME levels from all mobile technologies including 5G, is significantly below the limits set out in the EME safety standards. The 5G EME levels were similar to the existing 3G and 4G levels, however the new 5G technology is more efficient and has greater capacity, and can carry more data at significantly faster speeds.

All of our base stations, including the 5G base stations, are designed to ensure they comply with the stringent EME safety standards, and we publish the compliance certificates and EME reports for each base station on the Radiofrequency National Site Archive.