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Swisscom forges ahead with 5G amid safety fears

Some in Switzerland fear the health effects of increased radiation from 5G antennas. (Keystone)

Telecoms operator Swisscom says it plans to cover 90% of Switzerland with “5G” fifth-generation mobile communications by the end of this year.

“As soon as we have the concession for the new mobile frequencies, we will activate our networks,” Swisscom director Urs Schaeppi told the media on Wednesday. The networks were put in place in partnership with Swedish telecoms company Ericsson.

Swisscom will make the first 5G smartphone models available starting in May, including phones from Samsung and Huawei.

The announcement from Switzerland’s largest telecoms company comes as two Swiss cantons, Vaud and Neuchâtel, moved to suspend authorisations for new 5G mobile antennae, pending a government report on their safety.

5G is divisive in Switzerland. While some people say it’s indispensable for economic development, others are afraid of the increased radiation coming from the antennas. The result is that antenna construction projects are running into petitions, political interference and opposition.

Last week Swisscom competitor Sunrise launched its 5G service in 150 Swiss municipalities.

Fifth-generation wireless technology offers much faster data speeds for mobile communications than previous generations: up to 10 gigabits per second, which is fast enough to download a high-definition movie in seconds, and up to 100 times faster than current 4G technology.

Full story here
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