Adopting International RF-EMF Exposure Guidelines: Benefits for 5G Network Deployment in Russia
The Russia Federation expects commercial 5G networks in 10 cities with more than 1 million people by the end of next year, but the rollout could be faster and cheaper if the government adopts updated international safety guidelines for radio spectrum, according to a new GSMA study.
5G, the next generation of communications technology, is expected to account for almost 20% of connections in the Russia Federation by 2025. Those gains will come on top of expanded 4G networks, which are expected to cover two-thirds of the population by 2023.
The Russian Federal Government is executing on its Digital Economy Program of 2017 to create a digital ecosystem and embrace the full potential of the Internet of Things. 5G will be the backbone of this infrastructure with its much faster mobile broadband speeds and greater data usage than previous generations of technology.
However, two hurdles could hinder 5G deployment: the government approval process and rules for the placement and operation of transmitting radio facilities combined with restrictive exposure limits for radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs).
Both are legacies from the former Soviet Union and differ substantially from international guidelines and technical standards. In particular, the RF-EMF limits are significantly more restrictive yet in the view of international experts do not provide additional health protection.
Moreover, operating costs to deploy 5G under current conditions would be 10-times higher than if the updated international safety guidelines were adopted. Telecom operators also would need to install between three- to five-times more base stations, according to the study.
In March 2020, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) updated its international safety guidelines for all frequencies used for mobile services. The guidelines, which took into consideration 20 additional of health research, found no established health risks to anyone, including children, using mobile phones or living near base stations.