The COVID-19 pandemic has been a true stress test for networks and communications systems, which have been under great pressure on account of higher consumption and growing needs. This has led to rapid and radical changes and has also sped up the digitisation of many human activities, in both the economic and social domains, prompting a quantitative leap in the adoption of digital technology, which is here to stay. The faster pace of digital transformation brought about by the pandemic will enhance the role of 5G in a post-COVID world. 5G mobile networks are the first to be designed to connect people and machines en masse, thereby offering a great opportunity for digitising a world recovering from the global pandemic.
Three years ago, Evoca – a communication agency founded in 2004, specialising in telecommunications and media – launched a new collection of publications entitled Technology Booklets [Cuadernos de Tecnología], with contributions from specialists in each field, aimed at disseminating the latest developments in the technology and telecommunications sector. And we chose “The impact of 5G” as the first report in the collection because of its economic significance and disruptive nature. 5G heralds a true revolution, on the back of its major technological improvements, and opens up a world of opportunity to operators, all economic and industrial sectors and all areas of society. 5G will exert a transformative force on the fabric of industry and services, and will become a key factor in competitiveness and technological progress, while helping to modernise society.
Three years later and in the middle of a pandemic, we are publishing another Booklet putting 5G in the spotlight: “5G today: reality and myths”. This publication, like the previous one, is the outcome of cooperation between experts and specialists in various fields of knowledge and business: health, spatial planning, public administration, fact-checking, etc. with a view to analysing and explaining the reality of 5G and what myths still persist today around this new technology and its full implementation. And it has been possible thanks to the involvement of Cellnex Telecom, which has supported both initiatives.
These myths include: low demand for advanced services on the new system, theories about alleged harmful effects on health, doubts about its viability owing to the high investment required to roll out 5G-related infrastructure, and the hoaxes that have accompanied the fifth generation of mobile telephony since before its appearance.
To address all these issues, a group of professionals who are leaders in their fields of responsibility contribute to the 92 pages of the Booklet. They include Maite Arcos who, at the time of writing her article, was Director-General of Telecommunications and Organisation of Audiovisual Communication Services, head of the government department responsible for implementing 5G in Spain; Marta Balenciaga Arrieta, Dean and President of the School of Telecommunications Engineering (COIT); journalists who are experts in the field, Ignacio del Castillo and Emilia Pérez, who have been covering the news in telecommunications for many years and who in their articles write about the international and domestic situation of 5G, respectively. Lluis Anglada, Director of the Regional Innovation and Development Unit of the Institut Cerdà, contributes analyses of the deployment of infrastructure and the debate on sustainability. And, analysing the hoaxes about 5G and the alleged health issues, we have Laura Chaparro, from Maldita.es, one of the most renowned fact-checkers in Spain, and Francisco Vargas, Scientific Director of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Radio Frequencies and Health (CCARS).
To illustrate the reality of the 5G situation, the Booklet reviews the current scenario around the world, with a focus on the open conflict between the United States and China for global technological supremacy, and the European Union’s efforts to stay in that race. Regarding the scenario in Spain, we detail the current state of plans to promote 5G and progress on implementing them, together with a selection of the initiatives by the industry and government regarding pilot projects, with a view to analysing the behaviour and operation of the new technology and demonstrating its applications. Many companies from various production sectors, all of them affected by the emergence of 5G, have taken part in these initiatives.
The various chapters of the Booklet also include a set of sectoral graphs, maps and tables containing full data to help explain and understand the reality of 5G today, in line with the overall aims of the Booklet.
Julio Cerezo Gilarranz
Managing Director, Evoca Comunicación e Imagen
Coordinator of the Booklet “5G today: reality and myths”