In Nepal, a false story about 5G, the fifth generation of wireless telephony, is making the rounds on social media. According to the claim, which is accompanied by images of anti-5G protests, Nepal has fewer Covid-19 cases because it has not implemented 5G technology; the pandemic is spreading in India as a result of 5G radiation, and death rates are high in states where the technology has been implemented.
On May 9, Ohm Lama, a Pokhara-based photographer and DJ, posted the post and images on Facebook. More than 4,500 people have shared his message.
The following is an excerpt from the post:
“Because Nepal has yet to introduce 5G, there are fewer Covid cases here. Even the existing Covid cases in the United States were caused by 5G radiation in India. Wherever 5G services have been launched in India, death rates have been increasing. 5G research is currently taking place in Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Karnataka, for example. People in the region have reported a variety of symptoms, including burning sensations and redness in the eyes, dry throat, extreme thirst, breathing problems, and so on.”
The same information was posted on Facebook here, here, and here. Photographs of anti-5G demonstrations in London and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, are included in the claim.
Similar allegations went viral last year in a number of European countries, including the United Kingdom. Such statements have also been fact-checked by India’s Alt News and Factly.
South Asia Check has now checked the false story that is currently making the rounds in Nepal.
5G is the most advanced cell phone technology. The fifth-generation technology would fundamentally alter how people interact with the internet in their daily lives. According to Madhu Sudan Dahal, a senior telecommunications engineer at Nepal Telecom, 4G service is currently available in Nepal, while 5G is currently being tested. According to Dahal, 5G is a more mature technology than 4G. According to him, telecom companies must update and upgrade hardware (such as antennas) and software in order to operate 5G.
Although cell phones do transmit electromagnetic waves, various studies have shown that they are healthy, according to the telecom engineer. “The fact that both the electromagnetic waves produced by a cell phone and the coronavirus are invisible could have misled people,” he says. “Electromagnetic waves are harmless.”
“When we talk on a cell phone, our voice is picked up by the nearest tower through waves,” he explains how the frequency of mobile telephony works. It then hits the telephone service provider’s server, which forwards it to the individual we’re calling’s nearest tower. My voice is transmitted by the tower with the strongest signal.”
Experts say that in order to deliver high-speed internet through 5G, telecom service providers must attach a large number of small cell sites to poles, walls, or towers (as opposed to previous networks, which used massive towers).
In India, telecom companies such as Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have tested 5G technology in a number of cities, but the service is yet to be made available to customers. Although it is true that Covid-19 cases have increased in the Indian states listed in the Facebook post, the argument that 5G technology is being tested in those states is incorrect.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a fact sheet released last year that the coronavirus does not propagate across 5G mobile networks. “Viruses are unable to spread over radio waves or via mobile networks. Covid-19 is expanding in many countries without 5G mobile networks, according to the WHO.
According to Dahal, the telecom engineer, before the launch of 5G in the UK last year, the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which is active in developing the 5G infrastructure, was accused of spying on mobile users, so this time some people could have used the coronavirus to spread rumors about the 5G technology. “People were concerned that the government could use the technology to spy on its citizens,” he says.