5G is expected to account for almost 20 per cent of connections in the Russia Federation by 2025 according to GSMA Intelligence. But, the rollout would be faster and cheaper, if the government adopted international safety guidelines for radio spectrum, according to a study released by GSMA.
The Russian Federal Government is rolling out its Digital Economy Programme 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.
However, two hurdles could hinder 5G deployment, the government approval process and rules for the placement and operation of transmitting radio facilities. The latter, combined with exposure limits for radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) that are significantly more restrictive than international guidelines but provide no additional health protection in the view of experts, could drive up operating costs by ten times.
In March 2020, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection updated its international safety guidelines for all frequencies used for mobile services. The guidelines, which took into consideration 20 years of additional health research, found no established health risks to anyone, including children, using mobile phones or living near base stations.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the essential role of high-speed connectivity to support the Russian economy, especially education, healthcare and, manufacturing,” said Daniel Pataki, Vice President, Policy and Regulation & Head of Europe, Russia and CIS, for the GSMA, a global trade body representing more than 750 mobile network operators globally. “The updated international safety guidelines were adopted this year by Poland and Lithuania, among others. Russia has a critical opportunity to spur growth if leaders enact reforms now.”
The deployment of 5G networks is essential to the future competitiveness of the Russia Federation, given their importance for economic and social development. Early adopters of 5G and associated technologies may then spur virtuous cycles as high levels of 5G adoption to attract developers and allow innovative new services and solutions to develop and scale.