The Kenya ICT Action Network this week hosted an interactive webinar focused on debunking myths spread on social media on perceived dangers of 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology.
Moderated by Ali Hussein, the Kipochi chief executive officer, the expert panel emphasized that the perception 5G is any way linked to Covid-19 is false and baseless.
The panel outlined the multiple digital opportunities offered by the new technology in the era of Covid-19 on industry, particularly, in the health care sector, while outlining the 5G’s basic terminologies, innovation and industry standards.
National Communications Secretary CEO Daniel Obam, a spectrum expert, dismissed some of the myths about 5G technology.
“The World Health Organization has conclusive evidence that mobile phones do not cause any harm; 5G uses non-ionizing radiation that is not dangerous. The radio waves from 5G are tiny and they are nowhere strong enough to affect the immune system. They are less powerful even than visible light,” Obam said.
Representatives from Huawei, the global leader in 5G, made a presentation on how the 5G enabled digital world will transform the digital economy and lifestyles from connected cars and factory automation to smart grids.
John Walubengo, a lecturer at the Multimedia University in Nairobi, spoke about the concept of 5G.
“As a user you will experience better download and upload speeds. In terms of smart meters, instead of sending individuals to come to your house to read a meter, millions of smart meters can report back to the central network on their own,” Dr. Walubengo explained.
Huawei shared suggestions for governments’ 5G roadmaps, which start with making more contiguous spectrum available in a timely manner, and also focuses on joint innovation with industry and government.
“Many countries have developed 5G national strategies. Indeed, it is becoming a cornerstone of national development strategies. The contributions estimated by different countries are quite staggering and some countries have even analyzed how much greater the benefits would be from a quick roll-out compared to a slow roll-out,” Huawei’s Kenya Deputy CEO Adam Lane said.
Further, Huawei Southern Africa’s Senior Director of Innovation and ICT strategies, Dr. Bello Moussa, elaborated on the myriad opportunities 5G presents for homes and businesses.
Dr. Moussa said that 5G provides opportunities for fiber-like speeds, which can be handy within hospitals, particularly during COVID-19, when you don’t want human contact, as well as various industries such as tourism and ports.
He gave examples in tourism industry of where hotels will be able to use 5G to ensure every room has high-speed Wi-Fi without needing cables going to each room, how live-streaming, virtual reality and augmented reality applications can help generate new revenue for tourist attractions and could even be tried during COVID-19 with tourists participating virtually.
In the ports, transport and logistics industry which is also critical to the Kenyan economy, 5G will mean more efficiency in checking consignments using cameras, sensors and scanners, Dr. Moussa said.
Besides, 5G can enable the moving of consignments around safely with self-driving vehicles and improving collaboration with vehicles, workers and the different government agencies involved.
“Huawei is a global leader in deploying 5G networks for mobile communication companies,” said Dr. Moussa.
On her part, Communications Authority of Kenya’s acting Manager for Frequency Planning, Ann Kinyanjui, gave an overview of the regulatory perspectives on 5G, noting that CA is looking at different licensing methodologies, the amount of bandwidth to be offered to operators and frequency spectrum allocations.
Ms. Kinyanjui reiterated that CA will continue participating in future 5G studies and work with relevant stakeholders to develop strategies that will be benefit Kenya.
As we fight a global common adversary in the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, to survive and prosper, we must change the way we live, study and work, the technology experts unanimously agreed.
In Kenya, we are moving towards e-learning, online shopping and business through videoconferencing as demonstrated by the webinar.
The webinar recording can be viewed on YouTube at: