MTN on the misinformation on COVID-19 and 5G

In a statement published today, MTN aims to rise awareness of the fact that there is no reliable scientific evidence of any link between 5G and COVID-19.

Since COVID-19 started to spread throughout the world in early 2020, social media has been abuzz with speculation linking 5G technology to the pandemic. However, scientists and health experts across the globe have discredited this as misinformation spread by people seeking to make sense of a virus over which they feel they have little control.

The statement comes after a recent attack on Vodacom and MTN towers, that have been burnt by alleged 5G conspiracy theorists

MTN states, that it continues to prioritise the resilience and capacity of its networks, which provide the telecoms services that are vital in the fight against the novel coronavirus as well as the connectivity that customers need to remain economically active despite renewed lockdown restrictions in many markets.

In recent years, 5G mobile technology has undergone extensive research, with numerous studies finding that it has no negative impact on the environment nor people. This fact has been confirmed by leading global experts, independent professional groups and public health agencies, including the World Health Organization.

The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) says there is no scientific basis for the statements that link 5G to COVID-19. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) says that claims that exposure to the electromagnetic fields generated by 5G devices can cause COVID-19 are “not supported by any evidence”.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says that there is no correlation between 5G and COVID-19, adding: “5G is an advancement on today’s 4G technology, designed to transform the world positively”. MTN Nigeria Chairman Ernest Ndukwe has also added his voice to efforts to debunk the misinformation (Read more).

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has condemned theories linking 5G to COVID-19, saying: “The Authority would like to urge all South Africans not to be swayed by these conspiracy theories that are hell-bent on bringing instability and fear”.

University of Johannesburg Vice Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala has also added his voice, saying: “There is no causal connection between 5G technology and any biological virus, including COVID-19” and that 5G will positively and fundamentally transform communication (Read more).

The GSMA mobile industry organisation has condemned acts of arson against mobile phone masts, calling on internet giants, content providers and social media platforms to accelerate their efforts to “remove fake news linking 5G to the spread of COVID-19”.

MTN continues to act to address the challenges brought on by the disruption to economic activity and the restrictions on people’s movements that have accompanied the spread of COVID-19. We continue to prioritise people, customers and communities, as well as looking after our network and our business.

MTN says that it will remain driven to deliver on its belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The rollout of 5G into the future is key to MTN’s work to bring more people into the digital world and allow Africa to reap the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as the technology offers extensive network capacity; ultra-high-speed mobile connectivity; ultra-low latency as well as massive Internet-of-Things capabilities.

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