News Feature | April 14, 2020

The Week in 5G: 4/14/2020 — 5G Conspiracy Theories Continue To Rile Up Cretins; Apple and RedMagic Tout New Phones

By Ed Biller


In news that should have been old last week — when more than 20 mobile phone towers across the UK were burned down (that number now exceeds 30) — alarmists posting clickbait online and grifters preying on the stupid continue to perpetuate the nonsensical theory that 5G is somehow linked to coronavirus.

The theory has added new momentum to a movement that accuses radiofrequency radiation of being physically harmful to “electrosensitive” individuals, despite a lack of any legitimate scientific evidence indicating as much.

The most dangerous new twist is physical and verbal abuse against operators. Chief Executive Philip Jansen, of UK carrier BT, wrote in an April 11, 2020, guest column for The Daily Mail’s The Mail on Sunday, “39 engineers have been verbally or physically assaulted – including threats to kill. These are Government-designated key workers, out – with no small risk to their own health – to ensure that broadband and mobile networks keep working. Without these engineers fixing faults, adding capacity, and installing new lines, people lose their connection.”

Further, in the past week, several cellular broadcasting towers in the Netherlands have met the same fate as those in the UK, being torched or otherwise sabotaged by vandals, reports Reuters, via Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. At least one similar act of vandalism has been reported in New Zealand, as well.

In a twist that would be funny were it not so tragic, many of the towers damaged by arson or wrapped in barbed wire do not even carry equipment to support 5G.

Nonetheless, as Jansen stated and RCR Wireless reiterates, these acts present a clear danger of “rendering critical infrastructure inoperable during a global pandemic, resulting in the loss of connectivity for those who desperately need it right now.”

Meanwhile, in technology news, Bloomberg reports that Apple intends roll out up to four iPhones this fall and has aspirations of embedding 5G capability into each.  

The report states two of the 5G phones will replace the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, “joined by two lower-end models to replace the iPhone 11,” adding that “at least the two high-end devices will have flat stainless steel edges instead of the current curved design as well as more sharply rounded corners like the iPad Pro.”

RedMagic, a sub-brand of ZTE sub-brand Nubia, has put its eggs into the gaming basket, making available for pre-order this week the first phone available able to buy with a 144 Hz screen. As a report by The Verge notes, 144 Hz is the standard refresh rate for high-end PC gaming monitors. The ReMagic 5G will be available for sale outright on April 21, 2020, in North America, Europe, and more.

The RedMagic 5G boasts 6.65-inch 1080p OLED panel, nixing the selfie camera cutout in favor of a smooth display. Its guts include “a Snapdragon 865, 5G support (obviously), up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of storage, Android 10 (with not-super-polished customizations), and a 4,500mAh battery that can be fast-charged at 55W — though no wireless charging, unfortunately,” The Verge reports, adding, “As well as liquid cooling, there’s a full-on turbo fan inside with a vent on the edge of the phone that pushes out a fair bit of air. It gets pretty loud, but you can switch it off if you don’t need it.”

In Beijing, China Unicom and Huawei have partnered on a “5G Indoor Distributed Massive MIMO” solution. A Huawei press release claims the solution applies 5G Massive MIMO technology to indoor networks to significantly grow 5G capacity.”

Also in China, smartphone manufacturer Oppo has announced its new 5G device, the Oppo Ace2, reports Phone Arena. A China-only launch is slated for April 20, 2020.

The phone’s features include “40-watt wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 865 processor paired with… up to 12 GB of RAM, and up to 256 GB of storage,” states the report, as well as “a 6.55-inch OLED screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate, certified with HDR 10+, and a hole-punch 14 MP selfie camera.”

In the U.S., FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly penned a groveling letter to President Donald Trump —pandering to the latter’s narcissism in citing his “extraordinary leadership” — asking the president to intervene in the FCC’s quest to pry mid-band spectrum from other federal agencies and departments.

“Every excuse, delay tactic, and political chit is used to prevent the repurposing of any spectrum.” O’Rielly wrote, claiming the agency will face “years of delays in refarming frequencies for 5G use,” according to a VentureBeat report.