June 30, 2020 / 4:57 PM / 11 days ago

EU sets out rules for 5G small antennas in boost for data capacity

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission on Tuesday took another step towards accelerating up the rollout of high speed 5G across the European Union by adopting rules for small antennas, which are key to expanding data capacity and coverage.

The 27-country bloc is looking to 5G wireless technology to help it to bounce back from the coronavirus crisis and compete more effectively with the United States and China.

Small antennas are seen as the last mile of 5G networks and of key importance for urban areas, transport systems and manufacturing plants as they can carry higher data volumes and are closer to customers. They are also more cost effective than big towers.

“5G wireless networks represent a pillar of socio-economic development for Europe as they will enable new services in health and care, energy, transport, education and many other areas,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton said.

The new rules set out the physical and technical characteristics of small cells for 5G networks, which are exempted from individual town planning permits or other individual prior permits.

The regulation also sets strict exposure limits to minimise health effects, limits on the size and power of the small antennas, and also specifications on their appearance to make them less visible.

Fake claims about 5G has resulted in the torching of more than 140 mobile phone masts in 10 European countries and attacks on scores of maintenance workers, telecoms lobbying group ETNO said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by Jane Merriman

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