The GSMA urged Russia to readjust its safety guidelines for radio spectrum, or risk hindering the rollout of 5G and potential gains to the economy through adopting new technologies.
In a statement, the trade body said 5G deployment would be “faster and cheaper” if the government adhered to international safety guidelines for radio spectrum.
Two “hurdles” were highlighted by the GSMA that could “hinder” the rollout of 5G: government approval process, and rules for the placement and operation of transmitting radio facilities.
Russia’s guidelines for exposure limits for radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs), were noted as “significantly more restrictive than international guidelines”, however “they provide no additional health protection in the view of experts, could drive up operating costs by ten times.”
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection announced there were no health risks people using mobile phones or living near base stations, in an update to its guidelines in March.
The GSMA predicted 5G will account for 20% of connections in Russia by 2025, citing GSMA Intelligence.
The Russian government is currently rolling out its Digital Economy Programme, laying the foundations to creating a digital ecosystem and spur the use of IoT, with 5G being the backbone of these technologies.
“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, GSMA VP of Policy and Regulation and Head of Europe, Russia and CIS.
“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.”