Mast attacks cost UK operators 170,000 hours - Mobile World Live

Mast attacks cost UK operators 170,000 hours

17 DEC 2020

UK regulator Ofcom revealed 159 operator masts were attacked so far in 2020 as a result of Covid-19 (coronavirus)-related and general anti-5G conspiracy theories, causing base station downtime adding-up to 170,000 hours.

In its annual Connected Nations report assessing the state of the country’s mobile and fixed networks, the authority revealed the scale of vandalism to mobile infrastructure in 2020 attributed to baseless claims.

“Over this year, a number of unsubstantiated claims [related to the pandemic] have circulated, often through social media,” it noted. “Prior to this, there were also false claims that the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) emissions of 5G base stations posed an increased risk to people’s health.”

As the pandemic took hold, there were reports from the UK and a number of other countries of vandals taking down or setting fire to infrastructure apparently inspired by conspiracy theories linking 5G to Covid-19.

Elsewhere in the report, Ofcom said the UK’s fixed and mobile networks had remained resilient during the pandemic. Fibre and 5G rollouts also continued apace despite the challenging circumstances.

By the end of 2020, it expects around 3,000 mobile sites to be transmitting 5G signals across the market’s four operators, around ten-times more than at the end of 2019.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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