The European Commission (EC) adopted regulation on small antennas as a step towards advancing the deployment of 5G networks, and enhancing data capacity and coverage across the European Union (EU).

In a statement, the EC explained it specified the physical and technical characteristics of 5G small cells, which will be exempted from any individual planning permission requirements.

The regulations state antennas must either be “invisible or mounted in a non-obstructive way onto their supporting structure” and produce less electromagnetic emissions than a Wi-Fi installation.

Small cells for 5G are set to use less power than current 4G infrastructure, which the EC said should help ensure the lower exposure limits. It said this will be “well below the strict EU exposure limits, which, for the general public, are 50-times lower than what international scientific evidence would suggest as having any potential effect on health”.

Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton emphasised 5G networks are “a pillar of socio-economic development for Europe”, enabling new services in healthcare, energy, transport and education among others.

He added the networks would play a “key role” in Covid-19 (coronavirus) recovery efforts and urged EU nations to encourage 5G deployments to boost innovation and competitiveness.