The latest Bikom survey deals with the acceptance of 5G cell towers by Germans. The 5th generation of mobile communications (5G) not only provides high speeds and low delays with regard to data transmission. New frequencies and an enormous upgrade of the transmission towers are planned as well. No need to worry, network operators assure the public. They are already advertising the new technology. Smartphone manufacturers intend to release devices compatible with the new standard later this year. What do users think about the topic? After all, numerous scientific studies have documented health risks from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation mobile communications and have already taken a critical view of 5G. Indeed, they have even warned against expansion. According to the Bitkom survey of 5G cell towers published on 20 April 2020, Germans are concerned about the topic. We’ll give you an overview of the most significant survey results.
The German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media e.V., Bitkom for short, was founded in Berlin in 1999. Bitkom is the digital association of the German telecommunications and information industry. The aim of the association is the digitalization of economy, society and administration. At this time, Bitkom represents more than 2,700 companies in the digital economy. The Bitkom Group also includes the Bitkom Servicegesellschaft mbH (BSG) and the Bitkom Research GmbH.
Bitkom survey on the acceptance of 5G cell towers, April 2020
The starting point
The Bitkom survey on the use of smartphones and mobile communications published on 20 February 2020 shows the following: consumers are reluctant to use the new technology. As such, when purchasing new smartphones, factors such as robustness and endurance are more important than compatibility with 5G. The willingness to pay for 5G tariffs also remains low. What are the reasons for this user behavior? Bitkom investigates this question in the following survey published in April 2020.
The basis of the Bitkom study
The information is based on a survey commissioned by Bitkom Research and conducted by the digital association Bitkom. 1,006 persons aged 16 years and older who were interviewed by phone render the survey representative.
86 % of Germans aged 16 years and older use a mobile phone or a smartphone. Currently, about 143 million SIM cards are activated. That is an average of 1.7 cards per inhabitant.
Nonetheless, the population is divided when it comes to the construction of further masts:
- 48 % are in favor of building new masts.
- Another 48 % are against it.
Many are concerned about their health:
- 45 % are afraid of electromagnetic fields emitted from radio masts.
- 27 % are concerned about devices such as microwaves.
- 24 % are concerned about electrical installations in the home.
- Only 12% are afraid of security gates at airports.
- Only 18 % are generally not afraid of electromagnetic radiation.
The question of how the subject is dealt with also shows that the Germans are concerned:
- In the survey, 46 % stated that they had already dealt with electromagnetic radiation.
- 22 % mentioned having done intensive research.
- 28 % have not yet dealt with the subject.
Mobile phone companies often encounter resistance when working on network expansion. This is also reflected in the survey results:
- 43 % want to start a citizens´ protest if radio masts are installed in their immediate vicinity.
- 42 % state that they want to move out of their apartment if the landlord will attach a radio antenna to their house.
- 22 % are in favor of mobile phone network expansion but do not want to see a radio mast near their flat or property.
- 33 % are willing to make part of the property (house /property) available for mobile phone network expansion.
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- Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Institute for System Research of the Information, Communication and Media Technology: 5G. NRW Competence Center: For discussion: lack of acceptance of mobile phone masts. Wuppertal, Germany, 2020. https://5g.nrw/bitkom-fehlende-akzeptanz-von-mobilfunkmasten/
- Bitkom e.V.: Bitkom presents study on the acceptance of mobile phone masts. Berlin, Germany, 2020. https://www.bitkom.org/Presse/Presseinformation/Studie-zur-Akzeptanz-von-Mobilfunkmasten
- Bitkom e.V.: Smartphone market grows to 36 billion Euro. Berlin, Germany, 2020. https://www.bitkom.org/Presse/Presseinformation/Markt-rund-um-Smartphones-waechst-auf-36-Milliarden-Euro
- Bitkom e.V.: About us. Berlin, Germany, 2020. https://www.bitkom.org/Bitkom/Ueber-uns
- Handelsblatt GmbH: Shatterproof glass preferred over 5G when purchasing a smartphone: consumers are hesitant when it comes to the new technology. Düsseldorf, Germany, 2020. https://www.handelsblatt.com/technik/it-internet/bitkom-umfrage-lieber-bruchfreies-glas-als-5g-beim-smartphone-verbraucher-zoegern-bei-neuer-technik-/25565622.html?ticket=ST-499631-NSevHa27KV0JgfaH2m5M-ap6
- Konradi-Verlag Robert Kohlhammer GmbH: Citizens are afraid of electromagnetic radiation. Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany, 2020. https://industrie.de/5g-mobilfunkstandard/buerger-fuerchten-sich-vor-elektromagnetischer-strahlung/