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Telecommunications Industry Launches New 5G Facts Website

Only a quarter of New Zealanders feel they know a reasonable amount about 5G mobile technology, and 86% would like easier ways to learn more factual information, according to a new consumer survey published today.

The nationwide survey of 1000 New Zealanders was commissioned by the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF), the industry body which represents the majority of New Zealand telecommunications providers.

As a response to the survey findings, the TCF has launched today a new website, www.5gfacts.org.nz, which aims to be a “one-stop shop” on 5G information with easy links to reputable expert sources in New Zealand and overseas.

“The research has shown what we have long suspected: many New Zealanders are confused or unsure about 5G and what it may mean for them. That’s perhaps not surprising given there’s so much varying and confusing information out there,” commented TCF Chief Executive Geoff Thorn.

“The good news is the research also indicates most people are keen to learn more and they want easier ways to get reliable information. It also shows the vast majority recognise it’s important for New Zealanders to have access to the best mobile networks.”

Only 23% of those surveyed were confident in their 5G knowledge, with 40% saying they knew “a little bit” and 36% saying they knew nothing about it. Compared with existing mobile technology, 60% think 5G is about as safe as what we currently have with 3G and 4G, while 15% think it’s less safe and 13% think it’s safer.

Other key findings from the consumer research include:

  • The vast majority of respondents (91%) own a mobile smartphone that they connect to the internet, while 8% only use a mobile phone for calling and texting.
  • 85% think it will be important for New Zealanders to have access to even better, faster mobile data networks in the next few years, and a similar percentage (86%) think it’s important for them personally to have fast, reliable access via their smartphone. 70% agreed that 5G will help improve the quality and speed of existing mobile data services.
  • When asked if they would like easier ways to learn factual information about 5G that they can trust, a combined 86% said that would be a big help or might be useful.
  • The most trusted sources of information about 5G were ‘Independent scientists or industry experts’ and ‘NZ Government authorities (e.g. health or science-based agencies)’ (both 31%). ‘Telecommunications industry’ ranked next at 16%. However, only 25% of respondents were aware of the advice about 5G published last year by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.
  • About half (53%) agreed they were comfortable that 5G is safe “as it is simply a more advanced use of radio technology”, with 36% neutral or unsure, and 12% disagreeing with the statement that 5G is safe.

“There are lots of claims made about 5G, especially on the Internet and social media, and it’s often hard to separate fact from fiction,” said Thorn. “If you want to learn more about 5G, we strongly encourage you to use respected sources of information from science and health experts. So, we’ve made www.5gfacts.org.nz as a “one-stop shop” where you can get basic information and easily link to reputable expert sources.”

5G information that can be accessed via links on the 5G Facts website include the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The 5G consumer survey was conducted online by UMR, involving a nationally representative sample of 1,000 New Zealanders aged 18+. Fieldwork was conducted from August 13 to August 19, 2020.

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