The growing concern of technology consumers in Europe is reaching the board rooms of Telecomm Industry stakeholders – here is what they are hearing, and here is how they are interpreting it.
Dissent at Heart of Telecom Industry Undermines France’s 5G Rush
Bloomberg Business News ran this title for a recent article reporting that a quarrel has emerged inside France’s biggest telecommunication company, Orange, over whether to build a new generation of wireless networks, days before the industry is due to commit billions of euros to their 5G deployment in the country.
A group of employees of Orange SA called repeatedly for management to scrap the rollout of 5G services in memos circulated to colleagues on the Plazza social media platform.
The memos, issued in October 2019 and in May 2020, said the technology will be unprofitable and will damage the environment, according to the Bloomberg article (Sept 18 2020).
The internal discord reflects a growing anti-5G movement that began on social media and was adopted by the opposition Green party, which won control of several cities in local elections in June 2020.
It’s become the most consequential of several grass-roots campaigns opposing 5G technology in Europe, and has generated attention for issues other than the genuine 5G concerns, in attempts to dismiss the concerns.
The government has resisted calls to delay the auction of 5G frequencies set for Sept. 29 that will begin the national rollout. This week it published a report dismissing health concerns linked to 5G and in a speech on Sept. 14, President Emmanuel Macron portrayed 5G’s critics as hostile to progress.
Grassroots 5G Groups are Speaking Out, but What is being Heard?
Interestingly, the same week in the UK another business news service, Deloitte published an article advising Telecommunication companies to be aware that consumer concern over health implications, especially among younger users, is dampening the ardor and the adoption of 5G – illustrated in the Deloitte graph above.
The graph is intended to provide to industry stakeholders with an illustration, not of the number of concerned citizens, but rather the growing number of consumers who have been affected by misinformation.
The graph (in the header above) reflects the results of a survey of the responses of consumers who were asked this question:
Thinking about the rollout of 5G, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
‘I believe there are health risks associated with 5G’
The Deloitte article, which describes the 5G rollout slow down due to the Covid pandemic and other factors, draws these conclusions from the survey results:
“Concerns around health implications are a factor that may dampen demand for 5G. Fourteen per cent of respondents believe that there are health risks associated with 5G. The misperception of health risks is most acute among younger age groups: 18 per cent of 25-34 year olds and 16 per cent of 16-24 year olds believe there are health risks. Incidence among older age groups is far lower at 11 per cent among 55-64 year olds and 10 per cent among 65-75 year olds.”
The Deloitte article concludes by clearly advising Telecom industry stakeholders of the need to provide better marketing materials for consumers to clarify consumer ‘misconceptions’ and ‘volumes of misinformation’ (added italics for emphasis are mine), otherwise, adoption of 5G may well be slowed by worries about 5G’s health impacts.
Caveat Emptor. Consumer Beware. It would seem reasonable to expect that we as consumers will soon see an increase in reassuring feel-goods, including persuasive scientific data, to support industry claims of 5G’s safety. But, can we also expect the censorship of sources of “misconceptions” and “misinformation” (italics are mine) as well?
Read the entire Deloitte Article here: https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/digital-consumer-trends-5g.html