Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.28 13 Aug 2019


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Commercial 5G is being launched in Ireland for the first time.

5G is capable of much faster downloads than 4G and 3G technology and can manage larger volumes of data.

Vodafone has become the first mobile operator to introduce a 5G network, which is going live in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford today.

The company says it will provide faster internet speeds and will have a huge impact on technology use in nearly every industry - including artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.

Vodafone is also launching a strategic partnership with University College Cork (UCC) to create the world's first 5G connected telemedicine and medical robotics training centre.

It will allow researchers to test new technologies, such as wearable tech that will allow doctors more immediately connect with patients remotely.

Professor Barry O’Reilly, director of ASSERT at UCC, observed: "From advanced wearable technologies that will facilitate the care of patients at home, to immediate connectivity of new diagnostic technologies like handheld smartphone connected ultrasound between point of care and hospital specialists at for example a road traffic accident and an emergency department, to remote robotic surgery. "

5G tech

Some people have raised concerns about potential health impact of 5G, while others have dismissed such fears as baseless.

A 2018 statement by the European Commission's Scientific Committee (SCHEER) noted that "studies have not yielded clear evidence of the impact on mammals, birds or insects" - with scientists remaining inconclusive on any potential long-term impacts.

Anne O’Leary - CEO of Vodafone Ireland - today stressed there's no evidence to support the concerns over possible impacts on health.

She explained: "We work with the World Health Organisation and all the international health organisations... and there is no evidence of any adverse effects to health because of electromagnetic technology, which is mobile technology.

"We keep close to that, and we abide by all the standards and all the rules. It's really just an evolution from 2G to 3G to 4G to 5G."

Vodafone says customers will need a 5G ready plan, 5G coverage and a 5G phone in order to connect to the new network.

The company will be selling Huawei Mate 20X 5G phones from tomorrow, while the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be available by the end of the month.

Main image: Photo taken on July 26, 2019 shows a 5G mobile phone Huawei Mate 20 X (5G) showing its downloading speed. Picture by: Mao Siqian/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

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