Cyprus takes step closer to 5G rollout

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Cyprus is taking a step nearer the digital age as it moves forward with a tender for the country’s 5G network platforms with permits expected to be approved before the year’s end.

The junior innovation ministry announced on Tuesday it will soon launch a tender with a mandate to roll out 5G by 2025 with up to 70% of the population having coverage and the highways.

The permit process, which is overseen by the Department of Electronic Communications, is a legal requirement for all EU member states, specifies the tender will grant licences between the frequency spectrum available on the 700 MHz and 3.6 GHz bandwidths.

According to the Deputy Ministry of Research and Innovation, the public tender for 5G will be formally announced later in July offering a 20-year license to develop and operate 5G networks.

The licensing of radio frequencies for 5G networks is a legal obligation of all EU members, which should be carried out within 2020.

“5G networks are part of a revolutionary technology expected to play a central role in enhancing the EU’s competitiveness in the global market, accelerating digital transformation and promoting green growth,” a ministry statement said.

The announcement said that 5G will affect practically every aspect of our daily lives while offering opportunities for society in key areas such as energy, health, agriculture, industry, and transport.

“Offering higher speeds but also more reliable connections, 5G networks enable the connection of billions of objects and systems in critical areas, and support process transformation across all sectors of the economy, providing affordable, flexible, interactive, reliable and highly reliable services to improve the quality of life of every citizen.”

Self-driving vehicles, industrial robotics, telemedicine, smart cities, and the Internet of Things are just a few of the many examples of devices, industries, and applications that can connect and operate seamlessly using 5G technology.

The announcement comes in the wake of several attacks on mobile phone antennas on the island with authorities and telecom companies vowing to take action to protect public assets.

In what is believed to be linked to COVID-19 and 5G conspiracy theories, a number of mobile telecom installations were set alight by arsonists recently.

On concerns about negative effects of 5G networks on health and the environment, the deputy ministry said scientific research showed no evidence of harmful effects on human health when the transmission is within limits, such as those designated by the International Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

These recommendations have been adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU, as well as the Cyprus Health Ministry.

The ministry said Cyprus will be applying further restrictions on installations than those recommended by the ICNIRP.

Cyprus’ call for tenders comes amid controversy about 5G security, following reports from the United Kingdom that the British government was seeking ways to exclude Chinese companies, such as Huawei from 5G networks.

Washington and London are looking to exclude Chinese companies from having any role in setting up 5G networks due to security concerns.

However, experts have said decisions to ban Chinese companies, including Huawei, would be as much about geopolitics and domestic politics as it is about technology.

Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant, has already signed memorandums of cooperation in the Republic of Cyprus while also having signed agreements with internet providers on the development of 5G networks.