Plans for 5G and testing 5G antennas

In 2020 central government will start auctioning frequencies on which operators will be able to provide 5G. This new technology is needed because mobile data usage is increasing. The introduction of 5G means the Netherlands will continue to have a fast and stable mobile network in the future.

Faster network for growing data usage

Mobile data usage is increasing. For example, people now watch films while travelling. And farmers’ drones, industrial machinery and self-driving cars all use mobile data. So the Netherlands needs a fast, stable and future-proof mobile telecommunications network: a 5G network.

Auction of 5G frequencies between 2020 and 2022

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) will auction the 700MHz, 1400MHZ and 2100MHz frequencies in the spring of 2020. Frequencies in the 3.5GHz and 26GHz bands will be allocated over the next few years. The highest bidders are allowed to use the frequencies in question, for example to provide mobile internet. The Netherlands must comply with European agreements on the allocation of frequencies.

New 5G antennas

In the future 5G will be provided via existing antennas and new smaller ones. When erecting antennas, telecommunications companies must take into account public health, living environment and safety and security. Operators who want to put up these new antennas must do so in accordance with relevant policy. No environmental permit is required for antennas shorter than 5 metres. This means operators can expand their wireless networks as fast as necessary.

Measuring electromagnetic radiation from 5G antennas

All 5G antennas must comply with the international limits for electromagnetic radiation. The Radiocommunications Agency’s Antenna Desk measures the strength of electromagnetic fields around antennas in the Netherlands. The Agency also conducts measurements where 5G antennas have been erected or are being tested (in Dutch).

Central government closely monitors the outcomes of research into electromagnetic radiation from antennas, paying particular attention when new technologies like 5G are used. The Health Council of the Netherlands assists central government by keeping track of scientists’ discoveries with regard to electromagnetic radiation and advises on the use of such technology. The Knowledge Platform on Electromagnetic Fields and Health also gathers information about the health effects of 5G. This information is provided by the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Health Council and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.

Experiments with 5G technology

Mobile phone providers and companies have been allowed to test 5G technology since 2018. Certain tests require an experimentation permit. When the Radiocommunications Agency issues a permit, the test location is added to the Antenna Register. This register lists the location and type of all antennas in the Netherlands.