Website editor’s note:  5G is still at the testing stage in NZ. Telecommunications companies are promoting this new system as offering faster wireless download speeds …but is faster data access worth the potential risks of this technology?  Please read the information below to decide for yourself.

Facts about 5G…

The 5G system proposed for NZ is a wireless system in which the telecommunications companies want to use microwaves and millimetre wave radiation.

(Fibre optic cables may also be used to connect 5G cell sites.)

The major telecommunications companies in NZ (Spark, Vodafone and 2 Degrees) each want to build their own 5G network.

Technical information: The companies plan to use different frequencies for different types of locations.

In towns and cities, the government is considering the use of frequencies in the range of 3400MHz up to about 3800MHz. This is a form of microwave radiation that is also known as “C-band” frequencies. The companies want to use “small cells” that produce very high frequency microwave range radiation in urban areas.  The initial frequencies being considered by the government are around 24-28 GHz. Even higher frequencies (in the millimetre wave range – which begins at 30 GHz) could be added later. In rural areas (excluding rural towns) Spark wants to use microwave radiation in the 600 MHz frequency.

NZ’s existing 4G system is planned to be used as a “control layer” for 5G. (Frequencies used in 4G systems vary from 700MHz (Vodafone rural and Spark*) to 700, 900 and 1800 MHz (2 Degrees).  Spark also uses 1800 MHz for 4G.

The plan to use of 4G systems as a “control layer” for 5G means that the number of cell sites in urban areas could be doubled.  

UPDATE 14 March 2020: Since this post was written, a limited commercial roll out of 5G has occurred in some parts of New Zealand.

Vodafone has been able to launch 5G in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. It is using a 3.5 GHz band for this.  5G  has been introduced to parts of some of the smaller towns in the South Island by Spark. Spark is using a 2.6 GHz band for this and the towns are Alexandra, Westport, Clyde, Twizel, Tekapo and Hokitika.

Spark has (and may still be) conducting a test if 5G in Te Aroha (in the Waikato region) using 3650 MHz.

Spark also has a 5G test zone in the Viaduct basin in downtown Auckland where Spark has been (and probably still is) testing a 27 GHz band. Other than this, to the best of our knowledge, NZ does NOT have small cells producing this type of high frequency radiation.

Other than these areas, most of New Zealand remains 5G-Free.

NB: If you want to help keep your part of New Zealand 5G-Free please see the link below to connect up with your local 5G Free NZ/Stop 5G group:

NB:  One MegaHertz (MHz) is equal to one million Hertz or one million cycles per second.

One GigaHertz is equal to one thousand million (109) cycles per second.  (1GHz = 1000MHz)

Microwave radiation was classified as a possible carcinogen (Group 2B) by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2011.

Since 2011, new research supports a re-categorisation of this form of radiation from a possible carcinogen (Group 2B) to a probable carcinogen (Group 2A) or a proven carcinogen (Group 1).

Very high frequency microwave radiation and millimetre wave radiation have very short wavelengths and it vibrates very quickly.

Very high frequency microwave radiation and millimetre wave radiation cannot travel as far as the lower frequency microwave radiation currently used in NZ’s 2G, 3G and 4G systems. This means that “small cells” that produce microwave radiation in the 24-28 GHz range (or, possibly in the future, millimetre wave radiation*) may need to be as close as every 250 metres in urban areas.

The potential health effects of millimetre waves have not been well researched but what is known suggests that the eyes and skin are the most vulnerable to damage.

The use of millimetre waves is a concern because millimetre waves (95 GigaHertz) have been developed into a “non-lethal” weapon by the US military.

Scientists who are knowledgeable about the adverse health effects of have launched appeals against the adoption of 5G technology given the lack of appropriate pre market safety testing and likely adverse health effects. 

A petition has been launched calling upon the European Union to impose a moratorium on 5G technology was launched in September 2017. In 2018, the International Appeal:  Stop 5G on Earth addressed to the UN, WHO, EU, Council of Europe and governments of all nations has also been launched. Information about and links to both of these appeals may be found on at the links below:

Adverse health effects are already being reported in association with 5G rollouts in North America.

Exposure to microwave radiation from cell sites has been linked to increase of cancer risk for nearby residents in some studies, so the intensification of the 4G network proposed as part of NZ’s 5G system is not a good thing.

The NZ standards for electromagnetic radiation have been heavily interested by the telecommunications industry and provide only extremely limited health protection.

The relevant standard (NZS 2772.1:1999 is NOT designed to protect against cancer.

The link below explains the situation with NZ’s standards and how these were developed,

5G may be a threat to urban trees

The British newspaper, in March 2018, The Sun ran a story with the headline:  “New 5G phone system could face reception problems from trees with too many LEAVES”.  (See:  In the English city of Sheffield there is a massive cull of mature, and in many cases healthy street trees going on, despite opposition from many residents ( and there is speculation that the reason for this destruction is to facilitate a planned 5G system.  ( )

See also:

There is Potential for Adverse Effects on Wildlife from 5G Systems due to Increased Exposure Microwave Radiation

The potential adverse effects on wildlife from increased exposure to RFR in the microwave range is a concern of some New Zealanders who made submissions to a 2018 consultation on 5G held by Radio Spectrum Management NZ, a business unit of the Ministry of Innovation, Business and Employment.  One document submitted was this meticulously conducted study.

Telecommunications companies are propagandising the public to look forward to 5G based on faster wireless download speeds. 

However, the aim of NZ’s 5G system is to establish one millions internet connection square kilometre means that 5G is not truly designed to serve people but to be a part of the “internet of things” or IoT in which it is envisaged the million of devices (including such absurdities as “smart” toasters and “Smart” anal thermometers) will be connected to the internet.

Note: From the 2018 “consultation” held in NZ by Radio Spectrum Management (RSM), it is clear that RSM was considering the use of a number of millimetre wave frequencies as part of a 5G system in NZ. (RSM is a business unit of The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). (

Thank you to Stuart Miles and for the use of the featured image for this post.

UPDATE:  If you are on Facebook, please like and follow the new FB page

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