Hendel slams political demands that will delay 5G

5G credit: Shutterstock Lisic
5G credit: Shutterstock Lisic

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel has attacked United Torah Judaism's insistence on keeping old networks, thus delaying 5G deployment, and exposing Israel to cyberattacks.

Earlier this week outgoing Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel revealed what United Torah Judaism is demanding from the Likud as part of the new government's coalition agreement. According to one clause, "The decision by the Ministry of Communications on 'closing wireless and mobile telephone networks operating on old technologies will be canceled." This means halting the process of reducing and finally closing the frequencies used by 2G and 3G networks, due to the high use of kosher and older phones in haredi society.

In a post on his Facebook page, Hendel attacked the demand and explained that the move will prevent progress in the deployment of the infrastructure for 4G and 5G networks: "If you don't allocate frequencies, you can't move forward. It's like a dirt road for horses and carts that must be paved, which is unfortunate for the owners of horse and carts."

"Harming the ability of cellular providers to create innovation"

Hendel's comments about the impact of thew decision not to shut down 2G and 3G networks were backed up in a series of Tweets by communications expert Dr. Tomer Simon. He said, "It's not just concern over excessive radiation in the public space - think about it, you don't need transmitters of all generations deployed throughout the country to enable coverage - there is also the cybersecurity threats that are higher in the older generations. It's also a high economic cost for the telecom providers that have to maintain and manage four cellular networks at the same time. This is also about harming the ability of the providers to produce innovation, and so directly harming economic growth of more traditional sectors in Israel."

A professional source familiar with the details about installation of Israel's cellular networks told "Globes," "In the technology world this is called a 'long tail'. At some point the costs of dragging this tail are very heavy, burdening the organization, and a lot of money has to be invested in keeping it functioning."

Beyond the ramifications for the cellular companies, the source explains that deployment of infrastructures that will enable the operation of 5G is also being delayed due to the need to maintain the old networks. Cellular communication is carried out using radio frequencies that transmit and receive transmitters from an antenna in a cell of a certain area. In Israel, due to the relatively small cell area, when choosing to dedicate a certain frequency to 2G and 3G, inevitably fewer frequencies will be allocated to 4G and 5G, and sometimes frequencies will even be shared between several technologies.

The main technology in 5G is much wider broadband than we were used to in previous generations. This means a very high data transfer rate, which translates into improved browsing speed and very low latency times. Another significant advantage of the technology is its ability to support a very large numbers of devices in one place, without compromising the quality and speed of the various services. The technology should be used for a variety of advanced applications such as smart cities, autonomous vehicles, stadiums and smart factories, and much more.

The move could make Israel less attractive for foreign investments. A delay in deployment and operation of 5G technology may harm the ability of companies to conduct significant trials and advances in the development of products that rely on the broadband enabled by the technology. "One of the capabilities of the 5G is to create virtual private networks, and so, for example, set up an autonomous vehicle testing area," explained the source. "Currently there really isn't a deployment, and there isn't really a good deployment, so it's not possible to conduct these trials."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 29, 2022.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.

5G credit: Shutterstock Lisic
5G credit: Shutterstock Lisic
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