Mobile communications devices in operation generate radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field which is a type of non-ionizing radiation (NIR). In contrast to ionizing radiation such as X-ray, NIR has lower energy which is insufficient to change the chemical properties of substances or to cause harm by breaking chemical bonds inside the human body.

With the advent of 5G era in Hong Kong, consumers may now use the new generation of mobile telecommunications services for higher speed and lower latency. It should be noted that NIR generated by 5G mobile phones is technically no different from the mobile communications devices supporting the previous 2G / 3G / 4G generations of mobile technology (the legacy generations). Most 5G mobile phones operate in the sub-6 GHz bands and have electromagnetic characteristics same as those of the legacy generations.

All mobile phones including 5G and legacy generations of mobile communications devices for sale in Hong Kong shall meet the technical requirements prescribed by the Communications Authority (CA). They shall all comply with the radiation safety limit as recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). According to the World Health Organization, there is no harm to human health if the NIR level is below the ICNIRP’s limit.

As far as NIR generated by mobile phones is concerned, 5G phones are on a par with those of the legacy generations and are safe to use. The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) operates a voluntary labelling scheme for mobile phones under which manufacturers, suppliers and dealers are authorised to affix a label as shown below to mobile phones which have been evaluated to be in compliance with the technical requirements, including the radiation safety requirement, prescribed by the CA. If a consumer wants to be sure that his equipment meets the safety standard, he may choose a mobile phone with the label prescribed by the CA.

While there is no proof that mobile phones in normal use can be harmful, if any member of the public still has concern, he/she may consider taking some prudent measures such as avoiding continuous use of mobile phones and making phone calls with a hands-free kit. In addition, as a mobile phone transmits a stronger signal in areas of poor reception, he/she may wish to minimise the use of mobile phones in such areas.

For more information on the RF radiation safety issue of mobile phones and services, please visit the relevant webpage of OFCA.