Update (21 November 2022): Multiple posts are being shared recently claiming that birds are dying due to 5G radiation. However, as mentioned below, experts stated that the levels of exposure in the 5G frequency range are comparable to existing technology, and it very unlikely that that the 5G exposure could cause mortality in birds.
A post is being shared on social media with a claim that birds in India are dying due to 5G technology testing by Jio whereas people are being fooled into believing that birds are dying due to Bird flu. Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Birds in India are dying due to 5G testing by Jio, not due to Bird flu.
Fact: Reliance Jio is yet to begin its 5G trials in India. The Press Information Bureau has reported about the outbreaks of Avian Influenza/Bird flu in migratory birds, wild and domestic crows, and poultry in certain States of the country. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
When we searched about Reliance Jio’s 5G trails, the statements made by Mukesh Ambani at Reliance Industries Annual General Meeting in July 2020 were found in the search results. He said – “This Made-in-India 5G solution will be ready for trials as soon as 5G spectrum is available and can be ready for field deployment next year”. The transcript of his full speech can be read here. In October 2020, ‘ANI’ has reported – “Jio, Qualcomm align efforts on 5G, achieve over 1Gbps speed in trials in US.” The press release by Reliance Industries Limited regarding these trials can be found here. The ‘Financial Express’ in December 2020 reported that IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said – “4G is working here and for 5G, we are going to start trials very soon”.
Also, talking at the virtual India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020, Mukesh Ambani said – “Jio will pioneer the 5G revolution in India in the second half of 2021.” His full speech at the event can be seen here.
The Department of Telecommunications has tweeted that it issued a “Notice Inviting Applications for auction of Spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. Last date for submission of applications for participation in auction is 5 Feb 2021. Auction to commence online from 1st March 2021”. More information regarding the notice can be found here and here.
On 13 January 2020, the ‘Financial Express’ has reported – “telecom firms have sought clarity if 5G can be launched on the airwaves bought through this sale……A total of 2,251 MHz spectrum in seven bands ranging from 700 MHz to 2500 MHz will be auctioned. Airwaves for 5G (3300 MHz-3600 MHz) won’t be auctioned this time. The DoT has asked the operators to send their written queries by Friday, after which a clarification will be issued……Reliance Jio has said in the past that it plans to roll out 5G services in the second half of 2021, but as 5G spectrum is not being auctioned, the telco may have to use spectrum bought through this sale to launch 5G.” So, it can be concluded that Reliance Jio is yet to begin its 5G trials in India.
The Press Information Bureau has reported about the outbreaks of Avian Influenza/Bird flu in migratory birds, wild and domestic crows, and poultry in certain States of the country. In the same press release, it can be read that the disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming into India during the winter months i.e. from September – October to February – March. The ‘Status of Avian Influenza in the country’, as of 17 January 2020, can be found here. More information regarding the Avian Influenza can be read here, here, and here.
Few people are sharing an old article photo (archived) with a similar claim made in the post. The article was published by ‘Punjab Kesari’ in December 2018. It reported that 297 birds have died during 5G testing in the Netherlands. FACTLY has already debunked this claim in June 2019. The fact-check article can be read here.
In one of the stories on the UNICEF website, it can be read – “Although the expert public has repeatedly warned that the fifth generation of mobile internet is neither killing the living world nor spreading the virus, misinformation about 5G continues to be published in the media and spread on social networks.’ Talking to ‘Snopes’, Dr Eric van Rongen (a member of the Health Council of the Netherlands and the Chairman of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) said – “the levels of exposure in the 5G frequency range are comparable to existing technology. Even if there would have been 5G exposure, it is very unlikely that could cause the [bird]mortality.” A video by ‘Huawei’ on this issue can be watched here.
To sum it up, birds in India are dying due to Bird flu, not due to 5G testing by Jio.