Industry body assures people in open letter there is no link between 5G and pandemic

At least 20 mobile phone masts across the UK are believed to have been torched or otherwise vandalised since Thursday, according to government and industry sources who are increasingly concerned about the impact of baseless theories linking coronavirus to 5G networks.

There have been noticeable clusters of attacks on masts around Liverpool and the West Midlands. Owing to the slow rollout of 5G in the UK, many of the masts that have been vandalised did not contain the technology and the attacks merely damaged 3G and 4G equipment.

There is hope that the rate of attacks may now be slowing. Network operators are particularly concerned about the safety of their staff, as members of the public have confronted telecoms engineers maintaining critical infrastructure, sometimes filming the encounters to share on social media. Mobile operators and home broadband providers estimate there have been at least 30 such incidents in the last week.

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Engineers for O2 have been issued with signs to display in their vans while working. The signs, which read “Key worker, keeping your network running”, are intended to spread the message that communications workers are playing a crucial role during the current crisis.