Future proof: Fairphone has gone 5G

Originally published at: Future proof: Fairphone has gone 5G - Fairphone

It is not new news that we strive to make the most of the materials used in our products. We’re moving closer to a circular economy by using materials from more responsible sources, emphasizing reuse and recycling, and designing our phones to last as long as possible. We do this for a simple reason: the longer you use your phone, the smaller your environmental footprint. But we want to take this one step further and future proof your phone. The only way to do this is to provide you with a 5G device – a tech spec of the future – for Fairphone 4.

We understand the public has a lot of questions and concerns surrounding 5G, so we want to tell you why we decided to launch a 5G enabled phone.

Why we boarded the 5G train

As many of you know by now, 5G is an evolution of existing wireless technologies to create an even smarter, more connected world. It radically expands bandwidth, improves speed and increases capacity in mobile devices. In addition to consumers having (practically) unlimited connectivity with smartphones, 5G provides incredible opportunities for other applications aside from just mobile internet. For example, sectors such as education, health, energy, tech industry, transportation and logistics will make use of 5G for their business processes. Such, often mission-critical, business processes demand for extremely high availability of mobile communication.

Over the years, we have seen increasing volumes of mobile data usage and that is all but guaranteed to continue to rise with new frequency bands, but also more efficient radio technologies will ensure that 5G enables us to support the rise in data usage for the next decade. Our mission is to establish a market for ethical consumer electronics to motivate the industry to act more responsibly – ensuring we have up-to-date technology is a big part of that as it demonstrates to the industry that you can produce a sustainable, profitable, feature competitive smartphone that can hold its own on the global market.

5G is here to stay. As with previous generations of mobile networks; there is no going back. Network operators have invested huge resources to offer an even faster service to their customers. We made the Fairphone 4 to make sure Fairphone customers can take advantage of these investments and technological advances.

 The Fairphone 4 is designed to hold up well for years to come.

5G allows for faster downloads on devices than ever before. For example, downloading a high-definition film over a 4G network takes an average of 50 minutes – on 5G, it takes just nine. Aside from that, there are many more technical evolutions implemented such as an extremely short time to establish a connection.

What about health risks?

 The radio waveband – used for mobile phone networks – is non-ionising which means it lacks sufficient energy to break apart DNA and cause cellular damage,” says David Robert Grimes, physicist and cancer researcher in a BBC article. “People are understandably concerned over whether they might elevate their risk of cancer, but it’s crucial to note that radio waves are far less energetic than even the visible light we experience every day.

While some people are concerned with the possible consequences of the higher frequency use of 5G, currently there is nothing to indicate that 5G poses a risk to human health. There are strict global regulations in place that monitor the specific absorption rate (SAR) of radio frequencies into the body, which are measured at the head, the hands and in free space – the three conditions which global regulations require us to test. Fairphone 4 remains well below these certified safety limits, in fact, Fairphone 4 has some of the lowest SAR levels on the market, less than half the legally required limit – which is still well within the safe range. We demonstrate this by being the only smartphone on the market with the Blue Angel certificate.

So in addition to our phones offering simple DIY repairs, replaceable parts, modular upgrades and extended software support, we’re adding 5G to the mix. Enabling you, even more, to extend your phone well beyond the average 2-3 year lifespan and reduce the number of electronics that end up as waste. In other words, blazing-fast download speeds are no gimmick. They are, in fact, in line with our design principles and exactly what we have in mind, when thinking about functional innovation. 5G future proofs the Fairphone 4 for years to come. Making it a joy to keep it in use longer. Like we always say: The most sustainable phone is the one that lasts.

Check out the new Fairphone 4 >> or learn more about our longevity commitment >>



Good article. We need more of this to counter the fake news circulating the web, which strangely enough includes something like 5G.

If anyone from Fairphone reads this (and before people will say this is a community forum, I know that), why was 5G included in your future proof roadmap, but not WiFi-6?


Whereas I agree with the first part that doesn’t mean there is no damage to human health from 5G or rather higher frequencies. Human health is not a measurable criteria only a relative one so as people adapt and become more used to certain pressures they may survive. That’s not a good definition of health as people can be healthy in prison but that’s no reason to promote crime.

For those who may have concerns the frequencies 5G use can be lower than some 4G

  • The band numbers reference the same frequency in 4G or 5G. The prefix n is just there to denote it is also used for 5G
  • The only 5G bands that use higher frequencies than 4G are n77/n78 at 3.5GHz and 3.6Gh respectively
  • n7 and n41 use 2.6GHz and 2.5Ghz (4G and 5G)

Sure @UPPERCASE this is a community forum but as this post was created by Fairphone the company you should be safe from that criticism.

But asking about WiFi-6 :roll_eyes: Oh dear that’s stretching it a bit.

Though I suppose it does challenge the first part of the topic ‘Future proof’ how much of the future and who’s future??

And no sooner had I sent this post I found a new post about WiFi-7

This future thing is weighing heavily on the present which in a moment will be the past.

WiFi-6 is already years old. It’s not a stretch. I have a WiFi-6 router at home and a 1Gbit/s Internet connection. Overkill, yes. But it’s either that or a slow ADSL in my area. It’s not expensive either. Without WiFi-6 I won’t be able to use that technology on my mobile phone. And it’s not just about speed, it also improves reliability.

6G is also underway. But before that has been standardized and implemented in the industry, we’ll have maybe a Fairphone 6 or 7. The same probably for WiFi-7. So that comparison you draw here is not really relevant for the Fairphone 4. That tech is not yet ready. WiFi-6 is.

This doesn’t have to spin up into another long discussion. If 5G was chosen for their future proof design, it’s a valid question to ask about WiFi-6. Otherwise why not just stick with 4G as well.

Sure @UPPERCASE this is a community forum but as this post was created by Fairphone the company you should be safe from that criticism.

This looks more like an automatic RSS bot post to me :slight_smile:

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It was a joke ~ meaning it was stretching the topic a bit ~ not about that the idea of WiFi 6 was stretching the idea of future proof, hence the next part of my post

Since I’d primarily use a Fairphone 4 in The Netherlands, and there’s no 3.5 GHz 5G coming any time soon in my area (and at least half of The Netherlands), this feature doesn’t concern me (by the time its getting rolled out we’ll see a FP5).

Seeing the entire German autobahn getting 5G is cool though, and given the quality of their 4G network: a welcome change. Just because you need or don’t need a feature, doesn’t mean its going to be generally useful or useless. Think of the general user. What do they need? What do they care about?

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I wanted to write that it depends on the carrier, but then I realised that this is a statement about the overall quality in itself :slight_smile: .

5G works on other frequencies than 3.5GHz

Here’s some news on the rollout of 5G in the Netherlands

5G services are new to the Netherlands, which sold the 2.1GHz, 1.4GHz, and 700MHz bands under 20-year licenses to telecommunication companies in 2020 for €1.23 billion (US$1.4 billion). KPN, T-Mobile, and VodafoneZiggo are the providers currently offering 5G. Connect Test Lab reported that all carriers claim to reach between 80%-100% of the population in 2021,
The state of 5G in the Netherlands: Expectations vs. reality | Computerworld

Once Dutch operators have obtained and deployed 3.5 GHz spectrum, the 5G experience in the Netherlands will improve significantly. However, this spectrum is not due to be auctioned until around April 2022 and the current users of the 3.5 GHz band will have until September 1, 2022, before they have to vacate it. A legal appeal by satellite operator Inmarsat has complicated the auction process. Inmarsat currently uses 3.5 GHz spectrum to provide emergency and safety communications for shipping and aviation. In a preliminary decision on the matter, Rotterdam District Court suspended an amendment to the National Frequency Plan that underpins the clearing of this band for use by mobile operators.

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Which 5G bands is the Fairphone 4 being built for? Yes, there are the bands around 2-6 GHz which are often similar to current 4G bands, but there are also the frequency bands over 20 GHz (mm wave 5G), planned but not yet in use. Does the Fairphone 4 include the antennas and chipset to use these frequencies when they come online?

All written in the specs, will provide a link.

  • The only 5G bands that use higher frequencies than 4G are n77/n78 at 3.5GHz and 3.6Gh respectively
  • n7 and n41 use 2.6GHz and 2.5Ghz (4G and 5G)

Extracted from post 3 above.

Check out the specs > Network


I posted speed and latency tests by Tweakers elsewhere, including maps. Speeds are not quicker right now with 5G, and 3.5 GHz rollout is not happening for now. The gov will move the sat dish to elsewhere though. Hence why I say 5G in NL will get interesting for successor of FP4.

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Software updates can accommodate many functional/procedural changes, but not many radio/analog changes. Is the modularity of the phone’s electronics designed to allow easy replacement of radio elements(antennae,analog,wireless, WiFi,Bt,5G) and accommodate the endless stream of wireless protocol changes defined largely by sales-eager phone-makers? Where is there an explanation of the electronics partitioning to insulate against such obsolescence?

Hi LoneStar and welcome to the forum…

Your points are obviously thought about both here and no doubt at Fairphone, but here it is just a user forum so there is no real answer.
You may like to get an official response from support@fairphone\dot\com

Sadly there was no such option for the FP3 etc, maybe with the FP4 Fairphone has some options.

Here’s a take on what some high flyers think. If you want to fly 5G then don’t hang around an airport ~ maybe. The point that isn’t mentioned is that most of the current 5g uses frequency bands already used by 4G, so I see it would not really apply, currently.

However this article is grounded in the USoA and there are talks of raising the frequency spectrum and bands for future 5G roll outs.

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