During the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) in Egypt in November, thousands of delegates from more than 100 countries adopted a treaty that moves the world closer to fifth generation (5G) technology, which will require a massive deployment of mobile wireless infrastructure that will likely consume significant amounts of rare earth elements (REEs) and metals like cobalt.
The WRC-19 conference tackled issues related to radio spectrum, which carries everything from mobile data to military communications to satellite traffic. Key among the discussions was the spectrum that will enable 5G in mobile wireless technology. Highly anticipated 5G applications include self-driving cars, augmented reality (think Pokémon GO), and remote mining operations. The new treaty sets key rules for the use of 5G wireless networks’ spectrum.
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