O2 is stepping up security measures after a mast was vandalised twice in Bedford.
The company says the mast - in Brunel Road, just off Barkers Lane - had to be taken offline due to the attack and would have had an impact on 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity for residents and business.
O2 believes the vandalism is due to misinformation about 5G, with a spokesman saying: "We’ve also joined the Conscious Advertising Network to educate people on the facts around conspiracy theories relating to 5G, as well as working with industry partners and Government."
Many conspiracy theorists around the world believe 5G mobile phone signals can transmit the coronavirus - although these claims have been debunked, with scientists saying it is biologically impossible.
To prevent any further vandalism at the Bedford site, the O2 team has installed a high security hatch, extinguisher tubes, intumescent paint and intumescent door seals.
Emma Evans, head of network experience at O2, said: “Sadly, a number of customers in south Bedford may be experiencing weakened connectivity following attacks that took place on a mast in the South End area.
"These masts connect local residents and businesses to our 2G, 3G and 4G networks, which work together to keep the country connected, support the economy, help vulnerable people reach loved ones and allow essential services and providers to respond to those in need."