Relax! 5G Networks Pose No Threat To Aircrafts Flying In India: Here’s The Reason Why?

Relax! 5G Networks Pose No Threat To Aircrafts Flying In India: Here's The Reason Why?
Relax! 5G Networks Pose No Threat To Aircrafts Flying In India: Here’s The Reason Why?

Just two days after Air India announced that it is canceling some of its US-bound flights due to 5G concerns, experts in India have put similar fears to rest.

ITU APT Foundation of India said that 5G services rolled out in India will not interfere with civil aircraft altimeters.

The Foundation is recognised by UN body International Telecommunications Union and it works on spectrum related issues.


Situation In The US

The US aviation regulator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned that 5G interference could cause problems with different systems aboard Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, especially at the time of landing.

In particular, 5G’s interference with a plane’s radio altimeter could prevent engine and braking systems from switching to landing mode.

This could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway.

What Is An Altimeter?

An altimeter helps the plane maintain distance above the desired or assigned altitude from the surface while in flight

It is a principal navigation device which also facilitates landings in low visibility conditions.

Many airlines suspended their US operations, such as Emirates, the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777, and Japanese airlines All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines.

However in India, where the market is preparing to roll out 5G by the year-end, a similar situation may be averted. 

How India Is Safe

Aircraft around the world use the frequency band 4200-4400 MHz for radio Altimeters.

The 5G system being deployed in the US in frequency band of 3700-3,980 is close to this frequency band.

However in India, lower frequencies of 3.3-3.6 GHz are expected to be used, whereas 5G systems being licensed in the US are within the frequency band 3.7-3.9 GHz.

The difference of more than 500 MHz below the altimeter spectrum works as a safeguard.

5G Frequencies Only Up To 3.7 GHz

The C band frequencies that are being auctioned for 5G in India are completely safe and pose no risk to the Civil Aviation Radar altimeters.

The government will not consider frequencies above 3.7 GHz for public 5G services, which is the frequency band in the USA where this potential interference has been observed.

Spectrum Allocation

Spectrum band allocation for 5G services in India is currently at a discussion stage.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has floated a consultation paper to take views of interested players in order to determine price and rules for spectrum allocation.

After the government finalizes the price based on TRAI’s recommendation, it will allocate the spectrum through auction.

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