Telecom network operators in India started rolling out 5G services a couple of months ago. They have even deployed 5G services at various airports across the country. However, they have now been asked not to deploy 5G networks based on sub-6GHz networks around airports. This decision has been taken as sub-6GHz 5G network radio waves can interfere with altimeters in aeroplanes.
Earlier this month, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) of the US requested the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to stop the rollout of mid-band 5G and C-Band 5G networks near airports. Similarly, the Indian government has proactively asked Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vi not to roll out sub-6GHz (3GHz to 3.67GHz) 5G networks within a radius of 2.1 KM from airports. This is to stop radio waves within that spectrum from causing interference with altimeters on aeroplanes.
Altimeters are devices that help flights determine the height of the aircraft from land. It should be noted that altimeters on aeroplanes operate in the 4.2GHz to 4.4GHz range, and it’s not in the same radio wave spectrum as sub-6GHz 5G networks. Still, the Indian government has decided to be on the safe side as it is a matter of the lives of millions of people travelling on flights.
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As a permanent solution to this problem, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has decided to ask flight operators in the country to replace altimeter filters. Once this is done, telecom network operators in India can resume the deployment of sub-6GHz 5G networks in and around airports in the country. It could be a similar case across the world.