5G services in India will not interfere with flight radar altimeters: ITU APT India

The 5G signal in India will be more than 500MHz below the altimeter spectrum.

  • The Indian 5G spectrum will have sufficient protection and won’t interfere with the aircraft altimeters.
  • The signal will be more than 500MHz below the radio wave frequency of the altimeter.
  • The spectrum will be issued after the government finalises the price.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) India on Thursday said the Indian 5G spectrum would come with sufficient protections and would not interfere with aircraft altimeters. This comes days after Air India, among other airlines, cancelled flights to the US due to 5G rollout. The C-band 5G, now rescheduled in the US, is believed to interfere with the safety gears and altimeter of aircrafts on which the pilot relays to take off the plane and navigation.

The UN body International Telecommunications Union recognises ITU APT India and works on spectrum-related issues.

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In a statement, the president of ITU APT, Bharat Bhatia, stated, “In India, there is no risk from 5G services to aircraft and we are fully safeguarded as we are only allocating 3300-3670 MHz, which is more than 500MHz below the altimeter spectrum. Thus the C band frequencies that are being auctioned for 5G in India are completely safe and there is no risk to the Civil Aviation Radar altimeters.”

“In India, the government is not considering frequencies above 3.7 GHz for public 5G services at present, the frequency band in question in the USA where this potential interference has been observed,” he added.

How safe is the Indian 5G spectrum?

According to ITU APT, the frequency band used by aircrafts around the world for radio altimeters is 4200-4400MHz (4.2-4.4GHz), and the C-band 5G spectrum in the US has a frequency band of 3700-3980MHz (3.7-3.9GHz), which is close to the C-Band 5G frequency.

The Indian 5G spectrum allocation is currently in the discussion stages. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper to gather feedback from interested parties to determine the price and rules for spectrum allocation. After the government finalises the price following a review of TRAI’s recommendation, the spectrum will be allocated via auction to interested parties. In 2022, only 13 cities will see the launch of 5G services, with the majority waiting till 2023 to see faster internet.