India won’t face issues of 5G services interfering with flights as the frequencies used for rendering the next gen technology will be distant from those used by altimeters in aircraft, communications and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.
“In the US, especially in the older aircraft, the altimeters’ frequency is close to the one being used to render 5G services,” Vaishnaw said. But he said that the frequency used by altimeters in India is far away from the frequencies designated for 5G services. “Thus, the problem of interference won’t affect us.”
Altimeter is a device which measures the altitude, in this case the altitude that an aircraft is flying at.
Vaishnaw was speaking at a post-budget conference on Tuesday.
The confirmation comes after Air India canceled eight US-bound flights earlier this month amid widespread disruptions in air travel caused by concerns over the rollout of 5G services in the US and their impact on radar altimeters and auto-pilot systems. The airline later resumed Boeing 777 operations to the country.
The US Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) had warned that 5G signals in the C spectrum band — with band range from 3.3-4.2 GHz — could interfere with aircraft altimeter systems which typically operate in the nearby 4.2-4.4 GHz range. Industry experts in India say that aircraft altimeter systems run on C-band airwaves from 4.2 GHz and above, and not 3.3-3.67 GHz spectrum that is proposed to be auctioned for 5G services in India.
India plans to auction 5G spectrum around April-May in the run-up to the rollout of 5 generation services likely later this year, or early next year. C-band spectrum in the 3.3-3.67 GHz range for 5G services will also be put up for sale in the upcoming auctions.
India’s telcos had dismissed fears, citing examples of the EU, UK, Japan, South Korea, China and Australia where C-band spectrum had already been deployed for 5G services without any glitches to air travel.