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Tags Current Affairs

5G telecom threat to airline safety

Date: 20 January 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous


The deployment of 5G telecom services could be catastrophic crisis for aviation, chief executives of major US passenger and cargo airlines have warned.



The 3.7-3.98 GHz range on the spectrum known as C band was auctioned by the United States as mid-range 5G bandwidth.



  • The officials say that the C band spectrum usage by telecom companies could render a significant number of aircraft unusable.

  • The spectrum could interfere with instruments such as altimeters, which operate in the 4.2-4.4 GHz range.


Importance of altimeters

  • Altimeter is an instrument that measures how far above the ground an airplane is travelling. The auctioned frequency is near to this range.

  • The readings of the altimeters are used for facilitating automated landings and to help detect dangerous currents called wind shear.

  • The non-usability of altimeters would mean that aircrafts approaching for landing in bad weather, cloud cover or even heavy smog can only do visual approaches.


Possible solutions

  • Telecom companies argue that such frequencies are being used in many countries without affecting airlines traffic.

  • They have agreed to buffer zones around 50 airports in the United States for about six months to reduce interference.


High frequency

Higher frequency will mean faster services. Telecom operators operating in higher frequencies can provide higher internet speed.


Situation world-wide

  • The European Union has set mid-range 5G frequencies in a 3.4-3.8 GHz range, which is nearer to the frequency of altimeter.

  • This has not caused any problem for any airports that are operating in the bloc. The potential risk arising due to this has not been reported elsewhere.

  • US aviation officials claim that frequency used in EU nations like France is lower than the frequency employed by US telecom companies, threatening airline operations.

  • In countries like South Korea where mid-range spectrum is available for 5G services, no interference has been registered.

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