The issue of 5G and the aviation sector continues in India. It all started in the United States when the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to withhold telcos from rolling out 5G in C-band or mid-band near airports. Now, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked the Indian telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea (Vi), to avoid rolling out 5G in the C-band near airports. More specifically, the telcos have been asked not to offer 5G in frequencies between 3 GHz to 3.67 GHz within 2.1 kilometres of either end of the runways. This is to avoid any interference with the aircraft equipment.
DGCA is Currently Replacing Altimeter Filters
A DoT letter read by ET Telecom suggests that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is currently replacing altimeter filters in the aircraft, and until that is done, the rule for not rolling out 5G near the airports will be there. All the Indian telcos are using C-band frequencies to offer wireless 5G network services in different parts of the country. While Jio is rolling out beta services, Airtel is rolling out 5G commercially at no extra cost to the consumer.
DoT has told the telecom operators that they can install 5G base stations in the periphery of 540 meters after this 2.1 km range; however, the power emission must be limited to 58 dBm/MHz. This means that the areas surrounding the airports won't get 5G services for now. This is to ensure that altimeters don't get any sort of interference because of the 5G network services. While the altimeters typically operate in the 4.2 - 4.4 GHz range, and thus there's a huge gap in the 5G frequencies, but the government still wants to ensure that there's no risk to the safety of the passengers travelling these aircraft. The altimeter is the tool that helps the pilot gauge distance between the aircraft and the land.