The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has urged major airlines to address the potential risks of 5G C-band services due to launch at select airports next month.
Mid-range C-band spectrum offers a compromise between the range and interior penetration characteristics of short-range radio waves and the enormous capacity offered by high-band frequencies.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless won C-band licenses in an auction last year that raised €80bn for the US government.
5G aerial threat
However, the FAA is concerned that 5G C-band could affect sensitive electronic devices, such as altimeters, that rely on frequencies between 4,2 and 4,4 GHz.
These fears are disputed by mobile operators, who have however agreed to delay the launch of their respective services near certain airports and introduce measures to mitigate any perceived problems, including buffer zones at airports.
With operators set to resume deployment beginning in July, the FAA has asked airlines to continue modernizing radio altimeters, warning that not all airports will continue the security measures introduced earlier this year.
The FAA added that it was also working with carriers to minimize potential disruptions, with Verizon and AT&T planning to complete their rollouts by the end of 2023.
Mobile operators and industry bodies say there is no credible evidence of interference, noting that other countries have rolled out 5G C-band without issue and that there is a sufficient spectrum gap between the bandwidth allocated to mobile and the aviation. Others wondered why the FAA waited so long to voice its concerns.
Via Reuters (Opens in a new tab)