By Kenn Anthony Mendoza
A new report by the Global System for Mobile Communications Associations detailing the co-existence between 5G networks and global aviation systems in adjacent frequencies was endorsed by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association.
The 5G and Aviation Altimeters Report says interference has never been observed even though the 3.7GHz-4.2GHz has been studied by the telco industry for 15 years.
According to reports, the aviation industry is concerned because radio altimeters are assigned to the 4.2GHz-4.4GHz spectrum band, adjacent to the 3.7GHz-4.2GHz band Australia has assigned as a 5G band.
The Australian Civil Safety Authority (CASA) says there is an absence of evidence to substantiate claims of 5G interference to radio altimeters. The organisation published in its Air Worthiness Bulletin (AWB) 34-020 issue 7 that they found “no confirmed reports of wireless broadband or telecommunication systems interfering with aircraft RA systems.”
Similarly, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) states that, “compatibility with radio altimeters can be successfully managed with WBB (wireless broadband) services introduced up to 4000MHz.”
Mobile network operators have been testing 5G equipment within the band 3400-3700 MHz since late 2016, with deployment at scale commencing from early 2019, according to AMTA. To date, no substantiated reports of interference from 5G to Radio Altimeters have been reported in Australia or other jurisdictions.
Commenting on the report AMTA CEO Louise Hyland said, “The organisation is reassured by the GSMA report, which echoes similar findings from a 5G Americas whitepaper released in July 2021, which identified significant shortcomings in studies raising interference concerns which had been submitted by the aviation industry, not least the lack of any recorded instances of interference between 5G and aviation globally.”
“All Australian mobile network operators (MNOs) have invested considerably in the capability and coverage of their mobile networks over many years, and we are confident in the body of work and regulatory framework in place to ensure this does not pose a concern in relation to aircraft safety.”
“Of course, safety of aircraft remains paramount and AMTA has full faith in the ability of the relevant regulatory bodies – CASA and the ACMA – to manage and enforce a robust regulatory framework to ensure aircraft safety in Australia.”
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 7 July 2022.