The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) recently warned telecom companies Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone not to immediately deploy C-band 5G base stations within 2.1 km of Indian airports due to the potential for interference with aircraft radio (radar) altimeters. Pilots only use radio during takeoff and landing, as well as to aid prevent colliding with mountains (radar altimeters). According to the DoT letter, telecom service providers (TSPs) are instructed not to place any 5G or IMT base stations in the 3,300–3,670 MHz frequency range “in the area 2,100 metres from both ends of the runway and 910 metres from the centre line of the runway of Indian Airports.”
Compared to 4G or 3G, the roll-out of 5G in India, which began in October 2022, is proceeding at a significantly faster rate, and millions of people will soon enjoy quick and responsive streaming, gaming, and work experience on their devices. However, there are several significant issues that need to be resolved.
Consumers who live close to airports are unlikely to get 5G on their devices, according to industry analysts. And there are millions of them. The new regulation will be in effect up until the DGCA ensures that all aircraft Radio Altimeters filters have been replaced.
Pilots in the US also reported frequent issues with the aircraft’s radio (radar) altimeters as high-speed 5G wireless networks stretch out around the globe. High-speed 5G wireless networks, which use related C-band frequencies, were introduced earlier this year. According to an analysis of reports made to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) by IEEE Spectrum (the world’s top engineering magazine), complaints of broken and malfunctioning altimeters increased after that.
Global chip manufacturer Qualcomm has increased its efforts with Reliance Jio to help it quickly link 100 million homes through its 5G fixed wireless connectivity, including the millimetre wave, with the inaugural roll-out of 5G in India (mmWave). To deliver its chipset platforms for the Open RAN 5G network and the 5G fixed wireless access, Qualcomm is collaborating closely with Reliance Jio.
Leading operators Jio and Airtel, according to Neil Shah, Vice President of Research at Counterpoint Research, have an enormous size and a solid base to expand on the current 4G network coverage.
“Jio, especially, taking a 5G Stand Alone (SA) deployment approach where the 5G network is almost architecturally independent of the 4G network makes it easier for Jio to deploy pan-India 5G network swiftly to kickstart 5G services at scale,” said Shah.
Although Airtel must simultaneously roll out its 5G network alongside its 4G and 2G networks, Shah added that Airtel is also outpacing Jio in terms of 5G deployments for both consumer and enterprise use cases and will quickly catch up to Jio in terms of coverage at the pan-India level by the end of 2023.