The Department of Telecom has imposed restrictions on 5G services in high-frequency bands around airports at the request of the civil aviation ministry, which means telecom operators will have to turn off 5G services within those areas, according to sources.
The DoT has asked telecom operators not to install 5G base stations in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band in the area of 2.1 kilometers from both ends of the runway and 910 meters from the center line of the runway of Indian airports with immediate effect, based on buffer and safety zone details provided by the aviation ministry.
”Telecom operators will need to shut down 5G service in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band only in and around airports based on the order. It is a temporary restriction. The services can be restored after DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) ensures that altimeters at all aircraft have been replaced. DGCA has not shared any timeline for completing the replacement exercise,” a source told PTI.
Airtel is the only telecom operator that has installed 5G services at select airports, including at Patna, Bengaluru, Pune, Varanasi, and Nagpur.
The DoT notice dated November 29 has asked telecom operators to tilt down 5G base stations to avoid interference of 5G signals with that of altimeters– a device that helps pilots maintain the desired height of the aircraft.
The DoT in the notice said that DGCA is expected to complete the altimeter replacement exercise in a proactive and time-bound manner.
”Further, DGCA should communicate geo-coordinates of four corners of all the airstrips where such limitations or restrictions are required to be placed on 5G systems, within 30 days from issue of this letter,” the notice dated November 29 said.
DoT has requested DGCA to provide a timeline for replacing radio altimeters and their filters with a sharp cut-off date.