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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

GSMA urges DoT to reconsider 2022 direction, allow connectivity at airports

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In Short:

The GSMA has requested the Department of Telecommunications to allow telecom carriers to expand mobile networks at Indian airports to improve connectivity. The request is to review a decision from 2022 that restricted 5G deployments near airports to avoid interference with aircraft radio frequencies. The GSMA highlighted that globally, 5G operations have not caused interference with aviation and urged for a reevaluation of the restrictions.


GSMA urges DoT to review 5G deployment restrictions near airports in India

GSMA has sent a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) requesting a review of its 2022 decision on 5G deployment restrictions near airports in India. In the letter dated June 25, 2024, GSMA’s APAC public policy head Jeanette Whyte urged DoT to permit 5G deployments in the 3.5 GHz band near/around airports without any limitations.

Background Information

In November 2022, DoT had directed mobile operators not to install any 5G sites in the 3,300-3,670 MHz band within 2.1 km of both ends of airport runways to avoid interference with aircraft radio frequencies. India has 137 domestic and international airports managed by the Airports Authority of India.

Telecom carriers had requested authorities to ensure airlines upgrade their radio altimeters systems, and GSMA mentioned that globally 180 operators have deployed 5G networks in the 3.5 GHz spectrum without any reported cases of interference with aviation operations.

International Cooperation

In the US, mobile operators reached a voluntary agreement with the FAA to manage base stations at airports. GSMA highlighted the spectral separation between 5G base stations and radio altimeters, emphasizing that tests have not shown any interference in aviation operations worldwide.

Industry data shows that 186 operators have deployed 5G networks using the 3.5 GHz frequency range, and the international mobile community is working closely with the aviation sector to address any concerns related to interference.

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