Does 5G pose a threat to airline safety?
U.S. telecom companies and airlines have been fighting over this question for weeks.
In the latest development, Verizon Communications and AT&T have agreed to a two-week delay in their rollout.
So, what’s the safety dispute all about?
In early 2021, the U.S. auctioned mid-range 5G bandwidth to mobile phone companies
in the 3.7-3.98 GHz range, also known as the C-Band.
In recent months, the U.S. aviation industry groups has stepped up concerns, warning of the risk of interference with flight equipment.
For background, the airline industry uses radar altimeters to measure altitude.
They help minimize the risk of accidents or collisions by giving an accurate reading of the proximity to the ground.
Radar altimeters operate in the 4.2-4.4 GHz range.
There are concerns that there is not enough of a buffer from the 5G frequencies.
Airlines have warned that without an agreement on safety precautions, the issue could disrupt up to 4% of daily flights.
Is this a problem elsewhere outside of the United States?
The rollout of 5G services elsewhere has broadly gone ahead without airline safety concerns.
Take the European Union.
In 2019, the EU set standards for mid-range 5G frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz range.
They have been taken into use in many of the bloc's 27 member states so far without issue.
In South Korea, the 5G mobile communication frequency is 3.42-3.7GHz band.
There has been no report of interference with radio wave since commercialization of 5G in April 2019.