The aviation community has been noticing that the rollout of ground-based 5th Generation (5G) telecommunications infrastructure is associated with the potential interference to radio altimeters onboard aircraft due to the implementation of 5G in the frequency bands close to the Radio Altimeter’s frequencies of operation. Radio Altimeter is a sensitive, yet essential, equipment in civil aircraft, so any interference could potentially impact the safety risk of flight operations. To ensure flight safety, mitigating such potential interference from 5G implementation in flight operations, is crucial. While this issue involves multiple entities in different industries, ICAO has taken the initiative to identify and discuss the issue in several ICAO global and regional meetings to raise global awareness to resolve the issue.
Bringing Awareness to Aviation Community in the APAC States
Observing discussions at the global level, the ICAO APAC Regional Office has brought awareness of the issue to the APAC Region through various forums. Frontier States have shared their implementation of mitigation measures that served as a point of reference to the other APAC States on how mitigation could be implemented effectively. Following the outcomes of discussions from relevant APAC regional meetings, APAC Member States should monitor the impact of 5G on radio altimeters, and are encouraged to collect all relevant information and past issues reported and inform the ICAO APAC Regional Office in case of any significant concern. In addition, APAC States should share with their telecommunications authorities on potential 5G interference with aircraft radio altimeters for 5G installations near airports. States and the industry should liaise with design and aircraft manufacturers to mitigate the potential interference of 5G networks on aircraft radio altimeters. These endorsed outcomes provide a better position for States to liaise and coordinate with relevant stakeholders to minimize the potential impact of the issue.
Collaboration with Stakeholders outside Aviation Industry
As the issue is multi-disciplinary across different entities and industries, and with the issue still being developed in APAC, the APAC Regional Office sees the need to bring together national spectrum regulators, telecommunications service providers, and the aviation community for direct engagement. The Regional Office has been sharing activities that include raising awareness on the issue in forums such as the Twenty-Sixth Meeting of the Regional Interagency Working Group (IAWG) on Information Communication Technology (ICT) organized by ITU, which was held in January 2022.
To further promote the need for direct coordination between various parties to address the issue, the APAC Regional Office will co-host the Webinar on 5G Implementation and Radio Altimeter with the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) on 23 August 2022. The Webinar invites speakers from APT, ICAO, aircraft manufacturers and the mobile industry, which is intended to promote a common understanding among the national spectrum regulators, telecommunications service providers and aviation industries on the issue. Further information can be found here. All ICAO APAC Member States are encouraged to join the Webinar.