Research Notes

Telecom Expert Voices: Read the new guest blog on the FAA’s bulletin on 5G in the C-band.

A recent US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bulletin warning that 5G transmissions could interfere with aircraft altimeters took foreign aviation and telecom regulatory authorities by surprise. European authorities now must scramble to assuage public safety concerns about a problem which did not exist before. Though the FAA asserts there is no evidence of actual interference, US mobile operators have paused their deployment in the band for one month for additional study.

Since 2019, 5G has been deployed in 175 networks in some 50 countries with no report of interference. US pilots who fly into Europe’s 3.7-3.98 MHz band with no problem from 5G are now told to watch their altimeters for problems in the US. It begs the question whether physics operates differently in the US, or whether something else is behind the FAA’s bulletin. For example political and jurisdictional conflicts between the FAA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been reported. Moreover, altimeters do not benefit from a professionalized, international standards development process like 3GPP offers for mobile networks and phones. 

Strand Consult asked noted spectrum and public safety communications expert Steffen Ring for comment. Read his assessment in Telecom Expert Voices.

Steffen Ring, M.Sc.E.E. is the CEO and founder of Ring Advocacy LLC, a globally operating telecommunications consultancy specialising within spectrum regulation and standard related matters.

Steffen Ring served for Motorola Inc. as spectrum, standards and regulatory expert for 39 years, the last 10 years as officer in the Global Government Affairs dept., Washington D.C., where he gained a substantial experience and a global personal network amongst regulators through participating in meetings all the way from ITU-R to regional and national telecommunication regulators.

Ring serve clients developing new wireless products, ensuring the compliant use of radio frequency spectrum all the way from radiolocation radar systems, nanosatellites, and civil drones to IoT and SRD devices. In particular the industrial applications of 5G/LTE platforms are amongst the most counselled subjects today.

Furthermore, Steffen Ring also undertakes to represent and advocate clients’ needs regarding radio spectrum matters in all official meetings of the CEPT/ECC and the various working groups of ITU-R.

Finally, Ring has a close working relationship with the EU Commission (CNECT) and other relevant DG’s. The corporation is registered in the EU Transparency Register in order to function in full transparency on behalf of industrial clients.

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John Strand