Telecom regulator wants to create ‘attention zones’ for 5G near airports

5g airports
Photo: Luis Carlos Torres/Shutterstock

Brazil’s telecom regulator Anatel published a public consultation this week on the requirements operators must observe when installing 5G stations in the vicinity of airports. One of the measures is the creation of “attention zones” to “confer greater security” to the use of technology near such spaces.

According to Anatel, the measure is just a “precaution” as studies carried out on the matter did not reveal risks of interference between the typical use of cellular networks in the 3.5 GHz band — adopted for 5G in Brazil — and aeronautical radio navigation equipment. 

The attention zones will be close to the take-off and landing strips of certain airports, yet to be defined. In these areas, the providers must observe the rules established by Anatel regarding the pointing of the antenna’s main beam to maintain the due safety standards of aeronautical navigation.

The discussion has arisen in Brazil in the wake of debates in the U.S. on the risks of interference, which intensified shortly before the network was implemented in the country. 

The U.S. has decided to use the 3.7 GHz to 3.98 GHz band for commercial 5G networks, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommends separation of 200 MHz between this band and that used in aeronautical radio navigation — which operates on 4.2 GHz to 4.4 GHz.

This difference is within the limit of ICAO recommendation, but the separation in Brazil is greater and, therefore, safer. The auctioned 3.5 GHz band comprises frequencies from 3.3 GHz to 3.7 GHz.