Norman Harsono (Jakarta Post)
Thu 20 January 2022
The deployment of 5G mobile telecommunications networks will not disrupt flight operations in Indonesia, according to the Ministry of Communications and Information.
The department assured the public about this after airlines in the United States sounded the alarm on Monday that Wednesday’s rollout of 5G in the United States would disrupt aircraft radio altimeters, which are essential devices that measure the height of an aircraft from the ground.
Airliners were concerned that the frequency band used for 5G was too close to that used for altimeters.
Communications ministry spokesman Dedy Permadi said Thursday that Indonesia does not face such a problem because its 5G frequency spectrum is further from that used for altimeters.
“There is nothing of this problem. 5G will continue,” he said.
In Indonesia, 5G operates on the 3.4-3.6 gigahertz frequency band, while radio altimeters operate on 4.2-4.4 GHz, as prescribed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This leaves Indonesia with a 600 MHz guard band as a buffer.
In the United States, 5G operates on the higher frequency band of 3.7-3.98 GHz, but radio frequencies operate on the same ITU-mandated band. This leaves the US with a thinner 220 MHz guardband.
“[Indonesia’s] the guardband is almost 3 times that used in the United States,” Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate said Wednesday.
He added that the ministry was working with academics and the Ministry of Transport to investigate the matter further.
PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) and PT Indosat, which are among Indonesia’s three largest telecom companies, launched commercial 5G services last year. Competitor PT XL Axiata launched 5G tests the same year. All three are expected to expand their 5G services over the next few years.
Despite concerns from US airlines, flight schedules showed no major disruptions on Wednesday after 5G launch was scaled back near airports.
As of 7:15 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, 261 flights scheduled to depart or land at US airports have been canceled, according to FlightAware. This figure is lower than the 538 reported on the same day last week.