Nigerian telecom operators on Wednesday allayed fears of 5G’s interference with flight operations in the country.
The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) made the clarification in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo and Head of Operations, Gbolahan Awonuga.
There has been ongoing debate in the United States over the risk of interference between 5G network and aviation equipment.
Industry stakeholders in Nigeria and subscribers of telecom operators have also been expressing concerns that the country’s aviation sector might experience the same issue.
The association, however. said that the context in Nigeria was different, noting that the guard band that exists between the spectrum frequencies allocated by Nigeria Communication Commission( NCC) for 5G services and those allocated to aviation industry remains in the region of 400MHz.
It said that the allocation was in line with the guidelines instituted by National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), the government agency responsible for sectorial allocation of spectrum and the NCC.
“This means that there is no greater risk of interference with 5G networks than there is with any of the existing transmissions taking place in the frequencies adjacent to those used by radio-altimeters.
“We fully understand why the suggestion of risk to the aviation industry is so emotive for so many Nigerians.
” ALTON is fully committed to working with the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), the NCC and other relevant regulatory agencies towards providing as much clarity as is required to ensure that Nigerians’ have the information they need to analyze and understand these issues properly,” it said.
The Association said that while the issues being discussed were highly technical, it is important to ensure they are explained and understood in the simplest possible terms.
It said that it was also necessary that they highlighted the major differences between the situation in the USA and the structures in place in Nigeria.
According to the association, mobile networks, just like radio, TV and other broadcast services, operate using bands of spectrum (frequency ranges) that are allocated by the government to allow the transmission of different services.
It noted that these bands of spectrum were deliberately structured in a way that prevents interference between them, by ensuring that what is called a ‘guard band’ (an unused part of the radio spectrum) exist between the frequencies.
“The simplest way of understanding this is to use the radio station as an example.
When trying to tune in to a specific station, you will find that you may pick up some of the transmission on either side of the exact frequency for that radio station.
“This is because radio transmissions are particularly likely to ‘overspill’ into space on either side of the transmission frequency that is being used.
“This same concept applies to all transmissions and is why guard bands are put in place. They are unused spectrum frequencies on either side of the allocated frequency for transmission, which ‘guard’ against the overspill, “the association said.