Even though 5G networks operate safely in the C-band without causing harmful interference to aviation equipment, a flawed report from aviation group RTCA has caused some confusion. This report is completely contradicted by safe, real-world deployment of 5G in the C-band in dozens of countries around the world.

The resources below provide real-world examples and studies affirming 5G coexistence with aviation equipment, and disputing the RTCA study.

Among its many issues:

  • The study used testing standards that were so extreme, aviation equipment that is in use today and operating to manufacturer specifications would fail its tests—even without 5G operating in the C-band.
  • In fact, RTCA made up its own testing standards that went far beyond the requirements already established by the FAA and contradicted previous test results from the aviation industry that determined its own wireless operations are safe. This means that if RTCA’s study were correct, aviation’s wireless systems would be causing interference, too.
  • The tests also combined multiple worst-case scenarios to create hypothetical conditions that were so unrealistic and contradictory, they would never happen in reality.

Real-world evidence confirms C-band spectrum can safely be used for 5G:

Fact Sheet: 5G Safely Operates in the C-Band in ~40 Countries

This fact sheet provides details on the nearly 40 countries around the world that have already adopted rules and begun launching 5G in the C-band. Many countries have lower restrictions than proposed in the U.S., and there have been no reports of harmful interference.

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5G Wireless in the C-Band: A Good Neighbor to Aviation

This one-pager provides an overview of why 5G is important, why recent misinformation on the issue is incorrect, and examples of 5G safely operating in the C-band around the world.

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What Others Are Saying: C-Band Interference Claims Are Not Supported By Facts

A variety of experts from around the world—including aviation and communications authorities, elected officials, telecom industry analysts, and public interest group leaders—support 5G in the C-band.

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5G vs. Air Safety: The FAA’s False Choice

CTIA CEO and Former FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker’s op-ed outlines the history of extensive research from the FCC and other experts from around the world, which have all determined that 5G can safely coexist with aviation operations in the C-band. The op-ed also details the major economic consequences of delaying 5G deployment.

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November 2021 Trade Association Letter to the White House

Eleven trade associations filed a joint letter with the White House’s National Economic Council highlighting the serious economic consequences the U.S. will face if 5G deployment in the C-band is delayed. They also highlight the years of study and evidence that have shown 5G has no adverse effects on flight safety.

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Fact Sheet: C-Band Timeline

Plans to make C-Band spectrum available for wireless use are more than 17 years old, and countries around the world safely use
this spectrum for 5G networks today. This fact sheet identifies some of the key milestones that the FAA ignored.

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French National Frequency Agency 5G Aviation Test Video

This page provides a video and summarizes the findings of a test requested by the French National Frequency Agency, which determined that, “With 5G mobile on board, no interference whatsoever was detected with the helicopter’s altimetry equipment.”

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5G Americas White Paper: 5G and Aviation Coexistence

This white paper provides an in-depth analysis of the real-world examples that show 5G in the C-band does not interfere with aviation equipment.

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November 2021 CTIA Letter to White House

This letter asks the Administration to reject calls for further delay in C-Band 5G, and instead, direct the FAA and the airline industry to be willing partners in advancing the shared goals of innovative 5G wireless services and safe aviation.

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October 2020 CTIA Letter with Initial Rebuttal to RTCA Report

This letter provides the first of several CTIA responses to the RTCA report, outlining how “the report is severely lacking in several respects … the analysis is suspect, and its findings are unsupported.”

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March 2021 CTIA Letter with Further Analysis of RTCA Report

This letter includes a presentation detailing CTIA’s updated analysis, which “provides further evidence of the shortcomings in the RTCA Report, and identifies conflicting and unrealistic margins and conditions applied to 5G operations as compared to other altimeter analyses aviation has conducted.”

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September 2021 CTIA Letter and Technical Rebuttal to RTCA Report

This letter builds on CTIA’s previous responses to the RTCA report, highlighting real-world deployments and record evidence of safe 5G operations in the C-band, and demonstrating that the aviation study is unverifiable and technically flawed.

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Boston Consulting Group Report: 5G Promises Massive Job and GDP Growth in the U.S.

This report details the major benefits of 5G in the U.S., including 4.5 million new jobs and $1.5 trillion added to the U.S. economy by 2030. For every 6-month delay in building 5G, the U.S. will lose $25 billion of these benefits.

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FCC C-Band Report and Order

The FCC examined a full record over the course of four years, including submissions by the aviation industry, and found that the technical rules adopted for 5G C-band service, as well as a 220+ megahertz guard band separating 5G from aviation operations, “are sufficient to protect [aviation] services in the 4.2-4.4 GHz band.” The Order also noted that the guard band “is double the guard band supported in initial comments by Boeing and [Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc.].”

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