AVOCA, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Some cell phones could be working faster soon as carriers are rolling out 5G at midnight on the morning of January 19th across the country.
However, there has been some push back. There has been concern in the airline industry that 5G is and will interfere with pilots and air traffic control.
Several cell phone towers surround Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Verizon and AT&T plan to roll out their 5G wireless air interface at midnight.
“There are going to be turning a limited number of 5G towers around certain airports,” airport executive director Carl Beardsley Jr. said.
It’s unclear if those two carriers will flip the switch around Avoca. T-Mobile launched its 5G in 2020. According to cellmapper.net two towers have it already near the airport. Beardsley says the airlines have been working with the FAA with concern.
“It’s all kind of bound together to work to make sure that this goes as seamlessly, as smoothly as this could possibly go,” Beardsley Jr. said.
“Let’s all cross our fingers,” Aviation Technology president James Gallagher said.
Gallagher says the concern lies in similar frequencies between 5G and C-band.
“C-band is where the altitude of the aircraft is sent through our instrumentation to the air traffic control system,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher says if there’s interference both the pilot and air traffic personnel see inaccurate altitude readings.
“I think it would impact aviation if we do get a high negative impact from the 5G network and we really won’t know until it’s deployed,” Gallagher said.
More than 10 years ago, aviation technology officials saw a very similar interference when 4G LTE was launched. But they say with this type of interference, pilots are trained when landing to judge the distance to the ground by their eyes and not rely on technology.