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5G phones can interfere with aircraft during flight, says the French regulator

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The latest generation of smartphones, 5G, could interfere with the aircraft’s altitude devices, the French civil aviation service warned on Tuesday, recommending that they be turned off during the flight.

“The use of 5G devices on board the aircraft could lead to risks of interference, which could potentially lead to altitude measurements,” a spokesman for the agency told AFP.

The potential phenomenon is due to “disturbances in the signal from a nearby frequency source with a force that is similar to or even better than that of altimeters.”

This intervention could cause errors “in instruments that are extremely critical during landing,” said the agency, known by its French acronym DGAC.

Last week, she sent a newsletter on the issue to airlines, recommending that 5G phones be either completely switched off or put into “airplane mode” during a flight.

Most countries have long demanded that mobile phones be switched off or put into airplane mode for fears that previous generations of mobile telecommunications networks could interfere with the aircraft’s navigation and communication equipment.

The DGAC also recommended that, in the event of damage to aircraft equipment, the flight crew immediately notify air traffic controllers, who could then alert the airport authorities.

DGAC also noted that it has set out conditions for the positioning of 5G base stations in order to limit the risks of disruption during landing at French airports.

Signal strength from 5G base stations near France’s main airports has been limited, according to the DGAC, which has been conducting additional tests since November, when French telecom operators were given the green light to start implementing 5G services.

It continues to monitor 5G base stations around all French airports in cooperation with the agency responsible for radio frequencies.


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