AT&T and Verizon will delay 5G expansion due to concerns about aircraft interference

AT&T and Verizon won’t start rolling out C-band 5G service on January 5th after all. The carriers agreed to comply with a request from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation to delay 5G expansion for an additional two weeks. Authorities have asked the companies for more time to investigate concerns about possible interference with aircraft systems and electronics.

AT&T and Verizon were supposed to roll out potentially faster C-band service using newly purchased frequencies in December, but they halted expansion at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are concerned that the new frequencies are too close to those used by aircraft’s radar altimeter, which provides data on the distance between an aircraft and the ground. Interventions can then lead to unsafe landings. The wireless industry giants argue, however, that the C-band service powers are low enough and the frequencies gap is large enough to prevent interference.

Shortly before the supposed January 5 rollout, agencies asked carriers for an additional two-week delay to look into the issue. At first they refused the authorities’ call for further delays, issuing a joint letter saying that honoring the request would be at the “cost” of customers. The airlines tried to negotiate a compromise instead and told authorities they were open to a six-month layover in the deployment near some airports.

It’s not clear what changed the two companies’ minds, but both have agreed to halt their plans for the time being.

A Verizon spokesperson said Engadget In the current situation:

“We agreed on a two-week delay which promises to make this nation a game-changing 5G network in January, delivered over America’s best and most reliable wireless network.”

An AT&T spokesperson sent us a similar response:

“At Minister Buttigieg’s request, we have voluntarily agreed to an additional two-week delay for our deployment of C-Band 5G services. We also remain committed to relaxing the six-month protection zone that we set out in our letter. We know aviation safety and 5G can coexist and we are confident that more From cooperation and technical evaluation will alleviate any problems.”

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