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AT&T & Verizon Delays Rollout of Faster 5G Service

Source: NurPhoto / Getty

Sorry AT&T and Verizon customers, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer for faster 5G service.

As spotted on Engadget, the two telecommunication companies decided to delay rolling out their C-band 5G service expansion on January 5. The decision comes after both AT&T and Verizon both pushed back on the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Department’s request to delay the expansion out of fears it could interfere with aircraft. 

Now, AT&T and Verizon have agreed to push back the rollout two weeks and further investigate the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Department’s concerns regarding interference with aircraft electronics and systems. Using their newly purchased frequencies acquired in December, AT&T and Verizon caved in to pressure honoring the Federal Aviation Administration’s request. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are worried the new frequencies are too close to the airplanes’ frequencies used by airplanes’ radar altimeter that helps pilots safely land aircraft by providing data on the distance between the air and ground. Wireless companies have long argued that the C-band service’s powers are low to the point that it creates a gap in frequencies that will prevent interference.

The carriers initially rejected a call for a delay, claiming in a joint letter that an additional delay would be to the “detriment” of its customers. The phone carriers tried to negotiate offering to pause the deployment of towers near airports for six months before agreeing to the delay.

Both companies sent statements to Engadget speaking on their decisions. Verizon wrote:

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

A spokesperson from AT&T told the website:

“At Secretary Buttigieg’s request, we have voluntarily agreed to one additional two-week delay of our deployment of C-Band 5G services. We also remain committed to the six-month protection zone mitigations we outlined in our letter. We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist, and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues.”

We are interested in seeing how this plays out because it’s always been debated if phone use on planes during takeoff and landing actually interferes with aircraft electronics.

Photo: NurPhoto / Getty

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