Major cellular carriers AT&T and Verizon have decided at the last minute to delay for two weeks their major 5G network upgrades due to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerns over possible 5G interference with automated cockpit systems.
The carriers had initially rejected the request from the FAA and government officials to delay the addition of C-Band spectrum to their networks for two weeks. However, at the last minute late Monday, the two carriers announced that they had agreed to temporarily hold off on the expansion.
“At Secretary [of Transport Pete]Buttigieg’s request, we have voluntarily agreed to one additional two-week delay of our deployment of C-Band 5G services,” said a statement from AT&T received by CNN.
“We also remain committed to the six-month protection zone mitigations we outlined in our letter,” the statement continues, referring to an exception where spectrum deployment wouldn’t immediately occur around airports. “We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues.”
Verizon’s statement said that it “promises the certainty of bringing this nation our game-changing 5G network in January delivered over America’s best and most reliable network.”
The FAA was concerned that the C-Band spectrum might interfere with automated cockpit systems, while the carriers countered by pointing out C-Band spectrum is being used in countries like France with no reported issues. French carriers operate exclusion zones around airports.