Verizon Communications and AT&T Inc , late Monday, said that they have agreed to defer deploying C-Band wireless spectrum for a period of two weeks, avoiding an aviation safety impasse that threatened to interrupt flights beginning this week.
The carriers had to face pressure from the White House, airlines and aviation unions to postpone the rollout amid the concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters, causing disruptions in flights.
The deployment date has been pushed back to Jan. 19, as a result of the agreement. Verizon said the delay “promises the certainty of bringing this nation our game-changing 5G network in January.”
AT&T said that the decision of delay has come on the heels of a request by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist, and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues,” AT&T said.
Over the next two weeks, regulators, airlines and wireless carriers will find out the potential strategies to minimize the possible impact of interference on flight operations.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation groups are under the impression that new 5G signals, frequencies known as the C-band, can interfere with key cockpit safety systems.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) welcomed the decision to delay the rollout of a new 5G service for two weeks and their proposed mitigations. “We look forward to using the additional time and space to reduce flight disruptions associated with this 5G deployment,” the FAA said.
Earlier on Monday, groups representing U.S. airlines, aircraft manufacturers and airports requested the White House to step in to delay the employment of wireless carriers of C-Band spectrum for 5G, which the carriers won in an $80 billion government bid.
The two companies on Sunday had turned down a request dated 31 December 2021, by Mr Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson to defer their launch of a new 5G signal for up to 14 days to allow regulators to resolve safety issues at airports on a rolling basis. The companies said that previously they had agreed to push back the deployment date to January 5.
In December, the FAA warned that interference from the planned use of the 5G wireless spectrum may put aviation safety at risk and can cause flight delays. However, no written notices have been issued yet outlining the potential consequences.
AT&T and Verizon in November came to a consensus to delay the commercial launch of C-band wireless service for a month to Jan. 5 and to adopt some safeguards for a time being.
On Sunday, the wireless providers said, they would postpone rolling out of 5G around 50 airports for six months, citing safeguards similar to those in place in France but rejecting any broader limitations on the use of the C-Band spectrum.
AT&T and Verizon’s chief executives wrote in a letter, rebuffing the FAA’s request, on Sunday, “If U.S. airlines are permitted to operate flights every day in France, then the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the United States.”
At 1:30, the Verizon stock was trading at 1.47% higher, at $53.23 apiece. On Monday, the shares of Verizon closed at $52.44.
And, the AT&T stock was trading at a gain of 1.26% at $25.75 per share. The previous close of the stock was $25.43.
Verizon Communications Inc., aka Verizon, is an American multinational telecommunications conglomerate and a corporate component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Verizon Wireless headquarters and the Board of Directors are located in Manhattan, New York City.
AT&T Inc is an American multinational conglomerate holding company, having headquarters in Downtown Dallas, Texas. It is considered the largest telecommunications company in the world, and the largest provider of mobile telephone services in the U.S.