Verizon and AT&T announced late Monday that they agreed to delay the deployment of their new wireless technology. Both companies agreed to delay the C-Band 5G services for two weeks.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg along with Federal Aviation Administration head Steve Dickson asked AT&T and Verizon to delay the deployment of 5G wireless services. Both Buttigieg and Dickson cited that 5G wireless technology can disrupt airline operations. In a letter, they said that airlines will encounter “widespread and unacceptable disruption”.
The two officials added that 5G wireless technology can cause “ripple effects throughout the US air transportation system”.
The companies initially rejected the requests. But on Monday, Kim Hart Johnson, the spokesperson for AT&T said that “we have voluntarily agreed to one additional two-week delay of our deployment of C-Band 5G services”. Rich Young, the spokesperson for Verizon, also said that they accepted the request.
Permanent Solution Still Uncertain
Even if AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay their 5G services, for now, a permanent solution is still uncertain. Jonson said that AT&T was “committed” to operating their 5G wireless network at lower power than normal.
This isn’t the first time Verizon and AT&T agreed to delay the rollout of their new service. The deployment of 5G services was already delayed by a month from December to January.
5G Services Could Disrupt Altimeters
Airlines and aviation regulators worry that 5G wireless technology could clash with devices used by pilots. Pilots make use of radio altimeters to measure how far the plane is from the ground especially during poor weather conditions.
The FAA wanted to restrict pilots from using radio altimeters if wireless carriers decide to deploy their new 5G service. Verizon and AT&T offered to reduce the strength of 5G signals around airports similar to how carriers are doing in France.
FAA spokesperson Matthey Lehner said that “The FAA thanks AT&T for agreeing to a voluntary delay and for their proposed mitigations”.