AT&T, Verizon Refuse Request to Delay 5G Launch on Safety Concerns

Jan. 3, 2022

Washington — AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications have rejected a request that they delay the planned launch of new 5G services made as officials fear safety problems and potentially extensive disruption.

Federal transportation officials asked the two cpmpanies to delay their planned launch of a new variation of 5G wireless services on January 5.

In their request, the officials had said the new C-Band spectrum could cause widespread and unacceptable disruption to air traffic as 5G signals are feared to interfere with aircraft electronics, posing a safety hazard.

In a joint letter to the US Department of Transportation, the CEOs of both telecom giants said the request seeks to take more steps that would be to the detriment of their millions of consumers, business, and government customers.

The companies, however, offered to alter the use of the C-Band spectrum for a six-month period, until July 5, 2022, near certain airports that will be selected in negotiations with officials and the aviation industry.

This is to give the US authorities more time to study the signals' effect on air traffic.

Responding to the US request letter, the companies, which had already delayed the launch to January 5, said the officials are seeking steps to once again assist the aviation industry and the FAA after failing to resolve issues in the costly 30-day delay period.

The latest US request comes after a December 30, 2021 petition by airlines seeking a delay in the launch, noting that they could lose more than 1 billion dollars if they can't properly operate their aircraft due to interference concerns, and that it could also disrupt travel plans for millions of passengers.

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