AT&T, Verizon postponing new 5G spectrum launch due to FAA concerns
AT&T and Verizon have agreed to postpone their planned 5G spectrum launch as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) looks into potential interference with key cockpit safety systems, the Wall Street Journal reported.
AT&T confirmed in a statement that it has agreed to halt its planned 5G rollout until Jan. 5 at the request of the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Sources told the Journal that Verizon agreed to postpone the launch of its new 5G wireless spectrum as well.
“It is critical that these discussions be informed by the science and the data,” AT&T said in a statement. “That is the only path to enabling experts and engineers to assess whether any legitimate coexistence issues exist.”
Both AT&T and Verizon have spent billions to purchase licenses for airwaves suitable to 5G, which is far faster than existing 4G technology.
The FAA is reportedly planning to imminently issue mandates that would limit pilots’ use of certain automated cockpit systems that help planes land in poor weather conditions, in order to avoid interference from the 5G networks.
Industry officials have said such limitations can lead to disruptions for passenger and cargo flights in the country’s largest cities, where 5G towers are set to be operational as soon as early December.
Telecom industry officials are skeptical that 5G networks would interfere with flight equipment, based on available evidence, the Journal noted.
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