AT&T, Verizon agree to two-week delay of 5G rollout
Both Verizon and AT&T on Monday said they have agreed to delay the rollout of their 5G wireless service at the request of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Last week, Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Steve Dickson sent a letter to the two wireless network companies asking that they delay the rollout of their 5G services due to concerns that flights would be disrupted.
AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg had initially pushed back against this appeal, responding to Buttigieg and Dickson that 5G and aviation have already been shown to be able to coexist. The two CEOs said they would stick to their plan of limiting their 5G services for the first half of 2022.
However, the two companies on Monday appeared to have softened to the federal government’s request.
“We’ve agreed to a two-week delay which promises the certainty of bringing this nation our game-changing 5G network in January, delivered over America’s best and most reliable wireless network,” a Verizon spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.
An AT&T spokesperson said, “At Secretary Buttigieg’s request, we have voluntarily agreed to one additional two-week delay of our deployment of C-Band 5G services. We also remain committed to the six-month protection zone mitigations we outlined in our letter. We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues.”
The rollout of 5G services was originally scheduled to begin on Jan. 5. In their letter, Buttigieg and Dickson said that “barring unforeseen technical challenges or new safety concerns,” 5G services would be permitted to be launched near priority by the end of March of this year.