US telecommunications firms Verizon and AT&T have agreed to delay the deployment of certain 5G mobile networks over concerns from aviation that they could affect flight safety.
The two firms had planned to activate their C-Band 5G on January 5 but have now agreed to a 14-day delay.
The country’s aviation industry had warned deployment would result in delays to flights and cargo.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued an order prohibiting many poor weather flight operations when C-Band 5G networks are within a certain range of airports due to safety concerns, which the industry said would cause delays.
Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), said: “It’s clear that this irresponsible rollout of 5G wasn’t ready for takeoff, and that’s why US Transportation secretary [Pete] Buttigieg, ALPA and others frontline aviation workers and stakeholders had called for a delay in implementation.
“We’re glad Verizon and AT&T were listening to the flight crew’s safety instructions. Now the real work begins. We are hopeful that this delay will enable the wireless industry and the broader aviation community to work together on effective solutions that will ensure that every passenger and cargo flight arrives safely without severe disruptions to aviation operations.”
Verizon and AT&T deny that the deployment of C-Band 5G will cause safety issues and say they will initially operate the networks at a lower power level than normal, while also implementing other measures.