AT&T and Verizon announced they are delaying the rollout of 5G in some towers that are located near certain airports. The delay of the rollout, which was scheduled for Wednesday, January 19, 2022, is the result of concerns and warnings of “dire consequences” for air transport.
5G providers like AT&T are working with aviation industry groups and the FAA to gather more information before initiating those select locations near airports. But AT&T said in a statement, “We are frustrated by the FAA’s inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner.” AT&T says they are “voluntarily” limiting their 5G network around airports.
Verizon is also limiting their rollout and also calling out the FAA. “The FAA and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40other countries.
Those two companies say they will continue on with their launches everywhere else. Meanwhile, the White House says they are working on a solution to these concerns that could lead to major delays for the airlines if the rollout proceeded. FAA, FCC (Federal Communications Commission), airlines and OEM manufacturers are working to find a way to proceed safely.
Numerous airlines sent a letter to the White House at the beginning of the week urging intervention saying 1,000 flights a day could be impacted due to “interference with radar altimeters” used in IFR landings. The 5G providers say the concerns are unfounded and that there were no problems in other countries that have already launched the service.