AT&T, Verizon delay new 5G service after Buttigieg request

<p><p>AT&amp;T and Verizon said Monday they will delay activating new 5G wireless service for two weeks following a request by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who cited the airline industry’s concern that the service could interfere with systems on planes.</p></p><p><p>The announcement reversed the companies’ decision just a day earlier to reject any postponement in new 5G service.</p></p><p><p>In a statement Monday night, AT&amp;T also repeated its promise to further reduce power of the networks around airports – an approach used in France – for six months to give regulators more time to study potential interference with aviation.</p></p><p><p>“We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues,” AT&amp;T spokeswoman said in a statement.</p></p><p><p>A Verizon spokesman said the two-week delay would ensure “the certainty” of rolling out the new service later in January.</p></p><p><p>AT&amp;T and Verizon had planned to launch the new 5G service on Wednesday in many U.S. cities.</p></p><p><p>On Friday, Buttigieg and Stephen Dickson, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, asked the companies to delay their C-band 5G rollout for up to two weeks.</p></p><p><p>They warned that without a delay, there would be “unacceptable disruption” to aviation because flights would be canceled or diverted to other cities to avoid potential risks to air safety.</p></p><p><p>The officials’ warning followed a request by a major airline trade group to delay the 5G rollout.</p></p><p><p>Airlines for America told the Federal Communications Commission that using C-band 5G near dozens of airports could interfere with devices that measure an airplane’s height above the ground.</p></p><p><p>The group said it had raised the issue before but was given little attention by the FCC.</p></p><p><p>Other aviation groups also raised alarms. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said Monday night, “It’s clear that this irresponsible rollout of 5G wasn’t ready for takeoff.”</p></p><p><p>The conflict between telecommunications companies and airlines – and between the FCC and the FAA – involves a type of 5G service that relies on chunks of radio spectrum called C-Band, which wireless carriers spent billions of dollars to buy up last year.</p></p>