AT&T and Verizon reject US call to delay 5G expansions over interference

They're only willing to make a compromise.

Sponsored Links

Side by side ATT and Verizon store fronts and entrances at a mall in northern Idaho. (Photo by: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

AT&T and Verizon aren't delaying their 5G expansions any further after all. Bloomberg notes the two carriers' CEOs have issued a joint letter rejecting a request from the FAA and Transportation Department to stall their C-band service rollouts beyond January 5th to address concerns of interference with aircraft systems. The companies argued that the government's proposed plan would effectively give oversight of the network expansions to the FAA for an "undetermined number of months or years," and wouldn't cover rivals like T-Mobile.

The move would represent an "irresponsible abdication" of network control, the CEOs said. They also believed honoring the request would be to the "detriment" of customers.

Instead, AT&T and Verizon tried to negotiate a compromise. They vowed not to deploy C-band 5G towers near some airports for six months, but only so long as the aviation industry and regulators didn't do more to halt C-band deployments. American transportation agencies had asked on December 31st for a general delay no longer than two weeks, but called for a gradual deployment of service near "priority" airports through March to safeguard important runways.

Turn on browser notifications to receive breaking news alerts from Engadget
You can disable notifications at any time in your settings menu.
Not now

It's not clear how the FAA and Transportation Department will respond. The rejection isn't shocking, mind you. C-band service promises to deliver more of the long-touted speed advantages of 5G without the short range and poor indoor service of millimeter wave technology. It could also add capacity to keep 5G networks running smoothly as more users upgrade their devices. However, officials and the aviation industry have a lot to lose as well —they're worried C-band 5G could disrupt flights and put passengers at risk. You might not see either side capitulate quickly.

Engadget was owned by Verizon between June 2015 and September 2021. Engadget's parent company is now Yahoo Inc.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.
View All Comments
AT&T and Verizon reject US call to delay 5G expansions over interference