Here is why AT&T and Verizon are limiting 5G service

By: Ruchi Gupta
Ruchi Gupta
Ruchi takes fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle very seriously. During her spare time, she enjoys swimming, running, and… read more.
on Nov 26, 2021
  • Telecommunication companies write to FCC on proposed 5G limits
  • 5G poses no risk to air safety says FCC chairwoman
  • FAA concerned that 5G could impact radar altimeters

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has announced that they will limit their 5th generation wireless service for at least six months as regulators evaluate the effect of the signals on aircraft sensors, as they seek to solve the conflict that both industries have faced.

Mobile companies reveal limits on next-generation 5G service

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday, the mobile companies revealed the proposed limits. According to a copy acquired by The Wall Street Journal, the telecommunication companies claimed they would cut the cell-tower power levels nationally and apply stricter power limitations near helipads and airports.

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The companies told FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel:

While we remain confident that 5G poses no risk to air safety, we are also sensitive to the Federal Aviation Administration’s desire for additional analysis of this issue.

According to persons familiar with the situation, wireless industry executives have regularly met with FAA and FCC experts to examine interference concerns and potential solutions. Rosenworcel said:

The limits represent one of the most comprehensive efforts in the world to safeguard aviation technologies so that 5G networks deploy both safely and swiftly.

An FAA spokesperson labeled the proposal “an important and encouraging step, and we are committed to continued constructive dialogue with all of the stakeholders.” He said that the FAA believes the 5G service in the band telecommunication companies are using can coexist safely with aviation.

Another source familiar with the situation claimed that wireless sector executives do not anticipate these temporary limits to significantly impact the bandwidth they supply consumers since networks route signals away from airport tarmacs and planes.

FAA concerned that 5G could mislead radar altimeters

Following concerns made by FAA leaders about the anticipated 5G service, the carriers postponed their launch plans until early January. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration were concerned that the new transmissions would mislead some radar altimeters, which airplanes use to determine their distance from the ground.

According to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, both safe flight operations and spectrum exploitation for 5G services are possible. He explained:

Tailor both what we’re doing in aviation so that it dovetails with the use of this particular spectrum.

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