Verizon and AT&T refuse to delay 5G launch

on Jan 3, 2022
  • The cellphone carriers provided a counterproposal
  • FAA intends to issue flight restrictions in the coming weeks
  • Both cellphone carriers serve over half of the cellphone connections in the country.

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AT&T Inc (NYSE: Tand Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE: VZrefused a federal transportation request to delay their wireless 5G services launch. This refusal is set to extend a showdown between the parties involved that could potentially disrupt United States flight restrictions. 

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The cellphone carriers provided a counterproposal that could further stifle the power of the new wireless 5G service for about half a year to match all the limits imposed by France’s regulators. This will give United States authorities time to analyze and examine more powerful cellphone signals and their impact on air traffic.

Statements by the chief executives 

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Chief executives stated:

If U.S. airlines are permitted to operate flights every day in France, then the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the United States.

The FAA has plans to issue flight restrictions. These restrictions could be there as soon as Wednesday. These restrictions could limit pilots from employing the use of certain automated applications that help when it comes to landing the plane in bad weather. This is a move that could potentially disrupt both cargo shipments and air travel. The FAA said:

U.S. aviation safety standards will guide our next actions.

 However, the U.S. agency refused to talk about when it plans to issue these limits. 

Officials in the Telecom-industry have looked at several countries that are already using cellular service frequencies such as C-band. France is one of these countries. France has also imposed wireless service limits around airports while authorities analyze how these signals impact aircrafts. 

Details of the letter

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The letter by John Stankey, AT&T CEO and Hans Vestberg, Verizon CEO, responded to one sent by Steve Dickson, FAA chief, and Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary. The authorities had requested the cellphone carriers to postpone their new wireless 5G launch by at least fourteen days while officials examined the impact wireless services have on aircrafts. 

Verizon and AT&T, which serve over half of all the cellphone connections in the United States, disputed the claims made by the FAA that wireless services could negatively impact aircrafts. As a result, the cellphone carriers postponed a debut of their new wireless service to provide aviation and telecom authorities more time to share data they’ve gathered about aircraft equipment and wireless infrastructure. 


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