Buttigieg, FAA chief request delay in 5G rollout over airlines’ concerns.
Verizon and AT&T have agreed to delay the launch of their upgraded 5G networks for two weeks, bowing to pressure from the Federal Aviation Administration, the airline companies and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The two nationwide carriers were expected to kick off the upgrade of their 5G networks with so-called C-band spectrum on Jan. 5. The radio airwaves, which the carriers spent a combined $70 billion acquiring last year, were poised to provide a big boost to their 5G speed and coverage. Instead, they will hold off after initially telling the FAA they would ignore the request.
“We’ve agreed to a two-week delay which promises the certainty of bringing this nation our game-changing 5G network in January delivered over America’s best and most reliable network,” Verizon spokesperson Rich Young said in an e-mailed statement.
“At Secretary Buttigieg’s request, we have voluntarily agreed to one additional two-week delay of our deployment of C-Band 5G services,” AT&T said in an e-mailed statement. “We also remain committed to the six-month protection zone mitigations we outlined in our letter. We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues.”