Business & Economy

US telcos delay 5G launch near airports amid safety concerns

New York, Jan 18 (EFE).- Verizon and AT&T said Tuesday that they will delay activating 5G service within 2 miles (3.2 km) of airports in the United States after airlines and cargo carriers warned that one of the frequencies could interfere with airplane instruments such as altimeters.

“As the nation’s leading wireless provider, we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports,” Verizon said on the eve of the rollout of 5G service nationwide.

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries,” the telecoms giant said.

AT&T couched its announcement in similar terms.

The concerns of the air carriers and the FAA center on the C-Band frequencies – 3.7 GHz – that are part of the 5G spectrum in the US, but not in the “more than 40 other countries” mentioned by Verizon.

Airlines for America, representing the largest US passenger and cargo carriers, wrote to the government on Monday asking that activation of 5G towers near airports be delayed “until the FAA can determine how that can be safely accomplished without catastrophic disruption.”

“Every one of the passenger and cargo carriers will be struggling to get people, shipments, planes and crews where they need to be,” the group said in a letter bearing the signatures of the CEOs of Delta, American, United, Southwest, FedEx and UPS, among others.

“To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt,” Airlines for America said.

President Joe Biden expressed appreciation for the decisions by Verizon and AT&T.

“This agreement will avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and our economic recovery, while allowing more than 90 percent of wireless tower deployment to occur as scheduled,” he said in a statement.

Biden said that the White House will remain in touch with all of the parties in pursuit of a permanent solution. EFE mvs/dr

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