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AT&T, Verizon CEOs reject U.S. request for 5G deployment delay

Stock MarketsJan 02, 2022 06:30PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A contract crew from Verizon installs 5G telecommunications equipment on a tower in Orem, Utah, U.S. December 3, 2019. REUTERS/George Frey 2/2

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The chief executives of AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) rejected a request to delay the planned Jan. 5 introduction of new 5G wireless service over aviation safety concerns but offered to temporarily adopt new safeguards.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson had asked AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg late Friday for a commercial deployment delay of no more than two weeks.

The wireless companies in a joint letter on Sunday said they would not deploy 5G around airports for six months but rejected any broader limitation on using C-Band spectrum. They said the Transportation Department proposal would be "an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks."

The aviation industry and FAA have raised concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters that could disrupt flights.

The exclusion zone AT&T and Verizon propose is currently in use in France, the carriers said, "with slight adaption" reflecting "modest technical differences in how C-band is being deployed."

"The laws of physics are the same in the United States and France," the CEOs wrote. "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 said in a statement on Sunday that it was "reviewing the latest letter from the wireless companies on how to mitigate interference from 5G C-band transmissions. U.S. aviation safety standards will guide our next actions."

FAA officials said France uses spectrum for 5G that sits further away from spectrum used for radio altimeters and uses lower power levels for 5G than those authorized in the United States.

Verizon said it will initially only use spectrum in the same range as used in France, adding it will be a couple of years before it uses additional spectrum. The larger U.S. exclusion zone around U.S. airports is "to make up for the slight difference in power levels between the two nations," Verizon added.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), representing 50,000 workers at 17 airlines, on Sunday wrote on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) that pilots, airlines, manufacturers and others "have NO incentive to delay 5G, other than SAFETY. What do they think … we’re raising these issues over the holidays for, kicks?"

The Air Line Pilots Association also backed the delay.

Government and industry officials said the exclusion zones proposed by the wireless carriers is not as large as what has been sought by the FAA.

The FAA and Buttigieg on Friday proposed identifying priority airports "where a buffer zone would permit aviation operations to continue safely while the FAA completes its assessments of the interference potential."

The wireless carriers, which won the C-Band spectrum in an $80 billion government auction, previously agreed to precautionary measures for six months to limit interference but say the upgrades are essential to compete with other countries like China and to enable remote working.

Trade group Airlines for America, representing American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and other carriers, on Thursday asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to halt deployment around many airports, warning thousands of flights could be disrupted daily.

The airline group has said it may go to court Monday if the FCC does not act. The group urged the FCC and the telecom industry to work with the FAA and the aviation industry to "enable the rollout of 5G technology while prioritizing safety and avoiding any disruption to the aviation system."

An FCC spokesperson said Sunday the agency is "optimistic that by working together we can both advance the wireless economy and ensure aviation safety."

Wireless industry group CTIA said 5G is safe and spectrum is being used in about 40 other countries.

AT&T, Verizon CEOs reject U.S. request for 5G deployment delay
 

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Comments (9)
Ted Byrley
Fankandsteininc Jan 02, 2022 6:52PM ET
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I do not believe this story.  Sounds made up to cover something.
patricio Silva
patricio Silva Jan 02, 2022 6:52PM ET
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Yep the commies
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jan 02, 2022 6:36PM ET
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The argument was 5g travel a very short distance. A mile up in the air, likely there is no or weak 5g cell signal there.
Jacob Steinschlag
Jacob Steinschlag Jan 02, 2022 6:36PM ET
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The problem is airplane landings not airplane flight. you need the altimeters to be extremely precise to ensure a safe landing.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jan 02, 2022 6:31PM ET
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Ftc sold or authorized companies to use 5ghz bands that is currently used by gps,sensors and traffic controllers. If ur airplane reads altitude wrong, likely u r screwed just like the doom Boeing Max planes
Corey DeLaplain
SniperSam Jan 02, 2022 6:29PM ET
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It's beyond me why anyone flies anymore anyway. The airlines should have been nationally boycotted even before 9/11 for the way they operate. I drive everywhere, and take a ship if going overseas! Wouldn't give them a penny of my money!
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jan 02, 2022 6:29PM ET
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They did, ftc authorized it anyway.
Corey DeLaplain
SniperSam Jan 02, 2022 6:24PM ET
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With incompetent Pete Butt-Edge at the helm, what would one expect except an inept government response and implementation!
Faux News
Faux News Jan 02, 2022 6:24PM ET
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Pete has more intelligence in his little finger than 99% of people commenting on this site.
Matt Kay
Matt Kay Jan 02, 2022 6:07PM ET
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Screw safety. Think about multi billion dollar corporation profits!
Empire Destroyer
Empire Destroyer Jan 02, 2022 1:54PM ET
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If a plane crashes because they rolled out 5G hastily... bet nothing would happen to these companies. I mean profits before due diligence and saving lives 🤣🤣 American dream
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Jan 02, 2022 1:54PM ET
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I dont know about this subject but in general you are ridiculous acting like America is dangerous. We live in a bubble wrap society, travel to some other countries.
Empire Destroyer
Empire Destroyer Jan 02, 2022 1:54PM ET
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don't make me buy a gun and defend my freedom of speech that allows me to say America is dangerous and also just in case people walk past my property and give it a dirty look!!!! MAGA!!!
Empire Destroyer
Empire Destroyer Jan 02, 2022 1:54PM ET
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I'll then hand myself into the police and cry at my trial like I got *****whilst shooting down the people walking past my property
jason xx
jason xx Jan 02, 2022 1:27PM ET
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T-mobile doesn't use the same method for delivering 5G. I wonder if they are better positioned?
daniel browder
daniel browder Jan 02, 2022 1:27PM ET
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correct
jason xx
jason xx Jan 02, 2022 1:26PM ET
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They paid a lot of money to the government for these C Band spectrums.
 
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