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Airlines have apparently convinced Verizon and AT&T to delay a new 5G rollout…again

This comes just days after the companies refused the request.

airplane seats
Image: Unsplash

The saga between airlines and mobile providers continues as Verizon and AT&T agree to hold off on their latest 5G expansion.

The expansion was supposed to begin on January 5, but the two companies have agreed to delay for two weeks after concerns from the FAA and the U.S. Transportation Department.

This issue arose back in November after the FAA warned that the new 5G spectrum could interfere with certain aircraft systems.

The companies were expected to release the new spectrum in December. Both agreed to push the launch back to January to give airlines time to fix the issue, however.

As the January 5 launch date crept closer, the FAA enlisted the help of the United States Transportation Department to ask the companies to push back the date another two weeks.

The companies initially declined the request for the delay with a joint letter from both companies’ CEOs to each agency.

5g letter from verizon
Screenshot from the joint letter sent from Verizon and AT&T (Image: Politico)

But now it looks like the mobile providers have changed their minds. Both companies spoke with Engadget earlier this week to confirm the additional two-week delay.

The potential issue that agencies and airlines have with the new 5G frequencies has to do with one particular piece of equipment. Airlines are concerned that the new frequencies have the potential to affect the radio altimeters. Altimeters help measure the distance above sea level.

The wireless companies believe that there shouldn’t be any issues, especially with well-designed altimeters. This two-week delay will hopefully give airlines and agencies enough time to upgrade any outdated altimeters that could be affected.

I guess we will see how effective the delay actually is in the next couple of weeks.

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