Verizon Wireless has confirmed that it will launch its delayed C-band 5G network today (19 January). However, the new cell towers will not go live in areas around airports, as the telco’s stand-off with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to rumble on. It appears that AT&T is following suit, although official confirmation is still pending. That said, various media outlets have quoted an AT&T spokesperson as saying: ‘We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere else as planned with the temporary exception of this limited number of towers.’
A statement published yesterday by Verizon explained: ‘Verizon is proud to lead the nation in 5G. Tomorrow [19 January], Verizon will launch its 5G Ultra Wideband network which will enable more than 90 million Americans to experience the transformative speed, reliability and power of this game-changing network on the go or in their homes or businesses. Americans have been clamouring for 5G and tomorrow we will deliver it. As the nation’s leading wireless provider, we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports. The 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.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, AT&T Communications and Verizon Wireless agreed to suspend the commencement of their planned C-band 5G deployments from 5 December 2021 to 5 January 2022 and again until 19 January in order to appease the aviation industry. The issues relate to perceived interference concerns between 5G signals in the 3.7GHz-3.98GHz band and aircraft radio altimeters which use 4.2GHz-4.4GHz spectrum. It is understood that both telcos have reluctantly agreed to create ‘buffer zones’ in selected areas around 50 airports.